The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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Holiday Happenings for the Whole Family

By Rebecca Treon

Spending time with family and loved ones is what the holidays are all about—making memories and celebrating traditions both new and old. From Thanksgiving until we welcome 2018, there are plenty of things to keep people of all ages busy in and around Denver. Below, we’ve col- lected some of our favorite activities around the metro area to help your family celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

Thanksgiving

The Mile High United Way Turkey Trot has been bringing runners to historic Wash- ington Park for more than 40 years. While grownups can tackle the four-mile run, little (turkey) legs can run the quarter-mile fun run before enjoying post-race entertainment. www.unitedwaydenver.org/turkey-trot

When LoHi standard Rosa Linda’s closed after 30 years, The Squeaky Bean took up the annual tradition of feeding area homeless and hungry at Thanksgiving. The Squeaky Bean, Warren Tech, We Don’t Waste and Denver’s Community teamed up the past two years to continue the event. Today, the Thanksgiving Feed event continues with the support of Warren Tech Central, North and its satellite programs, DHA and Denver’s community. Last year, they fed more than 6,000 of Den- ver’s hungry. The whole event runs on the generosity of volunteers and donations; to participate, email tsbfeed@gmail.com; to donate contact acreswarrentech.com.

Downtown Denver’s Winter in the City program kicks off the day after Thanksgiving with the Grand Illumination, so after you’ve finished bargain hunting on Black Friday, head downtown to the City & County Build- ing. At 6 p.m., holiday lights will be lit from Civic Center to Union Station and all points in between, turning Denver’s downtown cityscape into a glittering holiday wonderland. www.visitdenver.com

Chanukah

On December 3 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., the Jewish Community Center (JCC) will host a family-friendly community Chanukah celebration, Light Up Your Chanukah, including latkes, music, crafts, stories, and dreidel games. www.jewishcolorado.org/event/community-light-up-your-chanukah-celebration

Pro tip: Hosting your own Chanukah celebration? Get your latkes from Littleton-based Latke Love (www.latkelove.com) and other Chanukah treats and eats from Glendale’s East Side Kosher Deli (www. eastsidekosherdeli.com).

Christmas

Starting November 17th, Denver’s Skyline park is transformed into a Euro- pean-style holiday market, with vendors from Ukraine, Ireland, Germany and other countries — not to mention local artisans — selling high-quality, handmade gifts. The Denver Christkindl Market features hand-carved wooden figurines, hand-made candles and ornaments, along with German food, Glühwein (hot mulled wine), live German music and traditional carols. www.denverchristkindlmarket.com

The town of Golden, nestled in the foothills outside of Denver, transforms itself into the ultimate place to celebrate Christmas, western style. Kicking off with the Candlelight Walk on December 1, a procession of thousands of people will walk, holding candles, down Washington Street, illuminating each block with lights as they go. Afterward, find everything from roasted chestnuts to hot cider and Santa Claus. The following day, December 2nd, along with December 9th and 16th, Golden hosts its popular Olde Golden Christmas Parades, filling the town’s historic down- town with traditional decorations and fun activities for the whole family. The parade features cowboys on horses, floats, march- ing bands, classic cars, elves on unicycles, the Grinch in a Corvette, and of course, Santa Claus. Following the parade, enjoy free horse-drawn carriage rides.

Since 1956, Cascade, Colorado — just minutes outside of Colorado Springs — has been home to the North Pole and Santa’s Workshop, a charming Christmas-centric village. At this North Pole, the ice never melts, and visitors can explore the wares in several shops, experience 25 rides and attractions, see magic shows, lis- ten to music, and of course, visit Mr. Claus himself. www.northpolecolorado.com

For an unforgettable ice skating ex-perience, head to Evergreen Lake, the world’s largest groomed outdoor ice rink. Nestled among the pine trees of the foot- hills, you can skate the day away before sitting in front of a roaring fire in the stone fireplace, sipping hot cocoa. www.evergreenrecreation.com

Nothing is more in the holiday spirit than festive gingerbread houses, and at Stir It Up Cooking School, families can create candy sidewalks, ice cream cone trees, and gumdrop-lined rooftops on their own houses at one of their popular gingerbread house workshops. www.stiri- tupcooking.com

New Year’s Eve and Beyond

Bring your family to experience the sights, sounds, and celebration of New York City’s Times Square ball drop — all before bedtime. Noon Year’s Eve at the Children’s Museum features rainbow confetti, bubble wrap fireworks, art proj- ects, music, special characters, and best of all, hourly countdowns and ball drops. www.mychildsmuseum.org

Nothing wraps up the holidays like the National West- ern Stock Show (January 6-21), which draws visitors from all over the west for a plethora of western activities, from livestock competitions, horse shows, fiddling competitions, ro- deo (of course) and much more. In true Colorado tradition, The Brown Palace Hotel leaves its holiday décor up through the last day of the exhibition, culminating in a viewing and photo op with the Grand Champion Steer on January 19th, on display in the lobby. This is the 73rd year the Brown has hosted the rose-bedecked steer. Enjoy high tea surrounded by elegant holiday decorations (there are more than 4,800 ornaments used!) before taking a photo with rodeo royalty. www.brownpalace.com

With so many holiday goings-on, making memories will be some of the most fun you’ve had all year, and remind you why Denver is one of the best cities to visit — or live!

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