Christmas starting fast in Old Town

       It's Christmas in Historic Old Colorado City.
       Well, maybe not quite yet, but that's the name of the annual merchants' holiday promotion, which is getting started before Thanksgiving this year.
       Public-spirited features through the season will include free visits with Santa Claus in Bancroft Park's Garvin Cabin, Christmas lights throughout the three-block shopping district, a strolling brass band most Saturday afternoons, a merchants' decorating contest, and an all-day Santa event Dec. 9.
       The lights will be the first sign of tinsel season. They are slated to be draped Saturday, Nov. 18 on the Old Town Plaza's tall spruce tree, the city light poles and the cabin. The effort will involve the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group, the Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District and Colorado Springs Utilities volunteers.
       Santa will make his first cabin appearance Friday, Nov. 24 from noon to 5 p.m. After that, he will be in the cabin every Saturday and Sunday through Christmas Eve. The times will also be noon to 5 except Christmas Eve, which will be noon to 4 p.m.
       Saturday, Dec. 9 will have several Santa opportunities. These will be:
  • The traditional Breakfast with Santa at Meadow Muffins from 8 to 11 a.m. (cost $3 for kids, $5 for adults);
  • Santa's Workshop - crafts, activities and cookies and milk with Santa in a heated tent in Bancroft Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (cost $4 a person),
  • A span from noon to 5 p.m. when photos with the Jolly Old Elf in the cabin - normally a fee service - will be free.
           The band will be Floyd Frame's Brass Band, a group of volunteer area musicians. According to OCCA Executive Director Nancy Stovall, they will be playing from 2 to about 4 p.m. the Saturdays of Nov. 25, Dec. 16 and 23 (and possibly another Saturday to be announced).
           The decorating contest was just being organized this week. Stovall said there will likely be an overall winning store and possibly also winners in different categories. The winner(s) will be announced in the first week of December, she said.
           One past event will not be carried forward this year - the Honor Tree Lighting Ceremony with military recognition and participation, which OCCA had organized the past two Christmases. Instead, merchants will have a two-day Military Appreciation Weekend Dec. 2-3, offering special prices to military personnel, Stovall said.
           Another feature of December in Old Colorado City will be free parking (marked by hoods over the meters) on Saturdays.

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