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Craig’s COVID Christmas: Local organizations adjusting to new restrictions ahead of holiday festivities

Donald Broom looks at the various Christmas trees adorning the Moffat County Courthouse Dec. 20, 2019 after judging the year's Festival of Trees contest.
Craig Press File

A handful of local organizations are adjusting holiday events to make sure Christmas cheer continues in Moffat County despite a significant COVID-19 surge in the community.

Although the Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Colorado’s Cowboy Christmas won’t happen in person — a staple of the local holiday season — others such as the Festival of Trees, Parade of Lights, and Downhome Christmas are all expected to be held this year, albeit with some changes.

COWBOY CHRISTMAS

The Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Colorado had to make the difficult decision in mid-October to change up how it would host Cowboy Christmas, with the desire to keep people safe and continue to fall within the ever-changing public health guidelines in the midst of the pandemic.

The event is the Boys and Girls Club’s largest fundraiser of the year. This year, instead of hosting its 16th annual Cowboy Christmas at their facility and asking supporters to purchase a table at the event, the Boys and Girls Club is asking people to sponsor kids in the organization.

Supporting a kid will provide tutoring, meals, field trips, carding adult mentors and fun daily activities. A donation of $500 will support one kid for an entire year, while $1,000 will support two young people for an entire year, a letter from Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Colorado’s Executive Director Dana Duran states.

Duran added that the committee is currently working to develop new and inventive ways to celebrate Cowboy Christmas this holiday season, including a potential online auction, a virtual presentation of Youth of the Year speeches, a large banner with sponsor logos outside of the club, exclusive Christmas decorations for sponsors highlighting support, and more.

FESTIVAL OF TREES

Much like Cowboy Christmas, the Festival of Trees will have a new look this year, including a new location.

The Craig Chamber of Commerce and The Network took over the community tradition this year. Trees will be placed at the Visitor’s Center located at 775 Yampa Ave. The tree-lighting ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Parade of Lights on Saturday, Nov. 28.

Instead of charging different fees for smaller and larger businesses, the entry fee for each tree is $25 this year, Brittany Young from the Craig Chamber said.

Trees will be placed in the old boardroom at the Yampa Building and will remain in place through at least Dec. 12 following a silent auction that night to coincide with Downhome Christmas.

Each tree will be marked for a minimum bid based on the tree entry, Young said.

“Each organization that sets up the tree, they’ll get that full amount from the auction, as long as the bids reach that level,” Young said. “After that, whatever money is leftover from the minimum bid will be split between the chamber and the Network.”

Additionally, the tree that wins the People’s Choice for 2020 will be awarded a minimum of $250, which will be based on the number of entries.

At this time, Young says there are 8-10 entries for Festival of Trees, but there are a few other entries waiting to confirm, pushing the total number of trees to roughly 12-15 this year.

With cases rising and Moffat County moving into Safer at Home Level Orange, the chamber canceled the Dec. 10 Chamber Mixer and is currently working on a plan to be able to have the silent auction event with Downhome Christmas at a smaller capacity while following all the new guidelines.

For more information on Festival of Trees, call the Chamber of Commerce at 970-824-5689.

DOWNHOME CHRISTMAS AND PARADE OF LIGHTS

While other holiday events have made the tough decision to either cancel outright or drastically alter plans, Downhome Christmas is currently planning to host its normal holiday event on Saturday, Dec. 12 at Alice Pleasant Park.

Moffat County is currently in Safer at Home Level Orange at the moment, but according to Kandee Dilldine, who owns and operates K S Kreation and is heavily involved in Downtown Business Association — which will host Downhome Christmas — DBA is planning to host the event like normal.

“Right now, in Level Orange, you can have 75 people at an outdoor event,” Dilldine said. “I believe the park is big enough for that amount of people, so I don’t foresee that being called off; that’s what we’re planning. Typically we don’t have more than 50 people in that park at one time anyway during Downhome Christmas.

“The only way we’d cancel Downhome Christmas is if we go to Level Red in the next few weeks,” Dilldine added.

During Downhome Christmas, K S Kreations will hand out prepackaged sugar cookies, while Downtown Books will provide hot apple cider, the Budget Center will distribute hot chocolate, and the Friends of the Library will host an activity at the event.

Additionally, the fire pit in the park will have S’mores and roasted chestnuts for the holiday event. There will also be an Elfie Selfie station, and a reindeer food-making station. Dilldine added that she’s trying to finalize some of the features, including a possible elementary school choir.

The Parade of Lights is still a go at the moment too, Dilldine said.


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