Monday, November 29, 2010

Colorado Chronicles: Christmas Magic in The Springs

Christmas in the Rockies
Colorado Springs is one of my favorite places in Colorado. Pikes Peak looms 14,000 feet plus over the city to the west and it's just a couple of reindeer jumps to Santa's Workshop on the road to Garden of the Gods. The Springs is situated in an environment that is perfect for celebrating Christmas. Moiuntain, snow, Santa's Worshop...what more could you ask for?

Folks like Kevin and Linda Pickett utilize their Christmas-y setting in Colorado Springs to it's maximum effect. You see, the Picketts, like many other area residents get into the Christmas Spirit every year, but Kevin and Linda take the season a little more seriously than most other people. Sure they decorate their home for Christmas just like millions of other Americans, with lights, yard displays and other Yuletide gizmos. It's just that the Picketts use over 100,000 lights and a sleigh full of technically enhanced Christmas scenes. It is absolutely out of this world! They have the lights and various animated scenes in their yard sync'd to music play over their very own low power FM radio station!  Click here to access the Picketts' web site and see for yourself. I'm as serious as dandruff, it's nuts! In a good way, of course. Once on their home page, you can click links to a photographic history and evolution of the annual Christmas extravaganza. They even have videos of it as it was featured on the Big 3 TV networks! There are also links to other people in the United States who are what Kevin calls 'light gurus" and the "above average" displays they have put together.

This is one of the best Christmas things I have ever seen. The web site has some of the most incredible content of any such web site in the world. drop by Kevin and Linda's site, sign their guest book and take some time to really check out the place. You'll thank me later.

Maine Minutiae: The Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport

Lobster Trap Christmas Tree
Thanksgiving, 2010 is in the books and that means it's now twenty-seven day mad dash to Christmas. All over the country big cities and small towns are all dressed up in their Christmas finery as we await the arrival of good old saint Nick.

One of Maine's most famous cities, Kennebunkport, is celebrating an almost thirty year old celebration called Christmas Prelude. While Christmas Prelude may be a relative newcomer in terms years, it's long on tradition and big on beauty.

The first Christmas Prelude was held in 1982 and "included a tree lighting ceremony, a River Tree Arts concert, a chowder luncheon, candlelight caroling and Santa’s arrival by lobster boat. We now have three tree-lighting ceremonies – Dock Square in Kennebunkport, Lower Village of Kennebunk and the lobster trap tree in Cape Porpoise; about a dozen Art and Craft Fairs; approximately 12 venues serving either breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner; programs sponsored by the Historical Society; and 12 programs of music celebrating the season. Santa still arrives by lobster boat escorted by two very special “lobster elves”. The Kennebunkport Business Association’s Christmas Prelude is now in its 29th year. For each of these years, business people have worked with the community to recreate the spirit and joy of the Christmas season."

Click here to go to the Christmas Prelude web site home page, and you be treated to a beautiful slide show from previous years of the celebration. On that page there are also helpful links about lodging, a schedule of events and contact information for the folks who run the Christmas Prelude. The festivities begin Thursday, December 2, so be sure to check the schedule of events for the day and time of your favorite activity.

Texas Tidbits: A Christmas Display as Big as Texas

Texans do everything big and celebrating Christmas is no different as Marshall puts on one of the biggest Christmas lights displays in the country. Wonderland of Lights is truly spectacle worthy of all the praise heaped upon it. Since 1987, Wonderland of Lights has attracted millions of visitors from East Texas and all over the world. All these visitors gather in Marshall each year starting on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to see more than 10 million lights on display including the Courthouse on the square in Downtown Marshall. All told, more than 3000 miles of strung lights took more than 8000 man-hours to get ready for this year's festival. tells us of some of the other activities taking place during the festival, "You will find a variety of entertainment and activities, including live entertainment in the Old Memorial City Hall Auditorium, Church of the Bells, Carriage Rides, Bus Tours to neighborhoods with elaborate decorations and lighted scenes, driving tour route with displays over 24 ft tall, visits with Santa, the annual “lighted” Christmas Parade and an Outdoor Ice Skating Rink."

This year's Wonderland of Lights continues through January 2, 2011, so there's still time to make plans to see one of the most spectacular displays of the Christmas Spirit you'll find anywhere. It's truly an experience that everyone in your family will be delighted by. I have been to the Wonderland of Lights festival more than once, and I can tell you first-hand that it's every bit as good (or better) as advertised. Marshall is 150 miles east of Dallas on I-20, so it's only a couple hour drive - a drive well worth taking. As an added bonus, it's only 41 miles from Marshall to the casinos in Shreveport. Just sayin'. Any way you choose it, Wonderland of Lights is a great way to say Merry Christmas !!!

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All Original Material © Toby Shoemaker