Making Christmas merrier

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Last year, in hopes of brightening the holiday season during the pandemic, a small group of volunteers gathered to talk about putting more spirit into Christmas events in Pagosa Country. 

In no time at all, plans were made and products were ordered to create a COVID-safe event along the Riverwalk in downtown Pagosa Springs. The group even planned a holiday lighting contest for local residences and businesses. 

As the days grew darker and COVID-19 infections in the community increased, the Riverwalk event was canceled out of an abundance of caution. 

Even with the cancellations, one local couple still set out to  create a unique workshop for Santa inside the Visitor Center for viewing throughout the season and the holiday lighting contest was also able to continue.

This year, the group came back together and started planning way back in April for this year’s inaugural Old-Fashioned Christmas Celebration. 

The event is set for Saturday, Dec. 18, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The concept is simple. You can enjoy an evening stroll along the San Juan River in our historic downtown with your friends and loved ones while you participate in activities and view Christmas-themed displays.  

Segments of the Riverwalk have been adopted by local businesses and organizations that hope to make your Christmas brighter.

You’ll find the Knights of Columbus caroling at the annual Nativity scene in Town Park. 

The Chimney Rock Interpretive Association will showcase an Ancestral Puebloan pithouse at their unique stop along the route.

GOAL High School will join in the fun with kids’ activities and games. Girl Scout Troop No. 26237 will be handing out toys. The Pagosa Youth Soccer Rangers will be playing games and handing out candy. We are pretty sure these and most other giveaways along the route are while they last.

There will be plenty of seasonal musical offerings along the Riverwalk from Jason Rose and the Jackson Mountain Ramblers, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Centerpoint Church, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Buckaroos Horse Drawn Rides and the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership.

Buckaroos Horse Drawn Rides will also be offering hot chocolate.

We hear the Pagosa Springs Humane Society might even have some cute puppies on display. 

The San Juan Outdoor Club will be showing you what a Christmas campout is all about with hot chocolate, cider and ornaments for the kids.

The Rotary Club of Pagosa Springs will warm you up with some green chile chicken stew and sweets.

Willow and Reed Design Co. will feature a display of luminaries and other beauty inspired by Kristi Smith.

Some participants are keeping their stops along with Riverwalk a secret to be unveiled that night. Those include The Springs Resort and Spa, Restorative Solutions and Soul Medicinals, and United Way of Southwest Colorado.

One highlight of the evening will be a balloon glow by Pagosa Adventure. 

Pagosa Springs Medical Center EMS will have a specially decorated ambulance on display.

The Chamber of Commerce and the Visitor Center will have cookies and hot chocolate. You will have the opportunity to view Santa’s workshop while you enjoy your snacks. 

The one-way walking route will have four entrance stations: Town Park, the San Juan River Scenic Overlook, the Visitor Center and the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership site at Centennial Park. 

We’ve been told you might even see Santa Claus along your stroll.

You can participate in a scavenger hunt and pick up a card to have stamped at each entrance that you pass along the route to win a free ornament.

Please call the Visitor Center at (970) 585-1200 if you are able to volunteer. Help is especially needed for cleaning up after the event.

Kudos go out to town staff and volunteers from the Pagosa Springs Area Tourism Board, including Jon Johnson and Kristi Smith, with the effort led by Jennifer Green. Special thanks to the Pierce family and to those who have adopted a section of the Riverwalk for creating a fun and festive evening to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season. 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead.

Please take the time to enjoy the spirit of Christmas that Pagosa Country offers.

Terri Lynn Oldham House

Editor’s note: On Monday, Archuleta School District provided a recording to The SUN of the Board of Education’s work session that was held in Colorado Springs last week. We applaud the board for recording the meeting and making it available.