Oh my goodness. This is why I love living in a small town with a cute little downtown – for holiday events like the ones we got to partake in and enjoy this weekend. And I’m going to tell you all about it.

So Ryan, Sadie and I started the weekend celebrations on Friday evening by heading to the Foothills Art Center a little after 5pm for some free hot cocoa, a look around the art center and a free photo with Santa – who had a real beard! And no, I did not sit on Santa’s lap…but Ryan did (just kidding). Here is us with jolly ol’ St. Nick – Christmas card, perhaps?

We were good this year.

We were good this year.

After that, we walked across the street to another shop where we were greeted warmly and invited to savor more free holiday treats. I grabbed myself some peppermint bark, more free hot cocoa (complete with a peppermint stick and whipped cream) while Ryan opted for hot cider this time. Then we walked up the hill to purchase our candles for the evening’s Candlelight Walk. At first we weren’t quite sure about how many people would actually participate in this event – the website said 5,000 but there were only about 100 people that had gathered by 6pm and the walk was scheduled to start at 6:30. But after going back into the art center to peruse some more (hidden agenda: to stay warm until the walk), we exited 15 minutes later to a street full of people with their candles lit – soo pretty!

"Would you light my candle?" (RENT)

"Would you light my candle?" (RENT)

While we waited for the official start at 6:30pm, I got my photo taken with some very important figures.

From left to right: Mrs. Claus, O Christmas Tree, Santa's Little Helper & Me, Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley.

From left to right: Mrs. Claus, O Christmas Tree, Santa's Little Helper & Me, Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley.

Ten minutes later, we all started walking down the main street of Golden (Washington Ave) singing Christmas carols, carrying our candles and enjoying the city’s Christmas lights.

The start of the Candlelight Walk – pretty!

The start of the Candlelight Walk – beautiful and cheery!

Thoroughly enjoying our time, but Sadie was a little cold even with her festive sweater on.

Thoroughly enjoying our time, but Sadie was a little cold even with her festive sweater on.

Halfway to our destination – the Visitor's Center.

Halfway to our destination – the Visitor's Center.

He lights me up.

He lights me up.

I am obsessed with this sign. It's hard to restrain myself from taking a photo every time I enter town. But clearly, this time it had to be taken.

I am obsessed with this sign. It's hard to refrain from taking a photo every time I enter town. But clearly, tonight it had to be taken.

After five blocks of cheery strolling, we all arrived and gathered at the Visitor’s Center to watch some cute little kids perform in reindeer and angel costumes on stage.

There was a large crowd in front, so we watched from the back.

There was already a large crowd in front when we got there, so we watched from the back.

Then we decided to squeeze into the throng of people gathered in front for a better view.

Then we decided to squeeze into the throng of people gathered in front for a better view.

After listening to two women sing a lively, “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” we started the countdown for the lighting of the big Christmas tree and lights along Clear Creek by watching a Christmas wreath on a fire truck ladder slowly lower down. Once the mayor flipped the “On” switch (see photo above), all the lights were lit – beautiful! That part was such a Christmas-style Punxsutawney moment for me, and I completely loved it.

Ryan and the Christmas tree!

Ryan and the Christmas tree!

Before heading out to meet up with Laura and Jared (who are clearly closet-Front Rangers since they keep coming down) we stopped in the Visitor’s Center parking lot to pet some reindeer (fun!) and then took a short walk along the creek to see the lights. Beautiful! I hope to go back soon to take some night shots. So that was our Friday night.

Now for today. This morning, while Ryan went to a Men’s Fraternity group hosted by Red Rocks Church, I went to the Olde Golden Christmas parade, which happens every Saturday from Thanksgiving until Christmas. Short but sweet – and also a little quirky. You’ll see what I mean.

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School of Mines "miner's" band.

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The first of about five Santas.

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Crazy motorcyle Santa.

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Talented elf cyclist.

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A parade isn't complete until you see alpacas...

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...and a quilted car.

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Let's not forget the Bernese Mountain Dog cart rides.

And once Ryan joined me, even though I really wanted to, we decided to postpone the free horse-drawn carriage rides until another day – the lines were a little too long for our taste.

So instead, (although this wasn’t very Christmasy), we decided to go on the Coors tour today, too. Hey, when in Golden…

Ready for our 45-minute self-guided tour!

Ready for our 45-minute self-guided tour!

The copper beer vats (I can't remember the techincal term)

The copper beer vats (I can't remember the technical term)

Very large.

Very large.

Packaging the beer – next time we hope to see the actual bottling process.

Packaging the beer – next time we hope to see the actual bottling process.

It was very interesting and we learned some fun facts about the city of Golden, Coors and beer-making in general. For instance, if they dropped a train car of beer off at your house it would take you 90 years to finish its contents if you drank a 6-pack a day – whaat?! Another fact about the quantity – at this particular brewery (as I mentioned before, the largest single-site brewery in the world), 1,700,000 cans of beer can be made in one day. Um, insanity. But the best part? Three free glasses of beer at the end of the tour. Now don’t worry, the glasses were smallish. And I could only drink about one-and-a-half – not a huge beer fan (unless it’s Hacker-Pschorr and I blame Germany for that one…yes, the entire country). In any case, the tour was very well done, informative and short enough to fit into a lunch break if you so desired.

Going down to the Coors lounge.

Going down to the Coors lounge.

Enjoying a Blue Moon with a slice of an orange, of course.

Enjoying a Blue Moon with a slice of an orange, of course.

A great tour.

A great tour.

So I think we got a great start on our December festivities this week – from the first snowfall, to witnessing the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree and saying “cheers” at the largest brewery in the world.

Did anyone else have a great jumpstart to the month? Maybe there are some Zeelanders who could “feel the zeel” this weekend? Haha. In any case, Happy December!

Merrily yours,
Laura