With the Christmas holiday fast approaching, Denver will not look the same this year as it always has. There will be some exceptions like lap-visits with Santa, 'Nutcracker,' and ice-skating rink following the city and state-mandated safety measures.
Even with those exceptions, the future looks bright because many things are expected to return and expand for some people.
Tami Door, the CEO and president of the Downtown Denver Partnership, invited the public to get together in downtown Denver to remember the good things that constitute the city, the winter season, and the holiday season.
She did that in a press conference via zoom. Amidst teasing about some future announcements for the Downtown Denver Partnership as part of the program, she mentioned how many of the city's everyday holiday activities adjust to the pandemic.
She pointed out how, for example, the 9News Parade of Lights, which winds across the central business district annually from the county and city buildings, has lost its traditional course for static offerings.
Families can now expect a socially safe extravaganza full of activities throughout downtown for multiple weeks, including the love and floats displayed across downtown starting Friday, November 27th.
With the locations yet to be named, Door called it a choose-your-own-adventure activity. The floats will be around for looky-loos and photo ops till the year ends.
There will also be a collapse of the famous ice-skating rink on 16th Street Mall’s Skyline Park due to the health mandates. Staging the intensely crowded and wildly popular Christkindl Market at Skyline will be moved to Civic Center Park, which has more space for people to spread out.
That raised many questions about extra safety measures since the park has been ground zero for homeless peoples’ camps and protestors. Entry to the park is free and will run from 20th-23rd December.
Larimer Square Block remains a pedestrian-only street, but there will be visits from Santa and different drinking and dining options to keep the Christmas spirit. There are also bubble-like domes and outdoor greenhouses popping up in many restaurants for the winter.
President of Gart Properties, Mark Sidell, said that all those new ideas demonstrate the innovation resulting from the pandemic, which might be better than the old traditions.
The Pavilions, a famous open-air and multi-tiered shopping complex will host two parades of light floats this year and have an LED Christmas tree for display, which will be 110 feet. Sidell called it the biggest digital Christmas tree around North America.
Lower Downtown Union Station will replace its in-person Santa photos with an expanded version of their outdoor offerings.
Besides the indoor holiday décor, which will return for photo ops, there will be a combination of Santa letter-writing activities ‘Yappy Hour’ Christmas cocktails in the plaza, according to Sara Hendricks from Sage Hospitality Group.
On November 27th, there will also be the Grand Illumination, the night when the Union Station plus other downtown landmarks switch on their lights for the holiday season.
Following the mix of public and private partnerships, Door didn’t give a budget estimate of the winter in the City programming for this year. It was also because larger new projects will replace the cost-saving exercises like closing down some activities.