Denver area holiday celebrations amid the pandemic

Some mainstays are canceled, but many beloved events soldier on

Bob Wooley
bwooley@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/1/20

As it has with nearly everything in 2020, the novel coronavirus intends to have its say in how you spend your holidays. But for those willing to brave the elements, to dial back expectations or …

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Denver area holiday celebrations amid the pandemic

Some mainstays are canceled, but many beloved events soldier on

Posted

As it has with nearly everything in 2020, the novel coronavirus intends to have its say in how you spend your holidays. But for those willing to brave the elements, to dial back expectations or perhaps even celebrate in the virtual realm, the metro area still has plenty of options to keep the spirit of the season alive. Social distancing and masking will continue to be the order of the day and many events will be scaled back to follow community guidelines, but most of the celebrations people in the area know and love are forging ahead. Here’s a list of several options that just jingle your bells.

Zoo Lights

Zoo Lights is celebrating its 30th season. Spanning more than 80 acres, this annual holiday event turns the Denver Zoo into a sparkling wonderland filled with more than a million lights. Tickets are available online. A limit of five tickets per purchase is in place to comply with city and county safety mandates. Zoo lights will be closed Christmas Day. During the holidays, the zoo will close at 5 p.m., with entry gates closing at 3:30 p.m. and reopening at 5 p.m. for Zoo Lights. Though no specifics are given, their website says there will be “a host of special measures to keep your family safe and healthy.”

Blossoms of Light

Blossoms of Light, the signature holiday event at Denver Botanic Gardens’ York Street location, has delighted visitors for over three decades. Billed as “a dazzling and ever-changing display of light and color,” this year’s event will require visitors to follow COVID-19 precautions. Masks will be required for anyone over 3 years old, capacity limitations will be in place and social distancing is requested.

Trail of Lights

Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms, a rural part of the Botanic Gardens family, gives visitors a choice of two illuminated paths glistening with holiday lights. According to their website, this year’s event will feature synchronized music in the children’s play area, a three-sided light tunnel and a display of illuminated antique and model tractors. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Covid-19 restrictions will be in place, including limited capacity and timed tickets, social distancing and mask requirements for anyone 3 years and older. Santa, Mrs. Claus, the reindeer, hayrides and crafts won’t be part of the festivities this year.

Christkindl Market

The Denver Christkindl Market offers an authentic German holiday experience in Civic Center Park. According to their website, this year’s event will offer opportunities to meet St. Nikolaus, Krampus and the Christkind (the traditional Christmas gift-bearer in parts of Germany and Austria). There will also be food, drinks, live entertainment and shopping with a decidedly European flair. Local Colorado and international merchants will be on hand to sell artisan gifts and holiday treats. Running Nov. 20 through Dec. 23, the Denver Christkindl Market will operate Thursdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays through Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Starting December 16-23 the Market will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Camp Christmas

Camp Christmas, the brainchild of local installation artist Lonnie Hanzon, was brought to life in 2019. Produced with help from Denver Center for Performing Arts’ Off Center, Camp Christmas turned a 10,000-square-foot hangar at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora into an Instagrammer’s holiday dream come true. This year, with COVID-19 restrictions in place and large crowds gathering together no longer an option, the event has shifted gears and reinvented itself as a hybrid digital and mail delivery version of the fictional campground. In a video introduction, Hanzon says “We’ve packed the joy, sparkle and magic of Camp Christmas into an interactive holiday experience that delivers curated crafts, activities and adventures directly to your home and imagination.” Camp Christmas runs through Jan. 5, 2021 and potential campers can begin their adventure on the Camp Christmas website at www.camp-christmas.com.

Christmas at Gaylord Rockies

The Gaylord has become a popular holiday destination for families in the metro area to take in spectacular lights and decorations. This year they will once again be hosting a plethora of events with snow tubing, ice skating, gingerbread decorating, a Build-A-Bear Workshop, scavenger hunt, ice bumper cars, a brand-new “I Love Christmas Movies” event and more. COVID-19 precautions will be in effect, with social distancing, mask wearing for all visitors over the age of 2 and hand-sanitizing stations throughout the property. More details and online ticket sales can be found on their website.

Canceled

The Colorado Ballet has canceled its in-theater production of “The Nutcracker” due to COVID-19. Instead, ballet fans can catch this year’s rendition on Rocky Mountain PBS. The show will air Dec. 19 at 1 a.m.; Dec. 24 at 7 p.m. and again on Dec. 25 at 12 a.m. (midnight in the wee hours of Christmas morning).

Various holiday events including the annual Golden Candlelight Walk, Lakewood Lights and ice skating at Skyline Park and Belmar have been canceled this year. With COVID-19 rates continuing to rise, city and county restrictions are subject to change, so be sure to check local regulations and websites of events you’re planning to attend in advance.

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