Vail Today: Annual Vail tree lighting kicks off the holidays (video) |

Vail Today: Annual Vail tree lighting kicks off the holidays (video)

Vail has been busy decking the halls with holiday cheer, but in addition to decking the halls, they have been decking out the roundabouts, lampposts, covered bridge and more to get everyone in the holiday spirit. Did you know that Vail has over 50 miles of seasonal lights, 3 miles of garland and over 400 wreaths? But as of 5 p.m. on December 17, there was still one thing missing – a special tree filled with colorful lights.

For over 50 years, Vail has kicked off the busy holiday season with their annual tree lighting ceremony. This family friendly event offers holiday music, complimentary hot chocolate and cookie decorating and a visit from jolly old St. Nick, who swoops in during this busy time of year to flip the switch on the holiday tree.

The evening began with the lighting of the menorah followed by the Vail & Eagle Children’s Chorale who sang whimsical tunes like “North Pole Exposure” and “I want to go to Hawaii”. Mayor Dave Chapin welcomed and thanked everyone for coming over the years. “The Vail Tree lighting has been going on for over 50 years. I recognize parents who are now grandparents and are sharing this tradition with the next generation,” Chapin said.

The music continued with the Battle Mountain High School Choir singing “Carol of the Bells” followed by special messages for the season from Father Brooks Keith and Rabbi Joel Newman.

Terry Armistead and Joe Bianchi of Turntable Review sang a beautiful duet, “Baby, it’s Cold Outside” before bringing up their kids to help them sing, “When Christmas Comes to Town”. The sound of sleigh bells filled the air and soon Santa and Ralph, the World’s Largest Elf, made their way up on stage to help flip the switch and light the tree.

The countdown began and as the crowd shouted “3…2…1!” the colorful lights filled the dark night sky and the crowd broke out into applause and cheers.

The Vail Tree Lighting ceremony is just one of many events happening to help folks enjoy the holiday season. For a list of more activities, please visit

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