Castle Rock, Boulder, Loveland, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction ‘flip the switch’ for the holidays and Trans-Siberian Orchestra returns to Denver.
COLORADO, USA — Castle Rock, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Loveland and Grand Junction are among the Colorado towns turning on their lights for the holiday season this weekend.
It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas across the Denver metro area with the opening of A Christmas Carol, Elf The Musical, Camp Christmas, Christmas in Color, Hip Hop Nutcracker, Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Mission: Save Christmas and Denver’s Christkindl Market.
Christmas-rock icons Tran-Siberian Orchestra are in the Centennial State this weekend and holiday fairs and festivals are in full swing, plus Santa Claus makes his arrival at several local malls.
From the mountains to the plains, here are some fun events you’ll only find in Colorado this November weekend. Don’t forget to share your weekend photos with the “Near Me” feature on the 9NEWS app.
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A Christmas Carol
DENVER — Colorado’s largest production of “A Christmas Carol” is reopening this holiday season at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, the Denver musical adaptation traces curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption.
“A Christmas Carol” was last performed by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) Theatre Company in 2018. The production was paused in 2019 for theater renovations and was canceled due to the pandemic in 2020.
“A Christmas Carol” will play the newly-renovated Wolf Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex from Friday, Nov. 19 through Saturday, Dec. 26. Tickets are on sale now at DenverCenter.org starting at $30.
RELATED: ‘A Christmas Carol’ returns after 3-year absence
Mission: Save Christmas
AURORA — A brand-new Christmas experience opens at Gaylord Rockies this weekend. “Mission: Save Christmas featuring Elf” will be open at the Aurora hotel resort and convention center from Friday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Jan. 2.
The new, all-ages multisensory marquee experience will let guests join Buddy the Elf in answering the call from Santa to help muster enough Christmas cheer to help Santa’s sleigh fly. Gaylord Rockies said guests will journey into Buddy’s world to help save Christmas with fun, interactive challenges.
Overnight packages and event tickets can be purchased at ChristmasatGaylordRockies.com. Advance online reservations are required for all ticketed events.
RELATED: New ‘Elf’ holiday experience coming to Gaylord Rockies
DENVER & COLORADO SPRINGS — Trans-Siberian Orchestra is back! After going virtual in 2020, Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) is taking its live holiday-season extravaganza back on the road to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” which has sold more than 3 million copies. The album featured the hits “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” and “O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night.” TSO said it will perform “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” in its entirety, followed by music from its other five albums.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra will play two concerts at Denver’s Ball Arena on Saturday, Nov. 20 and two at Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs on Sunday, Nov. 21. COVID vaccinations or negative tests are required at Ball Arena.
RELATED: Trans-Siberian Orchestra announces 4 Colorado shows
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
AURORA — Gaylord Rockies’ “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” makes its return this weekend. The family holiday show — which last played at the Bubly theater at Gaylord Rockies in 2019 — will return for 62 performances from Friday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Jan. 2.
A cirque adventure and Broadway-style musical wrapped into one family-friendly holiday show, “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” is a celebration of toy soldiers, snowmen, reindeer, gingerbread, penguins, holiday characters and Santa. The show features more than 300 dazzling costumes and world-class aerialists, singers and dancers.
RELATED: ‘Cirque Dreams Holidaze’ returns to Gaylord Rockies
LAKEWOOD — Beginning this weekend, guests can journey through Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ biggest holiday experience ever at Camp Christmas. New this year, the experience will be an outdoor/indoor extravaganza at Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, featuring artist Lonnie Hanzon’s fantastical wonderland of lights, dazzling decorations, music and memorabilia in various yuletide scenes across a six-acre landscape. Camp Christmas opens Friday and runs through Sunday, Jan. 2. Get your tickets at DenverCenter.org.
Castle Rock Starlighting
CASTLE ROCK — The Lighting of the Star has been a Castle Rock tradition since 1936. The annual event is this Saturday in downtown Castle Rock. This year’s Starlighting offers hot chocolate, non-profit booths, strolling entertainers, caroling, live entertainment and a visit from Santa Claus. The celebration takes place from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., with the Castle Rock Starlighting ceremony beginning at 5 p.m. at Historic Wilcox Square. A symbol of Castle Rock for over 80 years, the Castle Rock Star will remain lit until the end of the National Western Stock Show in January.
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Switch on the Holidays
BOULDER — The holiday season in downtown Boulder’s begins with Santa flipping the switch that illuminates lights along the Pearl Street Mall and around the Boulder County Courthouse. Boulder will “Switch on the Holidays” this Sunday at 5 p.m. with the Boulder Ballet, Santa, Mrs. Claus and Freezie the Snowman.
Downtown Tree Lighting
GRAND JUNCTION — Downtown Grand Junction will transform for the holiday season with a tree lighting celebration on Saturday. Local businesses will have deals and hot cocoa from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The 4th and Main Plaza will host a live performance from Mesa OutLoud. With a wave of his hand and a sprinkling of magic dust, Santa Claus will light the lights of Main Street. Mr. Claus will visit with kids afterwards before returning to the North Pole.
Festival of Lights
LOVELAND — Downtown Loveland welcomes the holiday season with its annual hometown festival and traditional tree lighting ceremony this Friday. Festival of Lights will take place downtown along 4th Street featuring the debut of holiday lighting throughout several blocks. Friday’s festival will kick off at 5 p.m. with music, entertainment, food, shopping and the grand entrance of Santa.
Tree Lighting Ceremony
COLORADO SPRINGS — The City of Colorado Springs’ annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Acacia Park gets underway at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The celebration offers ice skating, games, live music, a visit from Santa Claus and the lighting of the tree. The ceremony is free to attend, but there is a fee for ice skating.
Christmas in Color
MORRISON & FEDERAL HEIGHTS — Denver’s biggest drive-through Christmas light displays are returning for another holiday season. Christmas in Color opens its drive-through light displays at Water World and Bandimere Speedway this weekend.
The displays each feature more than one million LED lights arranged into tunnels, trees, giant candy canes, snowflakes and more, all synchronized to festive holiday music on the FM radio dial. Both locations, Water World and Bandimere Speedway, open for the Christmas season on Friday. Tickets are on sale now at ChristmasinColor.net.
RELATED: 2 drive-through Christmas displays with 1 million LED lights each returning to Colorado
Mile High Tree
DENVER — The Mile High Tree, a seven-story tall, 39-foot diameter conical structure will once again feature dynamic light shows choreographed to multi-cultural holiday music on the tallest pixel LED technology tree in the country. The giant tree will appear for a second-straight year on the 16th Street Mall at Welton Street. The Mile High Tree will be lit up nightly from Friday through Saturday, Jan. 1 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Entry to see the tree is free and open to the public.
RELATED: America’s tallest digital tree returning to Denver
GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World
DENVER — “GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World” will strike a chord at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS) beginning this weekend. The newest exhibition explores the science, sound, history and pop culture behind the world’s most popular instrument and STEAM concepts like sound waves, frequency, mathematical scales, engineering and more through a wide range of hands-on experiences.
The exhibition features more than 60 instruments and explores the cultural and physical history of the guitar — from lutes and ouds to modern, high-tech and experimental instruments. “GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World” is free with DMNS admission and no extra timed tickets are required.
Hip Hop Nutcracker
DENVER — Now celebrating its 7th anniversary, “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” is a holiday mash-up for the whole family. The contemporary dance spectacle set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless music is a unique and joyful family event. With a supercharged cast of a dozen all-star dancers, DJ, violinist, and hip hop founding father MC Kurtis Blow, “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” plays Denver’s Buell Theatre on Friday and Saturday. For tickets and showtimes, visit DenverCenter.org.
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DENVER & COLORADO SPRINGS — Comedian Gabriel Iglesias will bring his “Beyond the Fluffy” world tour to Colorado Springs and Denver this weekend. Known for his Netflix standup specials and TV and movie appearances, Iglesias is one of a handful of comedians to headline and sell out the Staples Center, Madison Square Garden and the Sydney Opera House.
Iglesias will appear at Colorado Springs’ Broadmoor World Arena at 8 p.m. Saturday and Denver’s Ball Arena at 7 p.m. Sunday. COVID vaccinations or negative tests are required at Ball Arena.
Kicker Monster Truck Show
DENVER — The Kicker Monster Truck Show will bring some of the baddest monster trucks in the business to Denver including Jurassic Attack, Kamikaze and Vendetta. The kid-friendly, adrenaline-charged entertainment show takes place Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the National Western Events Center. Pre-show pit party and driver meet-and-greet tickets are available as well. Grab your tickets today at KickerMonsterTruck.com.
Santa Express Train
CAÑON CITY — More than 30,000 guests ride the unique Santa Express Train each year. The fun holiday tradition features new and old Christmas music, delicious food, cookies and cocoa as kids and their families make their way to the North Pole where each child receives a special gift from Santa. The Christmas train, which travels along the historic Royal Gorge Route, begins running Friday and has departures planned through Friday, Dec. 24. Reservations can be made at RoyalGorgeRoute.com.
Elf The Musical
ARVADA — “Elf The Musical” is the newest production at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. Based on the 2003 movie, “Elf” follows Buddy the elf on his journey to find his family and revive their Christmas spirit. “Elf The Musical” opens Friday at the Arvada Center and plays through Thursday, Dec. 23. Proof of vaccination or negative test is required. For tickets, head to ArvadaCenter.org.
Denver Christkindl Market
DENVER — The 21st annual Denver Christkindl Market will be open daily from this Saturday through Thursday, Dec. 23 at the Greek Amphitheater in Civic Center Park. A Grand Opening Celebration and Ceremonial Keg Tapping will be held Saturday at 4 p.m.
The Denver Christkindlmarket recreates the joy of strolling a European village square during the holidays. Guests to the market can savor the season while enjoying authentic Glühwein (mulled spiced wine) and European drinks while shopping for unique artisan gifts and holiday treats sold by local Coloradoan, European, and international merchants in wooden huts. Daily entertainment will also take place at the Greek Amphitheater Stage including German polka music, German traditional dancers, holiday hymns in multiple languages, accordion and blue grass music, high school bands and more.
RELATED: Denver Christkindl Market returns for the holidays
Holiday Food & Gift Festival
DENVER — One of the largest holiday celebrations in the West opens Friday at the National Western Complex. The 35th annual Holiday Food & Gift Festival features hundreds of exhibitors, vendors, artisans and crafters with one-of-a-kind jewelry, clothing, woodcraft, music, photography, art, crafts, food, toys and Christmas décor that can’t be found anywhere else. Rumor is Santa Claus will also make an appearance at the festival to help create perfect family photos. The Holiday Food & Gift Festival runs Friday to Sunday with tickets (and discount coupon) available at HFGF.com.
Sugar Plum Bazaar
AURORA — The 11th annual Sugar Plum Bazaar is a makers’ market with more than 60 vendors from multiple states showcasing their unique handmade and local goodies. The holiday show will be open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Stanley Marketplace.
Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show
COLORADO SPRINGS — The annual Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show runs Friday to Sunday at the Colorado Springs Event Center. The show is a holiday shopping extravaganza with 250 displays of original art, crafts, sculptures, ceramics, specialty foods, home décor, clothing, furniture, floral designs, jewelry, antiques, candles, toys and more. If you’re in need of a nice Christmas card photo, Santa Claus will be there as well. Avoid the lines and get your Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show tickets online.
Carbondale Christmas Boutique
CARBONDALE — The 45th annual Carbondale Christmas Boutique will take place Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District. Featuring local artisans with handmade gifts, stained glass, holiday décor, jams, cookies, breads, wreaths, natural fiber art, soap, jewelry, leather, ornaments, crochet and knitted goods, candles, succulents and more, a portion of Saturday’s proceeds benefit the Carbondale Fire Department.
Mollie McGee’s Holiday Market
LONGMONT — The 41st annual Mollie McGee’s Holiday Market takes place at the Boulder County Fairgrounds Exhibit Building on Saturday and Sunday. The market offers 150 booths with vendors selling crafts, jewelry, clothing, pottery, photography, glass, metal, fiber, art, hand-turned wood, specialty foods and more. Market admission is $5.
Cherry Creek Holiday Market
DENVER — The 2nd annual Cherry Creek Holiday Market takes place daily in Cherry Creek North on Fillmore Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue beginning this Thursday through Friday, Dec. 24. With 30 local makers, designers and creators, the market provides shoppers with unique gifts all nestled within the heart of the Cherry Creek North. This free outdoor event also features a schedule of regular live music by local acts.
Christmas in Windsor Craft Show
WINDSOR — The Windsor Community Center will be home to this weekend’s Christmas in Windsor Craft Show. The event offers more than 100 vendors selling handmade arts, crafts and holiday items.
Rangeview Art and Craft Fair
AURORA — Homemade holiday crafters and vendors will converge on Aurora’s Rangeview High School for the 33rd annual Holiday Craft and Gift Fair this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Vintage Market Days
COLORADO SPRINGS — With original art, antiques, jewelry, clothing, handmade goods, home décor, outdoor furnishings, food, plants and more, Vintage Market Days is a unique indoor/outdoor market. The market will open in Colorado Springs Friday and run through Sunday. Tickets will be available at the gate of the Norris Penrose Event Center and at VintageMarketDays.com.
Applewood Arts Festival
LOVELAND — More than 130 artisans will be on hand for this weekend’s 44th annual Applewood Arts Festival in Loveland. The festival, held Friday and Saturday at The Ranch Events Complex, will have new artisans, handmades, re-purposed finds, craft food creations and more.
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Santa’s Arrival at Town Center at Aurora
AURORA — Santa makes his big arrival at Town Center at Aurora this weekend with a parade in the mall at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Santa will parade throughout Town Center at Aurora with reindeer and carolers. The event will also feature Shelby’s Sugar Shop, holiday craft and plenty of holiday cheer to go around.
Santa’s Arrival at Cherry Creek
DENVER — Santa’s Flight Academy lands at Cherry Creek Shopping Center on Saturday. Guests can join Santa’s flight crew and step inside Santa’s 22-foot tall sleigh and experience magical snowfall.
Cherry Creek Shopping Center will hold a tree lighting and after party on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with hot chocolate, sweet treats, entertainment and former Denver Broncos safety Nick Ferguson and the lighting of a 60-foot Christmas tree.
Santa’s Arrival at Streets at SouthGlenn
CENTENNIAL — The Steets at SouthGlenn holds its 1st annual Grand Holiday Parade to welcome Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves to SouthGlenn. The free parade and tree lighting with Santa’s arrival begins at 6 p.m. Friday. There will also be cookies, cocoa, live reindeer, carriage rides, holiday photo booth, ice sculptures, face painting, balloon twisting, holiday characters and more.
Brown Palace Hotel’s Champagne Cascade
DENVER — The Brown Palace Hotel’s 33rd annual Champagne Cascade is an iconic Colorado holiday tradition. Master swordsmen use Napoleonic sabers to sever the bottlenecks of champagne which is then poured into the uppermost glass of a two-story high, 5,000+ glass pyramid. As the champagne is poured, it cascades into the glasses below, creating a stunning display of bubbly liquid as it is cheered on by live holiday tunes and the crowd lining all levels of the holiday-decorated atrium. All tickets sold to Sunday morning’s event benefit Make-A-Wish Colorado.
Pumpkin Pie 5K/10K
DENVER — The race that ends with a huge slice of pie is back this weekend. The Pumpkin Pie 5K and 10K kicks off the holiday season with a family-friendly run/walk at Denver’s City Park. All finishers get a slice of pumpkin pie, as well as a race shirt, finisher’s medal and finish line expo access with vendors and food. The runs take place Saturday, with the 5K waves starting at 8 a.m. and 10K at 9 a.m. Race registration can be completed online.
Fort Carson Timeless Turkey Trot
FORT CARSON — Fort Carson Timeless Turkey Trot kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday at Iron Horse Park. The registration fee for this event is $20 per person and is open to all DOD ID card holders. Food and beverages will be available for sale from 9 a.m. to noon. Registration is available online.
Turkey Trot 5K
BRIGHTON — Brighton’s 37th annual Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk is Saturday at the Brighton Recreation Center. The event is a Bolder Boulder qualifying race. Registered participants receive a shirt and breakfast and are eligible for prize giveaways. Start time is 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Turkey Trot registration can be completed at BrightonCO.gov.
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Washington Huskies vs. Colorado Buffaloes
BOULDER — The Colorado Buffaloes football team holds their final home game of the season this weekend at Folsom Field. The CU Buffs (3-7) and Washington Huskies (4-6) kick off at 1 p.m. Saturday. Help fill Folsom and get your tickets at CUBuffs.com.
RELATED: A year after loss of twin, Buffs super fan is back in the stands
Chicago Bulls vs. Denver Nuggets
DENVER — The Denver Nuggets, who have won five games in a row at Ball Arena, look to keep Mile High Basketball going this Thursday and Friday nights. The Nuggets host the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 p.m. Thursday and then the Chicago Bulls at 7 p.m. Friday. A reminder, Ball Arena now requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative coronavirus tests.
RELATED: A year after loss of twin, Buffs super fan is back in the stands
DU men’s hockey vs. Miami
DENVER — The DU men’s hockey team is back in action this weekend in Denver. The Pioneers face No. 9 Western Michigan at 7 p.m. on Friday and 6 p.m. on Saturday at Magness Arena. Avoid the ticket lines and reserve your seats at DenverPioneers.com.
Winter Starts Now
DENVER — Warren Miller Entertainment’s “Winter Starts Now” will play in Denver this Thursday through Saturday at Paramount Theatre. The 72nd annual ski and snowboard film from Warren Miller Entertainment will chase winter from coast to coast. The new film is a “love letter” to that special place on the calendar – the winter season. Athletes from the film in attendance at the Denver shows include Madison Rose, Jim Ryan and Noah Elliott. Get your tickets now and head to WarrenMiller.com to learn more.
The Springs Home Show
COLORADO SPRINGS — The Springs Home Show runs Saturday and Sunday at the Hotel Elegante in Colorado Springs. The show will have local and national vendors in home, outdoor living, décor and DIY and aims to inspire with new ideas in home renovation and home improvement, from solar power, home automation, security, remodeling, design and more. Parking and admission are free.
Movies this weekend
The newest adventure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe took the weekend box office title for a second-straight weekend. “Eternals,” directed by Academy Award winner Chloé Zhao, earned $27 million last weekend to beat out newcomer “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”
The highly-anticipated “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” starring Paul Rudd, is likely to win this weekend’s battle at the box office. Will Smith stars as Serena and Venus Williams’ father in “King Richard.”
Opening this weekend
- Ghostbusters: Afterlife
- King Richard
Last weekend’s box office
- Eternals — $26.9 million
- Clifford the Big Red Dog — $16.6 million
- Dune — $5.5 million
- No Time To Die — $4.5 mullion
- Venom: Let There Be Carnage — $3.9 million
RELATED: Disney’s ‘Eternals’ tops domestic box office for 2nd weekend
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Denver Center’s ‘A Christmas Carol’
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Christmas in Color drive-through light display