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Outside fun during the holidays

By Patte Smith

Horse-drawn carriage rides will take families and friends on an old-fashioned jaunt around the Schweiger Ranch Austrian Christmas Festival & Christkindl Market on Saturday, December 7 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Kids get to visit with Santa and his reindeer, make crafts and have their faces painted, while adults can attend a wreath-making workshop.

The market will feature local handcrafted items – great for holiday gift giving. Carolers will be strolling throughout the festival singing Christmas favorites, and there will be a performance by the Legendary Ladies: Unconventional Women of the West. Enjoy Austrian food, hot chocolate, and cider while listening to a traditional Austrian band. As the day winds down, the ranch’s array of holiday lights will add to the holiday spirit. For more information, visit

Grab lawn chairs and blankets, dress warm and head to Festival Park in Castle Rock with the kids on Saturday, December 7 for Storytellers and S’mores. Holiday favorites will be told by storytellers and include Buddy the elf, characters from the Disney movie “Frozen” and members from the Castle Rock fire and police departments. Kids will roast marshmallows for s’mores, drink hot chocolate and enjoy the lights and joy of the holiday season. For more information, visit

The Winter Express train will take passengers on a one-mile, winter-themed wonderland ride along paved trails around the Millhouse and Amphitheater at Philip S. Miller Park on Friday, December 13 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Kids and families will enjoy the live reindeer, Santa, s’mores, hot chocolate, sleigh rides, outdoor games and an obstacle course. For more information, visit

The Parker Christmas Carriage Parade exudes the hometown feel of the holidays. A tradition for years in Parker, the all equestrian parade features dozens of dressed up horse-drawn carriages, wagons, surreys and stagecoaches from across Colorado. The event will be held on Saturday, December 14 from noon to 3 p.m. and the parade begins at noon. There will be local crafts and plenty of food. For more information, visit

For those who like to head downtown to see the lights and enjoy a festival, shop for gifts, ice skate and wander, the free Denver Christkindl Market will be a hit. Held until December 23 at 1515 Arapahoe Street and 16th Street Mall, the event features a European Christmas village, with wooden vendor huts, twinkling lights, festival music, and an authentic German Bier Hall.

For more information, visit



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