Celebrating the holiday season in our mountain towns is all about community. We’re fortunate that so many free, family-oriented and wholesome activities give us the chance to experience the essence of this special time of year, setting aside many of the hollow trappings that come with holiday commercialization. So, bundle up, get the kids ready, and take in the magic of the season.

Travel Back in Time to The Fort’s Farolito Lighting Ceremony

The Fort restaurant in Morrison will usher in the holiday season with a unique and meaningful ceremony in its outdoor courtyard on November 26 from 4-5:30 pm. The gathering will feature the lighting of the farolitos (small lanterns that deck the fort walls), Christmas carols from the 1800s, strolling musicians, and a ceremony of remembrance, where attendees can toss a pine cone into an open fire with a wish for their loved ones. Mexican hot chocolate, hot cider and traditional biscochitos will be available. For more information, visit thefort.com

Downtown Evergreen Holiday Walk: A Beloved Tradition With Some New Twists, December 1 

This year’s 31st Annual Holiday Walk, presented by the Evergreen Downtown Business Association, promises to be a magical experience for the entire family. The downtown portion of Highway 74 will be closed to vehicular traffic thanks to the proceeds raised at the Dam Duck Derby. Pedestrians can meander at ease along the bedazzled Main Street with retailers opening their doors and offering tempting wares and a few treats.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be stars of the show, leading the lighting ceremony of the holiday tree, menorah and kinara at the Evergreen Lake House at 5:30 pm before making their way downtown in their horse drawn carriage in time for photo ops in the space adjacent to the Evergreen Gallery.

Lighting ceremony attendees can follow the Clauses by walking along the new North Evergreen Lake Trail, beautifully lit with luminarias. The treasured traditions of firepits and free s’mores fixings, live entertainment near Evergreen Crafters, free carriage rides at the east end of Main Street and strolling carolers will make the evening fun and festive. New this year will be a “toy stampede” hosted by the Evergreen Rodeo Royalty outside of the Evergreen Gallery. Holiday Walk participants are encouraged to donate a toy toward the collection that will be gifted to the Children’s Hospital Colorado. Another fresh feature will be live ice sculpting near Outbound Mountain Gear. Free face painting will be offered at Pixies Salon and Bear Paw Properties.

Local store owners will extend their hours to welcome shoppers searching for memorable gifts or a treat for themselves. Evergreen’s art galleries, specialty clothing boutiques, artisan jewelers, and purveyors of home décor and souvenirs create a pleasurable holiday shopping experience. When it’s time for holiday-inspired cocktails, craft brews or a bite to eat, area restaurants will be ready to accommodate holiday revelers.

Complimentary shuttles will run from Christ the King Catholic Church, 4291 Evergreen Parkway, and from the Church of the Hills, 28628 S Buffalo Park Road. For more information, go to downtownevergreen.com.

The Conifer Christmas Parade Steps Off December 2

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the annual Conifer Christmas parade, an event that brings the community together to celebrate the holidays and create connections. The parade theme is “Flashback to the ’80s,” which is bound to spur creativity among the groups decorating their floats. Complementing the parade will be a Christmas market open from 10:30 am – 4:30 pm featuring local artisans and businesses ready to greet visitors and assist with holiday gift ideas and services. The event will also showcase live entertainment, a horse drawn trolley, delicious food and spirits tents, and Santa Land for the kiddos.

Santa Claus will arrive onsite at 10:20 am and will be available for visits and photos until 1 pm. The parade officially begins at 2 pm along Sutton Road. There will be a $500 grand prize for the Best of Parade entry and a $200 prize awarded to the Best Dressed in ’80s themed attire.

The Conifer Chamber is looking for additional sponsors, parade participants, vendors and volunteers to make their event a success. For more information, go to goconifer.com