Town of Gypsum hosts annual Home for the Holidays celebration, Dec. 10 | VailDaily.com

Town of Gypsum hosts annual Home for the Holidays celebration, Dec. 10

There's no place like Gypsum for the holidays.

All are welcome to check out the community's Christmas celebration on Saturday, and the festivities have already begun around town, as residents string up lights and haul out decorations for the annual Gypsum Holiday Lighting Contest.

"The general public is the contest judge," said Krista DeHerrera, Gypsum special events coordinator. "As people drive around and see cool displays, we ask them to snap a photo and put it on our Facebook pages. The photo with the most 'likes' wins, and the winners will be announced at the Home for the Holidays event."

The contest is sponsored by Holy Cross Energy, and the company is giving a $175 electricity credit to the winning homeowner. The runner-up display will earn its owner a $100 credit, and the finalists from seven different neighborhoods in town will each receive a $75 credit.

Additionally, Holy Cross is teaming with the town to encourage residents to get rid of their old incandescent holiday lights. The Gypsum Community Development Department is a recycling collection center for old lights, and anyone who brings in strands will receive a $2 credit on his or her electric bill.

"Get rid of all of those old, nasty lights and get some LED lights," DeHerrera said. "The recycling program will continue through Jan. 15."

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Holy Cross will also have a booth display during the Home for the Holidays celebration to collect incandescent light strings and to provide energy-saving tips as we head into the cold winter months.

Santa Claus is coming to town

Festivities on Saturday will begin with an open house at the Gypsum Recreation Center from 3 to 5 p.m. Admission will be free, and a number of holiday activities are planned.

Santa will arrive by fire truck at 5 p.m. to the Gypsum Public Library, where he will preside over a special community tree-lighting. After the tree-lighting, Santa will be stationed at a special tent to hear kids' Christmas requests.

Santa is bringing a number of live reindeer to Home for the Holidays. The animals will be on display outside the library. Inside the library, cookies, crafts and cocoa are planned.

The Eagle Valley High School Jazz Band and Choir will perform at a special stage set up at the park picnic shelter. While listening to the music, spectators can warm up at fire pits and heaters set up in the vicinity. Or, they can warm up from the inside out by tasting competitors at the town's chili cookoff.

Anyone interested in entering the cookoff should bring a crockpot full of chili, and the town will provide tasting cups. The crowd will select the winner, who will receive $200 cash and a hand-carved spoon fashioned by local woodworker Mort Thomas. The second-place winner will receive $100 cash, and third place will take home $50.

The chili cookoff winners, as well as the winners of the holiday lighting contest, will be announced following the Eagle Valley High School performances, at approximately 7:30 p.m.

If you go …

What: Home for the Holidays celebration.

When: 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10.

Where: Town Hall Park, 46 Lundgren Blvd., Gypsum.

Cost: Free.

More information: Event includes a visit from Santa, live reindeer, treats, crafts, music and a chili cookoff are planned. Visit http://www.townofgypsum.com.