‘Merry on Midland’ tree lighting event in Basalt set for Friday in Lions Park | AspenTimes.com

‘Merry on Midland’ tree lighting event in Basalt set for Friday in Lions Park

Friday night the valley community will come out for "Merry on Midland" in Basalt for a tree-lighting ceremony and other festivities.
File photo

With another storm rolling through the valley, Friday night’s annual downtown Basalt tree lighting event will have just another level of holiday cheer.

For Basalt Mayor Jacque Whitsitt, who has been going to the Merry on Midland event for a while, this will be her last of an eight-year run as mayor. Through the years she said it is the kids’ reaction to lights popping on at Lions Park that makes her smile.

“We didn’t have anything like that when I was growing up,” said Whitsitt, who was raised in Sterling on the Eastern Plains. “How could a tree lighting be anything but fun? The best part really is the kids go bonkers when the tree lights up.”

She said the event is “classic small town” and a time when many of the longtime residents make their way to downtown.

David Parker with the Basalt Lions Club said it’s a way for the organization to give back to the community for supporting their cause through the year. This year, the Basalt Lions, which was started in 1957 and focus on eye care for kids, help to sponsor eye screenings for 1,400 preschool and elementary school kids in the area.

“It’s our way to say thanks to the community for helping with our other events through the year,” Parker said.

The events run from 4-6 p.m., and he said the club’s big pancake wagon will be there and they also will have free chili, cookies, cider and hot chocolate. Other activities and events include horse-drawn wagon rides, visits with Santa, ornament making (hosted by The Art Base) and performances by the Basalt middle school choir.

Locals may have noticed the star on Basalt Mountain looks a little brighter this year. Eagle Scout candidate Noah Upton took on refurbishing the star as his Eagle Scout project.

Hanukkah begins at sundown Dec. 22, and the annual community menorah lighting and Festival of Lights are in Basalt that evening. The Aspen Jewish Congregation will host the event, which starts at 5 p.m. near the fountain at Triangle Park in Willits.

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