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With the snow in the air and holiday cheer all around, there is just something about spending Christmas in the mountains that creates a special buzz. There are many opportunities throughout the Arkansas River Valley to get the family out and about this time of year, whether its spent outdoors or enjoying the plethora of party events that provide fun for all ages. This season is savored most with loved ones, but what better way than welcoming that community spirit and being a part of the local shindigs. Here is just a taste of what is happening in the Arkansas River Valley this week.

3:00-5:00 p.m. Dec. 21

Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest at Soulcraft Brewing

Located on Rainbow Blvd. 248 W U.S. 50 in Salida, Soulcraft has quickly made its mark for entertainment, live music and unique events in town. On Friday their ugly sweater contest will take place during happy hour and provide an extra appeal to enjoy locally -crafted brews and a kick start to this holiday weekend. Winner will receive a prize. Soulcraft has a variety of seasonal specials plus their tried and true staples on tap, and growlers available for purchase and take-home.

6:00- 8:00 p.m. Dec. 21

Winter Solstice Celebration at the Scout Hut

Located at 210 E. Sackett in Salida, the Scout Hut will feature music candlelight and meditation for the winter celebration. Featured artists include Alessandra Milena, Brandy Wade, James Parmer, with DJ Quantum Frequency.

5:30- 9:00 p.m. Dec. 21

Winter Solstice Celebration at the SteamPlant

If your boots were made for dancing this Winter Solstice Celebration is the perfect night out for you and your family. The celebration begins at 5:30 p.m. with a free showing of 2001: A Space Odyssey in the SteamPlant theater in Salida (220 W. Sackett Ave.). the dance begins at 8:00 p.m. in the ballroom. With live music and performances by local musicians GoiNomadic, Salida Brass, Big Horn and Brian Rill. The admission is $15 and there is a cash bar available.

5:00-9:00 p.m. Dec. 21

Christmas Lights, BBQ Bonfire and Bike Tour with Subculture Cyclery

As a unique, family-friendly way to view the local Christmas lights, Subculture Cyclery in Salida (129 N G St.) is offering an evening bike ride with chili and hamburgers, hot dogs, homemade cookies and a bonfire. Dress warmly for the few easy miles of riding and be sure to bring a mug for hot toddies to top of the evening with a perfect nightcap. There will be eggnog and cider available too. Meet at their G street location to kickoff the festivities with food and drink and the ride will follow after.

8:30-9:30 a.m. Dec. 22 

Holiday Yoga with live music at YogaOlas

For all the yogis in the valley wanting to enjoy the festive spirit, YogaOlas in Salida is offering a Saturday morning class with Megan Lombardo performing and singing holiday classics while owner Megan Rae Kahn guides the class in all levels of vinyasa. The class is open to all levels and abilities and is $18 to drop-in. Pre-registration is encouraged at

1:00-2:00 p.m. Dec. 22 

Crystal Christmas Tree Ornament Kids’ Program

The staff at the National Mining Hall of Fame in Leadville (120 West 9th St. Leadville) will be instructing youth, ages 6-12, in how crystals form and provide the skills and supplies to create their own crystal Christmas ornament to take home. They also ask that the kids make a second ornament to decorate the tree at the museum so everyone can enjoy the festivities. This event is free with paid admission to museum. The museum is a federally charted non-profit that boasts 25,000 square feet of interactive and informative mining exhibits sharing the importance of this trade in Colorado and the nation’s history through today.

11:00-4:30 p.m. Dec. 23 

Cookies for Santa at the Salida Community Center

The Drunkin Muffin Bakery is hosting a Christmas cookie decorating party at the community center in Salida (305 F St.) providing a fun afternoon for all ages. The bakers will provide the cookies, icing and décor plus gluten-free options will be available. Come decorate a cookie for Santa and one for yourself too, because everyone deserves a treat during the holidays! An RSVP is requested so they will have plenty of cookies for all the decorators. Call Pam at 719-221-5869 and let her know how many creative decorators will be attending!

9:00-4:00 p.m. Dec. 24 

Santa Skis Monarch Mountain

Ring in Christmas Eve on the slopes and enjoy skiing and snowboarding with Santa at Monarch Mountain, 23715 U.S. 50. Be sure and bring the little ones to catch Santa on the green runs and in the base area, and be sure to go by the children’s center for photos, candy canes and Monarch stickers with Santa. Santa will be all over the mountain so bring the whole family to catch glimpses of the jolly fellow before he begins he long night of spreading Christmas cheer.

8:00-11:00 p.m. Dec. 28 

Trout Steak Revival performance at the Ivy Ballroom in the Surf Hotel

The fun does not stop on Christmas, for those looking for some entertainment after all the festivities Trout Steak Revival, dubbed the quintessential Colorado band, will be performing a night of bluegrass, Americana and folk at the premier Ivy Ballroom located in the newly established Surf Hotel, located at 1012 Front Loop in Buena Vista. Tickets are $20 available online and all ages are welcome to attend the dance party.

All holiday week

6th Annual “Adopt a Grandparent” at Columbine Manor in Salida

Whether family is far away or giving back is a part of your Christmas cheer, the Columbine Manor in Salida is doing their annual “Adopt a Grandparent” so none of the seniors in town go without a little Christmas love. For $20 anyone can adopt a grandparent, and there is no limit to how many a person can adopt. There are more than 100 residents at the manor; with the donations these citizens will receive a gift of healthy lotions, socks, holiday gifts and goodies. This event is sponsored by Barbara Pearson-Sawyer of First Colorado Land Office. Contact her at 719-207-3884 for more information or mail a check to her attention at First Colorado Land Office, PO Box 749, Salida, CO 81201.