Navigating the holidays in Eagle County |

Navigating the holidays in Eagle County

Sarah Mausolf & Caramie SchnellVail CO, Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado Vail is a great place to party during the holidays and not just because the valleys prolific snowfall promises that coveted white Christmas. Santa will make several appearances this year, including one on ice skates. Vails annual tree-lighting ceremony will adhere to tradition while a free Mexican-style dinner in Minturn will improvise on it. Browse the list below for a sampling of holiday events.

Living Nativity, Eagle River Presbyterian Church, 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The event is free. Call 748-0040.As a child growing up in Baltimore, Maryland local resident Chip Howard belonged to a Boy Scout troop that put on a living nativity scene, complete with live animals, each year. It was a good message and I wanted to start a tradition out here, Howard said. This year is the second year that Eagle River Presbyterian Church in Avon is hosting a living nativity scene, complete with miniature donkeys, horses, a goat and maybe even a pig and a cow. If all works out, it will be very cool, Howard said. Its a tradition thats fallen out of vogue but it seems to be coming back among Christian churches in recent years, said the churchs pastor, Rob Wilson. Along with the living nativity scene, children can enjoy arts and crafts and refreshments will be served. A Christmas dinner is open to everyone immediately following the event.

Pat Hamilton-Peter Vavra Holiday Concert, Beaver Creek Chapel, 7 p.m. tonight. Tickets are $20 at the door. Call 926-3704.Pat Hamilton and Peter Vavra are teaming up for the 18th year to provide a holiday concert to benefit the Vail Valley Salvation Army. Expect good old-fashioned carols like Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, along with Hamiltons original compositions. The concert is magical and a great way to see friends and share holiday music in a special setting. It allows you to take a deep breath and focus on the beauty of the season, said Tsu Wolin Brown, director of The Vail Valley Salvation Army. Santa appearance, near the ice rink, 3 to 6 p.m. today through Monday, Dec. 24.Santa Claus and his elves will greet children at the Beaver Creek plaza.

Tree lighting, Slifer Plaza by the Covered Bridge, 6 p.m. tonight. Call 477-3699.For decades, Vail has been celebrating the holidays with a tree-lighting ceremony in the heart of the village. Its a nice holiday event people can stop at and then go on to dinner or aprs ski, said Laurie Asmussen, owner of Eagle Valley Events, the company organizing the event. Just kind of a festive atmosphere.The event kicks off with a free caroling performance at the Lionshead Mall from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Afterward, the mayor, Santa Claus, a fire truck and floats will proceed from Lionshead to Slifer Plaza. Music will accompany the 6 p.m. tree-lighting. A brass band, carolers and a girls choir will perform. A singer will also perform a traditional Jewish tune during the lighting of a menorah. Along with music, an ice sculpture and free hot chocolate from Starbucks will greet visitors. Sponsored by the town of Vail, the tree-lighting typically attracts about 600 people, Asmussen said. Skating with Santa, Dobson Ice Arena, 5 to 6:45 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Call 479-2271.Children will have an opportunity to ice skate with Santa. Arena manager Jared Biniecki said he hopes to draw 100 people to the event each day. I would imagine it would be fun, enjoyable, he said. Its not your typical visit with Santa. Adults pay $6 to skate; children 5 to 12 pay $5; children 4 and under pay $2. Skate rentals cost $3. Matzah Ball Party, The Tap Room, 9 p.m. to close on Monday. No cover charge. Call 476-7887 or visit poster for Vails annual Matzah Ball Party says it all Come say Lchaim and Schmooze with Jews from Vail and around the world.This is the first year for the event, said Rabbi Dovid Mintz of Jewish Resource Center Habad and the event organizer. There will be many more (Balls) to come, so that the Vail Valley will have a Matzah Ball like they have around the other big cities (like New York and Chicago), Mintz said. Everyone is on vacation and its the perfect time to get together. Everyone enjoys a good drink and might as well get everyone together in one place.You dont have to be Jewish to come either, Mintz said. Come and be prepared for a good time and meet friends from all over the world. Ice: A Musical Journey, Dobson Ice Arena, 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Dec. 28. Call 479-2271.Similar to a dance recital but on ice this skating performance follows the evolution of music over time. Children will skate to tunes from The Beetles and Michael Jackson. Tickets are $10 for adults 13 and older; $5 for children and $25 total for two adults and two children.

Free Mexican dinner, Turntable Restaurant, 4 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday. Call 827-4164.Visitors to the Turntable will experience a free Mexican feast. Enchiladas, tacos, burritos, Spanish rice, tamales and ham are among the offerings at the Feliz Navidad dinner. The restaurant has been hosting the free Christmas dinner for about five years. Everybodys welcome, owner Darla Goodell said. You dont have to be needy. You can maybe be in need of company.

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