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It’s holiday time in the Central Colorado Rockies, and there probably isn’t any other town in the region that loves to celebrate Christmas as much as Buena Vista (BV). The festivities kick off on Saturday, December 3, with activities all day, topped off at dusk with the 2022 BV Parade of Lights.

Parade of Lights

The float carrying Santa Claus was a main feature of the Buena Vista Christmas Parade, kicking off the town’s holiday season. All photos by Henry DeKam.

Beginning at 5:15 p.m. Sat. Dec. 3 starting from East Main (near the Community Center) coming west on Main to Railroad. The Chamber’s message to all: “Be sure to grab your coat and hot cocoa (or other libation) as we LIGHT UP our town and close this fun day out with Santa reciting ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’ just before he is raised up to light the community tree.”

The parade is sponsored by JVAM, TBK Bank, Mt. Princeton RV Park, IN Bank, and First Colorado Land Office.

The town’s big kickoff to Christmas day of events is hosted by the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Buena Vista, Buena Vista Heritage Museum, Buena Vista Public Library, Buena Vista High School, and One Love Endurance Events.

The Buena Vista (BV) Chamber of Commerce has been busy planning and organizing to make 2022 the best winter holiday year ever. From the Ugly Sweater 5K Run to Photos with Santa, Santa’s Giftshop, and the beloved Parade of Lights, this can be a full day of fun and adventure for the whole family.

Here’s what’s on the schedule for December, starting right out with a favorite holiday word – chocolate.

2022 Buena Vista Christmas Opening, Saturday, December 3

The BV Chocolate Walk
All day Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sun Dec. 4
To participate, purchase a card through the BV Chamber of Commerce for $1 per card.
Pick up your playing cards between November 29 and December 2 at the Chamber offices right on East Main Street. Or playing cards are also available at The Heritage Museum (on December 3 only).

Ugly Sweater 5k

Participants of the Ugly Sweater 5k will receive a card with registration. This “sweet” event takes you on a stroll through beautiful Buena Vista. Collect a special chocolate treat as you step inside each participating store, gallery, and restaurant. Once you’ve visited all the stores you can return your playing card to the BV Chamber for a chance to win CASH prizes donated by local businesses:

  • First Place: $500 From Mary Kale, Full Circle Real Estate
  • Second Place: $250 From Mona Bellantonio, Full Circle Real Estate
  • Third Place:  $100 From Amber Gaston, Full Circle Real Estate.

Photos With Santa
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sat. Dec. 3 at the Buena Vista Heritage Museum
Santa has partnered with the BVHS Yearbook Club! Snag your sitting and digital image for a recommended donation of $5.

Get your smiles all ready — the sessions are approximately three minutes per family (not child). After your session, please allow time as BVHS Yearbook Club will also be offering prints for an additional charge. Sponsored by First Colorado Land Office.

Chili Cook-Off
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sat. Dec. 3 at the Buena Vista  Heritage Museum.
As the room fills with the aroma of perfectly seasoned meat and beans, you’ll be sure to find unique Christmas gifts at the BV Heritage Gift Shop. Most importantly, everyone can sample all the chili they can eat and cast their vote for the winning recipe.

As the day draws to a close and the votes are counted, one lucky person will be crowned the winner for ALL bragging rights.

Santa’s Favorite Workshop
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sat. Dec. 3 at the BV Heritage Museum

Whether you’re a year-around local or just up for a visit, a stop at this wonderland of unique gifts can satisfy all the special “kiddos” in your life, no matter their age. This holiday workshop will be presented by Cloud City Toy Store.

Holiday Artisan Craft Fair
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sat. Dec. 3 at the BV Heritage Museum
This is the place to browse the creations of local artisans to find unique holiday gifts for your friends or family — or even just for yourself.

Local Author Fair
12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. Sat. Dec. 3 at the BV Public Library
This is the place to discover and celebrate local authors. Bring your holiday shopping list and meet published authors, purchase signed copies, and enter a book raffle.

Ugly Sweater 5k And Fun Run
Fun Run starting at 10:00 a.m. Sat. Dec. 3, and a 5K starting at 10:30 a.m. at South Main
Come out in your ugliest holiday sweater as you tour the town on foot. When you finish, the bravest will follow this with a jump in the Arkansas River for the Polar Plunge.

All 5K runners will receive a Chocolate Walk card. The youngest kids (ages 0-5) are welcome to galivant around South Main for the Fun Run which will take place before the 5K. All the young participants will be rewarded with a special holiday prize.

A brave plunger bellyflops into the Arkansas River at the Fourth Annual Polar Plunge on December 4, 2021. Photo by Hannah Harn.


Polar Plunge in The Arkansas River
12:00 noon Sat. Dec. 3 at the South Main River Park
Why settle for silver when you can go for the cold?

Recreation Director Earl Richmond described the plunge as a “marquee event.”

Test your mettle big-time with an ice-cold plunge while supporting the Buena Vista High School Student Council’s Toys For Tikes. No training is necessary, but a warm towel should probably be at the ready.


Featured image: The float carrying Santa Claus is a main feature of the Buena Vista Christmas Parade, kicking off the town’s holiday season. Photo by Henry DeKam.