Nothing is more festive than the Colorado high country at holiday time, and the quaint town of Aspen embodies the epitome of Colorado holiday spirit. Snow flies, families gather and people are overjoyed to enjoy skiing, winter and endless holiday activities. The Town of Aspen cherishes this time puts the spotlight on local events at the holidays with the very special 12 Days of Aspen.
The last 12 days of December host a variety of activities for the whole family. The celebration kicks off on December 20, with a free ice skating show by the Aspen Skating Club at 1:30, followed by a free public skate from 2-4pn, all at the Silver Circle Ice Rink. This is one of the many kid-centered events leading up to the Christmas holiday.
On December 21-22, the Wheeler/ Stallard Museum hosts a Teddy Bear Story Hour, and on the 23-24 you can bring your bear to a very sophisticated Teddy Bear Tea at the St. Regis Hotel. The town’s Sheriff’s Office and Firefighters join the festivities on the 21-22 with two free afternoon Cookies & Cocoa events to spread good cheer. Kids will be excited that Santa is out an about in Aspen this week (with his live reindeer in tow!) and makes several appearances at Cookies & Cocoa events, reindeer visits and Santa story time on the 22nd- 24th.
The week following Christmas, kids can enjoy special classes for winter learning and outdoor fun at the daily Winter Explorers Classes at Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. These classes give kids an opportunity to explore an assortment of wintry nature topics like “SnowNation”, “Winter Survival” and “Snowflakes and Icicles”, all to be held at the ACES Hallam Lake Nature Preserve. Also from ACES, a free Holiday Open House on Boxing Day, December 26, with guided snowshoe tours around the preserve, hot chocolate, mulled cider, wine, snacks, bonfire and more!
The 12 Days are also loaded with lots of merry music and art activities that will bring joy to your holiday in Aspen. On December 21, 22 & 23, Jane Gottlieb Productions, Aspens cherished young professional theater company, will entertain with multiple performances of their holiday production, The Spirit of Aspen Spectacular at The Wheeler Opera House. The Local Vocals Victorian Carolers will be crooning with festive classic caroling in the days leading up to the holiday, and Jazz Aspen Snowmass Café presents smooth jazz by singer-songwriter Allan Harris for four shows on December 27-28. Also on the 28th, don’t miss one of the favorite events of the 12 days, The Aspen Art Museum’s Freestyle Winter Benefit: a top-notch après ski fashion show and auction, complete with champagne and caviar, that brings Aspen’s fashion and art connoisseurs out in full holiday force.
For those seeking a bit of adventure this holiday, the 12 days of Aspen does not disappoint! On December 23, visit Wagner Park from 12-3pm for a waggin’ good time at Skijor-N-More! The Friends of Aspen Animal Shelter presents this feel good event featuring a Skijor and Dog Sled Demo with furry friends at the helm. On December 30, also at Wagner Park, enjoy free tethered hot air balloon rides for a birds-eye view of beautiful Aspen Mountain and a colorful, safe ride above town. Also on December 30- the notorious Ajax Cup celebrity ski race at Snowmass Mountain. This fantastic spectator event features pro skiers and celebrities going head to head in a slalom race to benefit Aspen Valley Ski Club. The fun race and fabulous “Winter’s Best Apres Party”, both hosted by Antonio Banderas, bring local ski legends, celebrities and ski racing community members together for an epic day of skiing, socializing and philanthropy.
Top off your 12th Day with an amazing series of events to ring in the New Year. Many local restaurants offer dazzling special menus for New Year’s Eve, and several also offer early, easy Family-Friendly dinners. From 8pm-midnight bring the kids for a free DJ and bonfire at Wagner Park. From here you will have a perfect vantage point for the fabulous Fireworks over Aspen Mountain throughout the evening. For grown ups, the New Year’s Eve Bash at Wheeler Opera House, with Louisiana funk from Marc Broussard, promises to get your groove on without breaking the bank. Last year this New Year’s Eve party received rave reviews- don’t miss it!
For a complete schedule of the 12 Days of Aspen, visit www.aspenchamber.org.
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