Kicking off the holidays with a half-million lights | AspenTimes.com

Kicking off the holidays with a half-million lights

Matthew Bennett
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
People walk to check-in to their rooms at the Hotel Colorado before the 30th Annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony taking place on Friday evening.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

When the Melville family purchased the Hotel Colorado last year, they were adamant about keeping the historic hotel’s annual holiday lighting ceremony intact.

“It was a commitment they made to continue it,” said Christian Henny, Hotel Colorado general manager. “They had heard from folks in town about how important the lighting ceremony and fireworks are to the community.

Shortly after 7 p.m. Friday, Marian Melville, Henny and Santa will lead the thousands expected to attend the lighting ceremony in a countdown.

Then, at 7:15 p.m., with one flip of the switch, fireworks will light up the sky as over 500,000 holiday lights illuminate the Hotel Colorado simultaneously.

“The towers with the American flag and the Colorado flag, in front of those balconies, that is where the fireworks get shot from,” Henny said.

According to Henny, crews started setting up for the lighting event nearly three months ago.

And, while the fireworks and holiday lights serve as the ceremony’s headlining act, there’s even more to the festivities, which begin at 3 p.m. with a live ice carving demonstration by Paul Wertin in the hotel’s courtyard.

“He’ll be showing off his skills carving ice in front of everybody.” Henny said. “Some of it will be with a chainsaw and some of it will be with hand tools.”

Symphony in the Valley will also perform two 45-minute sets in the hotel’s grand lobby beginning at 5 p.m. and again at 7:45 p.m.

Additionally, Santa will host three different meet-and-greets in the hotel’s Devereux Ballroom at 3:15 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.

“Santa does need a couple of breaks,” Henny laughed.

The lighting ceremony is free to all and features a main stage on Sixth Street that has continued to grow since its inception three decades ago.

“We are really proud that this is the 30th anniversary of the lighting ceremony,” Henny said.

With chilly temperatures expected Friday, Boy Scout Troop 225 will sell hot cocoa and cookies in the hotel’s courtyard, too.

According to Henny, in addition to the fireworks display and over a half-million holiday lights, the community celebration features 62 Christmas trees, four Santa figures and three talking reindeer.

Additionally, Henny said the holiday lights typically stay up until the first week of January.


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