Lighting up the holidays |

Lighting up the holidays

Melinda Dudley

Kylie, left, and Karli Siscoe were among the hundreds of people who attended the Community Tree Lighting on the Routt County Courthouse lawn. The night's events included lighting the tree in front of the courthouse, a visit from Santa Claus, hot cocoa and cookies. Kylie and Karli were among many waiting to find out whether they had won a special drawing for Downtown Dollars.

Lily Armstrong wants one thing for Christmas and one thing only.

“A horse,” the five-year-old said, while her mom, Katie Armstrong, stood behind her in line to see Santa Claus on Friday night, adamantly shaking her head “no.”

“We’re trying to get her to come up with other stuff, but she’s got her mind made up,” Katie Armstrong said.

The Armstrongs were among hundreds who turned out for Mainstreet Steamboat Springs’ Community Tree Lighting Friday night, cups of hot chocolate and candy canes in hand. People crammed onto the Routt County Courthouse lawn, spilling out onto the sidewalk along Lincoln Avenue where luminarias lining the grass tried to hold their own against the intermittent snowfall.

“Do you like the snow that I cued up just a minute ago?” Mainstreet Manager Tracy Barnett asked, drawing raucous cheers from the crowd.

Stocking cap-clad children perched on their parents’ shoulders to watch the Emerald City Opera’s Jewel Singers on the courthouse steps perform holiday classics including “Jingle Bells” and lead the crowd in “O Christmas Tree.”

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Mrs. Claus herself led attendees in a New Year’s Eve-style countdown for the lighting of the community Christmas tree, with a bit of help of KVCR’s Brian Harvey – who, she noted, “hasn’t been a very good boy this year.”

The community Christmas tree is at Fifth Street and Lincoln Avenue, and it will remain lit through the holidays, Barnett said. The multi-story pine now is decked out in its holiday finery, wrapped in colored-light garlands.

Families packed the sidewalk, in line to see Santa Claus. Elaina Lewis, 8, who was ready to tell Santa that she wanted a camping set for Christmas this year, stood on her tiptoes, craning her neck to see how far back she was after a half-hour in line.

Santa will be back again at Mainstreet’s “Merry Mainstreet” event, from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 13. Lincoln Avenue will be blocked off, much like the annual Halloween Stroll, with stores hosting open houses, carolers and a visit from Larry the Camel.

– To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203 or e-mail

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