Chocolate walk

Chocolate Walk participants visited shops around Buena Vista, collecting chocolate and getting stamps to earn prizes later.

Christmas Opening, Buena Vista’s official start to the holiday season, returns next weekend on Saturday, Dec. 7.

The festivities begin early with the Chocolate Walk from 9 a.m., which goes throughout the day Saturday as well as Sunday until 4 p.m.

Pick up a card at the Buena Vista Community Center Saturday morning to play – visit the participating businesses, taste their chocolate treats and get a punch in your card.

At least 25 businesses will take part in the event. While you don’t have to visit each business to complete a card, you do have to visit at least one from South Main, East Main, West Main and U.S. Highway 24.

Return the completed card to the BV Welcome Center by Monday, Dec. 9 to be entered to win prizes.

New this year is an arts and crafts fair that will be hosted at the Ivy Ballroom throughout the day.

“We’ll have a variety of vendors with locally made crafts for sale there,” said Melissa Traynham, the events coordinator with the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce.

At the Buena Vista Heritage Museum, Chaffee Arts will host an art show and sale as well, and offer a Christmas-card making station for kids.

The community center will be the hub of activity throughout the day. It’s where you can get Christmas Tree permits from the U.S. Forest Service, arts and crafts with the Girl Scouts, it’s where where First Colorado Land Office will host a free screening of “The Star” for kids, and, of course, it’s where Santa Claus will be taking photos until the Parade of Lights picks him up later that evening.

The Parade of Lights is scheduled to begin at 5:15 p.m., in South Main. vehicles can enter the parade up to the day of, but it is preferred that those interested contact Traynham at events@buenavistacolorado.org ahead of time.

The traditional Equine Parade will be a part of the Parade of Lights as well, Traynham said, and those equestrians who would like to be a part of the event should contact her.

“I definitely want to encourage people to let me know ahead of time,” Traynham said.

During the parade, Santa will be taken down East Main Street and dropped off at the splash park, where he’ll tell a Christmas story and magically light the town Christmas Tree.

Before the parade, EmPower Yoga will be hosting a warm-up session and free hot cocoa at the community center.

Also returning Saturday will be the Polar Plunge, where you can jump into the Arkansas River to raise funds for Toys for Tikes.

The plunge, now in its third year, takes place at 1 p.m. at the river by the Surf Hotel, with registration beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Throughout the day, performances by the Buena Vista Circus, the Buena Vista Dance Studio, the Chime Time bell ringers and roving bands of carolers will take place.

“It’s similar to previous years. We’ll have performances up and down East Main Street at some of the businesses. We’ll have violinists and caroling at some of the businesses participating in the chocolate walk as well,” Traynham said.

For the full schedule of events, visit www.BuenaVistaColorado.org/BV-Christmas-Opening/

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