Weekend activities around Denver and beyond: | Arts and entertainment


One million holiday lights fill the 16 blocks Cherry Creek North Winter Wanderland after a plug-in event, 16:30-19:00 Thursday. It is also the site of the Holiday Market at Fillmore Plaza. Forty rotating vendors and a pop-up Mistletoe Lounge gathering place with a bar, live music and interactive holiday crafts and activities. Innovative Giving Machines are donation machines for five Denver-area charities and two international charities. 300 merchants. Special themed Saturdays in December. cherrycreekholidaymarket.com


Opening weekend for holiday lights, thousands of them, in Loveland. Downtown Thursday, the Light party at 17.00 tree lighting, holiday market, carriage rides and much more. Also on Thursdays Loveland Light Trail self-guided tour goes through all the city’s light displays, including a new 12 Days of Christmas in Veteran’s Memorial Park, visible from State Highway 34, 5 to 9 pm daily. Map at Loveland Visitor’s Center and visitloveland.com. Loveland Winter Wonderlights, with 200,000 choreographed lights amidst the stone sculptures of the Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra, it begins LIVE! the festivities on Friday at 17.00, continues on December 2 and December 16. A variety of entertainment options including a Big Band orchestra, dance groups, food trucks and singers. Schedule at WinterWonderlightsLoveland.com. Nightly Wonderlights until and including January 1.


The lighting ceremony for Mile high tree is 5:15 p.m. Friday at Civic Center Park. Then it can be seen from 17:00-22:00 at night through a 21:00 New Year’s Eve ball game. The cone-shaped tree consists of 60,000 LED lights and is seven stories high and programmed with music shows every 15 minutes. denver.org/milehighholidays/mile-high-tree

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Also opens Friday at Civic Center Park, the 23rd annual Christkindlmarked German-style market with decorated wooden cabins filled with Bavarian and European gifts, food and drinks accompanied by holiday entertainment. Local and German suppliers. Visit with St. Nicholas, Krampus and Christkind. Through Dec. 22. christkindlmarketdenver.com


A rare opportunity to visit five historic Park Hill homes during The L’Esprit de Noël holiday house tour10.00 to 16.00 Friday and Saturday. Interior design by well-known flower and table designers. Organized by the Central City Opera Guild to benefit Central City Opera. Tickets ($50+) and information at lepritdenoel.org, centralcityopera.org/tickets-events


Fun for the family, The Hip Hop Nutcracker combines the Tchaikovsky holiday classic and hip-hop dance and music. A dozen dancers, a DJ, a violinist and hip-hop legend MC Kurtis Blow. Buell Theatre, DCPA, $30-$85. denvercenter.org

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Flowers of light, a signature event at the Denver Botanic Gardens, opens at 1007 York St. in a sparkling way. Lights, all LED, throughout the garden, 16:30-21:00 in the evening. Timed tickets in advance, $21-$25. botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/blossoms-light


Two million drive-through lights make up the holiday The magic of light at Pikes Peak International Raceway, 16650 Midway Ranch Road, Fountain. See everything from Barbie to the Bigfoot Monster Truck, the light tunnel and a walking village. Prices per vehicle online $22-27, at gate $30-40. 17.30 in the evening. tickets.magicoflights.com


The spectacular Royal Gorge Bridge will be a drive-through Bridge of Light for the first time. A rare opportunity to drive over the suspension bridge for a fantastic view, at 5.30pm $45/car at gate; $40/car online. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Hot chocolate and cookies for purchase. royalgorgebridge.com/bridge-of-lights

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ICE! – “A Christmas Story,” created by 40 ice sculptures from Harbin, China, is the holiday spectacular at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, Aurora. Tickets from $29.99, $19.99 for children. christmasatgaylordrockies.marriott.com.


A long-standing tradition, lighting of Castle Rock Star. Fun all afternoon from 14 in the center with carols, ice skating, an activity zone for children, food, a chili super at Ildhuset and then the star lighting ceremony at 17 followed by fireworks. The star atop Castle Rock was first lit for the holiday in 1936. castlerock.org/castle-rock-starlighting


Run and it’s all about food. That Mac & Cheese 5K Pass through Hudson Gardens, mac and cheese clothing encouraged. Costume contest and cash prizes. 10 a.m. to noon, $40. macnnoodles.com/macncheese5k In City Park it is Pumpkin Pie 5K and 10K and a slice of pumpkin pie awaits at the finish line. 9-11 a.m., $30-$35, coloradorunnerevents.com/pumpkin