Lighting up the Basalt nights

Christmas tree at Lockstein at sunset in front of mount Watzmann, Berchtesgaden, Germany.
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Basalt will start to get its holiday glow going Friday night with the first of two annual tree lighting events that bring out the community every winter.

Light Up Willits will turn the big tree at Triangle Park into a festive feature in the shopping area when the switch gets flipped Friday night. The Merry on Midland holiday event is Dec. 13 and will brighten downtown Basalt with the tree at Lions Park getting dressed for the holidays.

“They are just great community events, particularly for the kids,” Basalt town planner Susan Philp said. “They’re our two great winter events.”

Plans start in the summer for the events, and the evenings include visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, firepits and the makings for s’mores, horse-drawn wagon rides and, of course, carolers. The Basalt Middle School choir will perform as well as the horns section from the Basalt High School Band.

The Basalt Lion’s Club will have free chili, cookies, hot chocolate and cider, and there will be snacks from Aspen Mini Donuts at the Willits event.

Also Friday night, those interested can drop off new, unwrapped toys as part of the Coldwell Banker Mason Morse toy drive.

Local Mike Waters has been co-producing the events along with the town for past few years. He said this year the lights might be a little brighter with refurbished displays and additional lights around the parks.

One of his main roles for the event, which brings out 200 to 300 people, is to be a “liaison” for the Clauses.

“What I see and love are the families and lines of kids who are so excited to see Santa and Mrs. Claus and the looks on their faces,” Waters said. “The ambiance of the event and the carolers and student performers from the school make for a wonderful night.”

For more information on the events, go to