SIDE STREETS: Broadmoor lights ignite holiday spirit

BILL VOGRIN Updated: November 27, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: November 27, 2012

Before the holidays are over, get yourself down to The Broadmoor hotel some evening and enjoy.

Enjoy the sight of more than a half-a-million lights strung on 280 trees, some reaching 70 feet in height.

Enjoy those lights as they reflect on the waters of Cheyenne Lake behind the historic main building at the end of Lake Avenue.

Enjoy the huge wreath on the front of the building and the centerpiece decorated blue spruce tree in front of Broadmoor West building.

Just enjoy.

Each Christmas season, readers call asking for tips on where they can see the best neighborhood lighting displays. I always tell them to visit The Broadmoor.

Doesn’t matter if you are new in town or if you have lived here so long your dark hair has turned gray and mostly fallen out. (Like me!)

You'd have to be a real Grinch if the lights didn't get you in the holiday spirit.

The Broadmoor’s display reminds me of the lights of the Country Club Plaza district in Kansas City, Mo. It’s our version of Rockefeller Center in New York or the Denver Civic Center display.

It’s grown dramatically since the five-star resort inaugurated its White Light ceremony in 1985 to kick off the holiday season. In those days, about 100,000 lights were strung. Now, the bulb count exceeds 500,000 on 18,000 strands of lights plugged into nearly two miles of power cords.

“It’s become quite a tradition,” said Krista Schulz, a Broadmoor spokeswoman. “The White Light ceremony on the Saturday after Thanksgiving attracts thousands every year. And we get people driving around the property all Christmas season.”

It takes nearly four months to install all the lights and nearly three months to remove them, Schulz told me.

“Everyone loves the holidays and the lights really seem to create a sense of community,” she said.

Get out of your car and stroll the property. Soak in the sights.

You might want to drop by the resort’s Christmas House at 6 Lake Ave., which sells holiday ornaments and decorations along with special holiday breads baked by the resort’s chef. And every Saturday, the Christmas House is visited by Santa Claus, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Then I recommend you head on up the mountain and experience the 22nd annual Electric Safari at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It opens Dec. 7 and features 40 animated light sculptures and more than 1 million lights.

In addition, there are plenty of light displays on homes in the area. You will see many driving up Lake Avenue and on the roads around the resort. (I’d nominate several for the holiday light contest going on at coloradosprings.com.)

Be sure to check out the El Pomar Foundation’s Penrose House, 1661 Mesa Avenue, just west of the resort. It was the home of Broadmoor founder Spencer and Julie Penrose. It has a dozen or so trees lit with thousands of white and blue lights.

If a tour of the Broadmoor neighborhood and zoo don't get you in the holiday spirit, I suggest you take your little dog with the antler tied to his head, and stay away from Whoville because there's no hope for you, Mr. Grinch!

                    —

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