Basalt packing in the events to build holiday cheer |

Basalt packing in the events to build holiday cheer

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – Basalt is ringing in the holidays starting this weekend with several events designed both as community gatherings and something to grab the attention of shoppers from throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

The lineup includes standing events, like the weekly Willits Winter Market on Saturdays, to such seasonal celebrations as the Basalt Tree Lighting and Holiday Stroll. Basalt High School is also determined to build its Yule Fest into a successful fundraiser for student activities.

The calendar is crowded from this weekend through Dec. 15.

“I don’t think there’s more events, they’re just packed in more,” said Heather Smith, director of the Basalt Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber’s catch-phrase for the season’s events is, “Eat, shop and be merry.”

Here’s the lineup:

• Willits Winter Market runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays now through Feb. 27. The event that grew in popularity last winter is back for another run. The market features more than 30 vendors, including 12 new ones this year. There is more produce and products grown by farmers in the region. Some growers are planting crops in greenhouses to provide fresh produce and greens well into the winter. There is everything from fresh meats to pasta and baked goods as well as prepared foods, merchandise and art. The market is in the Market Street Lofts building. Signs will guide the way from Willits Lane onto East Valley Road. The market will be closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day, which fall on Saturdays. There is live music each week, including the Tippetts, a bluegrass band, this week.

• Basalt Tree Lighting, Saturday, Lions Park. Santa Claus will visit from 3 to 5 p.m.; horse-drawn wagon rides will be offered for $2 starting at 3 p.m.; and Basalt High School choir will perform at 4:15 p.m. The lights on the big tree at Lions Park will be switched on at 5:15 p.m.

Several special events tied to Christmas kick off Saturday. The chamber is sponsoring a decorating contest for businesses from Dec. 4-15. Ballots will be handed out at the tree lighting.

And a scavenger hunt will be held throughout Basalt Dec. 4-15. Game cards will be handed out at the tree lighting and at the chamber’s caboose in Lions Park. All returned cards with correct answers will be entered in a drawing for $100 in Basalt Bucks, which are good in participating stores. Cards must be submitted to the caboose by Wednesday, Dec. 15.

Basalt Bucks, which are part of the chamber’s “buy local” program, will be sold at a 20 percent discount for one day only on Saturday, Dec. 4. The Basalt Bucks will be available at a booth at the Willits Winter Market and at the tree lighting.

• Basalt High School’s second annual Yule Fest will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the school. The arts and food festival will feature holiday gifts from more than 20 artists and craftsmen from the Roaring Fork Valley and Western Slope, and student groups will offer international cuisine. The event is a fundraiser for student council, sports teams and clubs.

• WHAM! Wyly Holiday Art Mart, Dec. 4-22. Gifts created by local artists will be for sale from Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wyly is located in the former library building at Lions Park.

• Holiday Stroll, Friday, Dec. 10, in the late afternoon and early evening. Basalt’s downtown core will be lit up by luminary along the sidewalks and roads, and local shops and galleries will be open for extended hours to encourage people to stop by. The Ann Korologos Gallery will host “A Midwinter’s Evening of Art,” to benefit the Roaring Fork Conservancy. The event will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served and the works of 45 artists will be featured. A $20 donation is requested. All proceeds will benefit the Roaring Fork Conservancy.

• Willits Holiday Celebration, Saturday, Dec. 11. Events include a visit from Santa Claus and horse-drawn wagon rides at Montecito Loft and Home from noon to 2 p.m., caroling by the Girl Scouts throughout the day and a cookie contest for non-professional bakers. Participants should drop off a dozen of their creations at Kitchen Collage in Willits between noon and 1:15 p.m. The judging begins at 1:30 p.m., and prizes will be awarded soon after.

• The business decorating and scavenger hunts will conclude on Wednesday, Dec. 15, when all ballots and cards must be turned into the chamber’s caboose by 5 p.m. The contest winners will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 21.

The full event schedule is posted as

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