Free on-street Saturday parking in Old Colorado City

       The City of Colorado Springs will treat the “expired” signs in parking meters like red Christmas decorations in Old Colorado City and downtown on the Saturdays leading up to Christmas.

Santa Claus and "elf" Marissa Mullen (a student at Holmes Middle School) wait for small visitors in the cabin in Bancroft Park Nov. 29. Courtesy of the Old Colorado City Associates, Santa will be at the cabin the afternoons of Dec. 5-6, 12-13 and 19-24.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The free parking will be in place Saturdays Dec. 5, 12 and 19, according to city spokesperson Julie Smith.
       The city's goal, as in past years, is to give a boost to retail business during the year's busiest shopping season.
       The recently formed Historic District Merchants of Old Colorado City is sponsoring Christmas-themed activities on the coming two Saturdays (Dec. 5 and 12).
       On both days, members of the Victorian Society of Colorado Springs will carol through the historic shopping district (along and beside the avenue between 24th and 27th streets) from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; and guided tours of the district will be provided by the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) starting at 2:30 p.m. from the Garvin Cabin in Bancroft Park.
       There is no charge for either activity, although the OCCHS is asking a $5 donation from anyone joining a tour.
       The public is also invited to enter a Victorian Costume Contest Saturday, Dec. 12 at 3:30 p.m. at Deb's Coffee House, 2 S. 25th St. Prizes will go to best male, female, teen and child costumes.
       For more information, call 447-8844.
       The annual Breakfast with Santa will be Saturday, Dec. 12 from 8 to 11 a.m. at Thunder and Buttons, 2415 W. Colorado Ave.
       Sponsored by the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) commercial group, the event will feature Santa Claus, an ice sculpting demonstration, Colorado Springs firefighters, arts and crafts and (afterward in the Bancroft Park cabin) free photo opportunities with Santa, a press release states.
       The cost is $3 for children and $5 for adults.

       Silver Key Senior Services is seeking volunteers to help schedule, visit and deliver an estimated 2,000 gifts during the Christmas season to elderly citizens living independently.
       Callers are needed from Dec. 9-18 and volunteer drivers Dec. 10-19. All days would be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
       Headquartered on the Westside, Silver Key is a nonprofit organization that relies chiefly on community donations to serve older adults in Colorado Springs.
       For more information, call Lorri Orwig, Silver Key's volunteer resource director, at 884-2313 or
       The annual “Holiday Evenings” at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site has been scaled back this year - the event featuring popular old-time Christmas activities will be one night instead of two, thus changing its name to “Holiday Evening” Saturday, Dec. 11.
       “We had to tighten our belts this year,” explained ranch manager Andy Morris, referring to budget cuts affecting the city-owned facility. He noted, however, that the event's activities have not been diminished - just the number of nights that they're offered.
       Going from 4 to 8 p.m., Holiday Evening Dec. 11 will include wagon rides, period music, a barn dance, blacksmith demonstrations, lantern-lit walks, St. Nicholas in the Carriage House and “Victorian celebrations in the 1880s Rock Ledge House and Edwardian festivities in the 1907 Orchard House,” a press release states.
       Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for students and seniors, $2 for ages 6-12 and free for those 5 and under.
       Rock Ledge is a working ranch, operated in the style of the 1880s, in the Garden of the Gods, off Gateway Drive at 30th Street.
       For more information, call 578-6986.
       Participants are being sought for an art exhibit at the Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St., Saturday, Dec. 12.
       The time frame will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be a fundraiser for the center's teen programs.
       Westside elementary, middle and high school students are encouraged to reserve booths to display and sell their works (photography, paintings, sculpting, carving, and most visual arts), according to Marissa Madrid of Majestic Entertainment, a local drama group that is sponsoring the exhbit.
       Booth rentals will be free to youth participants. There will be a fee of $20 to $25 for other artists. Admission to people attending the exhibit will be $1. For more information, call Sherry Bennett at 482-4313.
       The U.S. Postal Service is accepting letters to Santa Claus.
       The deadline is Dec. 15.
       Letters should be sent to Santa Claus, C/O Customer Relations Office, 3655 E. Fountain Blvd., Colorado Springs, CO 80910. A return address is needed to allow replies, a Post Office press release.
       In other Postal Service news, Friday, Dec. 4 is the deadline to send mail and packages to U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan and expect to have it arrive by Christmas.

Westside Pioneer/press release