Residents of rural Calhan got their collective Christmas wish last year: a holiday parade. Calhan’s Parade of Lights returns as part of a full evening Saturday, the Calhan Country Christmas celebration.
“This year, we wanted to build that evening out. We had a lot of requests for a holiday celebration from people in the neighboring communities,” said Stacy Reavis-Starr, programming coordinator for the El Paso County Fair & Events Center. “It’s our big wish for our community. Sometimes it’s difficult for folks to get all the way into the Springs for the big Festival of Lights parade. The timing can be difficult if they’re ranching.”
The festivities are sponsored by the Calhan Christmas Parade of Lights, Town of Calhan and the county’s Fair & Event Center.
The Whittemore Building will be the hub of activity, with gates opening at 6 p.m. for hay rides, a live Nativity presented by the Fountain Farmers 4-H Club, strolling carolers and night-sky viewing (weather permitting) by the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society, which will set up telescopes. Photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus, plus two real reindeer named Reggie and Riley, will be from 6 to 8 p.m.
“Kids can come and meet the reindeer, sit in Santa’s lap and have pictures done. Mrs. Claus will be there, too. She doesn’t usually travel with Santa, but she will be there for our event,” Reavis-Starr said.
The parade, with more than 60 floats, will commence from the fairgrounds at 7 p.m. and return for 8 p.m. refreshments. Rock band Fire Line will entertain.
Attendees also can take in holiday light-display competitors set up in the fairgrounds.
“Everybody loves Christmas lights, being out here in such a rural community. When I was a kid, we’d pile in the car and drive around to see them. But they’re so far apart here. We wanted to do a light display in one place for people to come and to enjoy. It’s a chance to let people show us how creative they are,” Reavis-Starr said. “We’re looking for our Clark Griswold.”
Trophies and cash prizes for best business, youth group, family and individual displays will be awarded by the Mountain View Electric Association. Winners will be announced at 8:30 p.m.
Parfticipation is free, and displays can be built in the Fair & Events Center through 4 p.m. Friday. For more information on the contest, call 520-7882.
MICHELLE KARAS, THE GAZETTE, MICHELLE.KARAS@GAZETTE.COM