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Holiday goodies down South
Photo courtesy: Alamosa Round-UP

By Joshua Pilkington

A calendared look at some of Southern Colorado’s holiday offerings

Southern Colorado is offering a myriad of holiday-themed events in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day. For those living in our around the area, as well as those looking for something fun to do away from home, here are some key events destined to bolster the holiday spirit.

Pueblo Riverwalk boat rides with Santa

One of Pueblo’s primary destinations is also the city’s most festive this time of year. The Riverwalk lighting ceremony may have passed, but the views are still just as remarkable and the events surrounding the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo (HARP) continue to attract patrons.

Santa Boat Rides are one of the most attractive features along the riverwalk during the holidays with Santa and Mrs. Claus taking their decorated riverboat down the Arkansas River.

“I love taking may family down to the riverwalk,” said Michael McCreary, 33, who moved his family to Pueblo in 2013 and has been visiting HARP frequently since. “Last year we were able to catch the lighting ceremony, but didn’t have a chance to get the kids on the boat with Santa. We’re excited to be able to do that this year.”

The boat rides not only offer exclusive company with Santa for the whole family, but also some hot cocoa and amazing views of the lights along the river. Pricing starts at $6 per person and $3 for kids three and under. The boat rides are offered every Friday and Saturday through December 16 beginning at 5 p.m. and last about 30 minutes.

Alamosa Light Parade and Rudolph Round-Up 5k

The Alamosa Round-Up is one of the premier events in the San Luis Valley. The rodeo, however doesn’t led itself to winter weather - particularly not Alamosa’s winter weather, so this year the Round-Up has teamed up with San Luis Valley Sports and Wellness to create an event that caters to another of Colorado’s outdoor traditions: running.

The inaugural Rudolph Round Up 5k will take place at Cole Park at 3 p.m. on December 23rd. The new event will run in conjunction with the 7th Annual Alamosa Christmas Light Parade in downtown Alamosa. “We are always looking for new ways to involve our community and spread Christmas joy,” said Dawn Honeycutt of the Alamosa Round-Up.

“The course will be flat with beautiful views of the mighty Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range including Mount Blanca,” added Brittany Johnson, event coordinator and fitness guru at San Luis Valley Sports and Wellness. “The course will be flat with beautiful views of the mighty Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range including Mount Blanca.”Those not interested in running or looking their best are encouraged to deck the halls and themselves in ugly sweaters, elf costumes, jingle bells and, if the shoe fits, Santa gear.

Online registration for the 5k remains open until December 22 through Registration for all participants is $30.

The top finishers will receive prizes and both the male and female winners of the race will be featured on the SLV Sports and Wellness float during the parade. Age group awards include free gym memberships to SLV Sports and Wellness, gift certificates to local restaurants and other fun, festive prizes. ElectriCritters

One of Pueblo’s most popular holiday traditions is the ElectriCritters event at the Pueblo Zoo. For 25 years the zoo has let itself go up in electric flames with 150 critter creations brought to life through 250,000 lights.

With with the first half of the school year coming to a close, the zoo will extend ElectriCritter’s days of operation starting this Friday and running through December 30 (the event will not be open December 24 or 25).

The event begins nightly at 5:30 p.m. until doors close at 8:30 p.m. Tickets must be purchased before event hours. Non-member tickets are $6 for adults (13 years of age and older), $4 for children. Member tickets are $4 for adults, $3 for children. Patrons who purchase tickets during event hours, will pay an additional $1. Children 3 and under enter free.





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