No place like Denver for the holidays

As the holidays approach, Denverites, organizations talk about tradition

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The holidays are fast approaching, and that means some of Denver’s most popular traditions once again will offer fun, wholesome entertainment for the family.

The 9News Parade of Lights goes through downtown on the nights of Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7.

“The event itself kicks off the holidays in Denver. People talk about how they grew up with the Parade of Lights, going with their parents,” said Kaylin Klaren, senior manager of public events for Downtown Denver, which manages the parade. “For many families, this might be the only holiday tradition they can participate in because of expenses.”

The parade will have 12 floats this year, having added “Home for the Holidays,” which is sponsored by American Furniture Warehouse. Founder Jake Jabs, with a stuffed tiger, will ride the float.

Once again, the Secret Society of the Clown Brigade, now in its 11th year, will join the parade and feature a roster of Denver business leaders who dress up as clowns and perform. Their identities are a closely guarded secret.

The 9News team of Tom Green and Kim Christensen will broadcast the parade, which will draw a combined 500,000 people for the two nights.

And, this is year 59 for the Colorado Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” which will put on more than two dozen performances between Nov. 30 and Dec. 29 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The Nutcracker performances usually sell out and will draw a total of about 55,000 people during its run.

“It’s a family tradition,” said Gil Boggs, artistic director. “People have been bringing their kids, then they grow up and have children and they continue to come. One of the draws is that we have a full orchestra playing the music live.”

Don’t be surprised to see a few modern popular culture references. The 2018 show included moves from the Fortnight video game as well as the Floss and Sprinkler dances. “The audience was howling,” Boggs said.

Elsewhere, the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center has holiday-related events, which honor traditions of helping one’s neighbor on the calendar:

• Working with High Point Creamery, the Jewish Community Center will create a Hanukkah ice cream favor named “Bob’s babka.” It’s named for Robert E. Loup, namesake of the center building and a donor to the nonprofit. The ice cream is an olive oil ice cream base with homemade chocolate babka mixed in. Ice cream pint sales are scheduled for Dec. 9-23 in the lobby, and proceeds will support the Jewish Community Center’s programs and scholarships.

• The center will host a canned food drive from Dec. 2 to 18, and asks people to bring nonperishable items and toiletries to its location at 350 S. Dahlia St. The Isabella Bird Community School will distribute the items through its Backpack Food Program and Pantry, which helps kids and families.

• The nonprofit will host a Menorah Making Chanukah Party from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Dec. 22. Guests will be able to make their own menorahs with items found around the Jewish Community Center, plus play dreidel and eat chocolate gelt. it’s free for adults, and a $5 donation is suggested for each child.

We asked Denver Facebook members to tell us about their favorite holiday traditions. Here’s a sampling:

• “Cousin party on Christmas Eve — it’s been going on since before I was born. I have three first cousins and their families (and their families’ families!) and we rotate houses, and have a big potluck dinner and small gift exchange.” — Lisa Cutter

• “At Thanksgiving dinner we always bow our heads and give thanks for the poor unfortunate bird that sacrificed so much just so we could have something to go with our mashed potatoes.” — Gary Neher

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