Merry Mainstreet to light up Steamboat’s Saturday night |

Merry Mainstreet to light up Steamboat’s Saturday night

Nicole Inglis

Floats drive down Lincoln Avenue during the Merry Mainstreet holiday celebration in 2010 in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Snow is in the forecast and the nights already are aglow with downtown Steamboat Springs holiday cheer.

But as Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett knows, Steamboat residents don't always plan ahead for their holiday shopping.

Enter the annual Merry Mainstreet event.

"We started doing it this weekend because it's two weeks before the (flight program) actually starts," Barnett said. "The point was to try to get people downtown, shopping earlier than the last week” before Christmas.

And so Merry Mainstreet was born, and this year it falls on Saturday.

Lincoln Avenue between Fifth and 11th streets will be closed from 5 until 8 p.m., and downtown stores will be decorated in the theme of various holiday songs like “Frosty the Snowman” or "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."

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The usual Merry Mainstreet traditions are back, including the Santa's Light Parade at 5:30 p.m.

Barnett said it's a low-key, just-for-fun affair that this year features Charlie Holthausen's dragon car and Santa aboard the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's gondola car coach.

Anyone else is welcome to sign up until the last minute by calling Barnett at 970-846-1800.

"We'll take anyone who wants to be in a fun, funky parade. All you need is some lights," Barnett said.

The Gingerbread House Contest is back with four elaborate treats on display at downtown businesses. The public gets to pick the winners of the gingerbread house contest and the window decoration contest.

New this year is the Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt. A small elf will be hidden in the window of a downtown store. Anyone who finds the elf can go inside and register to win a downtown gift certificate prize.

The Santa Pub Crawl also is back. The adults-only event that starts at 8 p.m. just as Lincoln Avenue reopens. A $10 cover charge earns free drinks at participating bars: Carl's Tavern, Sweetwater Grill and Sunpie's Bistro.

Awards will be given out for best Santa/Mrs. Claus, elf or reindeer outfits. Register online here.

For whatever aspect of the evening people choose to enjoy, Barnett said it's a holiday tradition to cherish, snow or not.

"It's the twinkle lights; it's the decorated windows; it's the carolers outside," Barnett said. "It's people wandering back and forth across the street. It takes the hecticness out. This is just more of a fun, casual, easy evening."

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email