Mrs. Claus gives parade waves from atop a Chaffee County Search & Rescue North truck at the 2021 Parade of Lights on East Main Street.

Christmas Opening in Buena Vista brought out enthusiastic crowds on Saturday, Dec. 4. From the river to the museum, the museum to the library, and up and down the U.S. 24 corridor people walked and shopped and spirits ran high.

The evening’s Parade of Lights was very well attended, with perhaps a thousand people mingling on East Main Street. A procession of 13 floats, riders on horseback, police and fire vehicles and circus performers made for quite a show.

“The whole day, what was really cool — the energy level in town was amazing,” said Jon Cobb of the BV chamber of commerce. “The kindness coming from everybody was amazing.”

Cobb said about 30 people participated in this year’s Polar Plunge in the Arkansas River at South Main.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “Probably the warmest year they’ll ever do it!”

Santa was on hand and photogenic amidst a small business expo on the upper level of the Buena Vista Heritage Museum. About a dozen crockpots of chili lent aroma to one corner of the room, while other scented goods dominated alternate corners.

In the lower level, Cloud City Toystore had the eastern room stocked with items. Their shop burst onto the BV scene behind the Eddyline Brewery off Linden Street about 5 months ago, said owner Chris Wright.

Across the street at the Buena Vista library, an author fair brought 13 published writers to town for signings.

“This was the first offering of a fair to feature local authors,” said Cecilia LaFrance, library director. “The idea came about through our adult services coordinator’s conversations with our local book stores and some authors.”

LaFrance said Christmas Opening was a great time to bring authors in to showcase their books for people gift shopping. The event will return.

“We hope to draw more attendees next year and plan to add additional features,” she said.

The Chocolate Walk took sweet-toothed shoppers practically to town limits in all cardinal directions.

“We sold 343 Chocolate Walk Cards. That’s the most I’ve ever done in the last 3 years,” said Cobb. “I think last year was 160.”

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