Chelsea Rosty

I’m pretty sure it was July just last week, but the turkey thawing in my refrigerator is indicating November instead. Ready or not, the holidays are here. From tomorrow until Christmas Day, Montrose becomes a pretty magical place.

When experiencing a place, people always seek to do as the locals would. This holiday season, be sure you join in all our local traditions:

1. The Turkey Trot: Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day. Hosted by San Juan Mountain Runners is 2-mile and 4-mile courses which begin at Oak Grove School. Registration is $5 per person or $15 per family. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and races start at 9 a.m. (no online registration). This one’s for the pumpkin pie and stuffing (and seconds and thirds…). Visit with your neighbors, burn some calories, take home a prize, burn some calories, have fun, burn some calories, complain about your visiting mother-in-law, burn some calories, see running friends you haven’t seen since last year’s Turkey Trot, burn some calories … Turkey costumes encouraged and applauded.

This year a percentage of the proceeds will go to the Oak Grove Elementary Playground Improvement Fund for the much needed upgrading of their playground.

2. Community Thanksgiving Dinner: Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, noon to 3 p.m. at Friendship Hall (1001 N. Second St.). Come one, come all. The Montrose Community Thanksgiving is a free event open to residents and guests to Montrose. Break bread with your friends and neighbors in a welcoming community setting. A group of volunteers has been committed to providing Thanksgiving meals to locals and visitors of Montrose for 24 years. They also deliver. Call 970-318-6759 or visit www.montrosecommunitydinner.com to arrange for your delivery.

3. The Annual Tree Lighting: Friday, Nov. 23. One of our oldest (and brightest) Montrose traditions … Join the City of Montrose for the tree lighting event at the Historic Montrose County Courthouse (320 First St.). The fun begins with an Illuminate Walk Downtown (new this year). You can expect an illuminated Main Street from the light of beautiful luminarias beginning at 4:30 p.m. Walk from Main Street to the tree for fantastic festivities at the tree lighting beginning at 5:30 p.m. Make sure you follow that up with a visit to Santa’s Cabin.

Little ones in the family? Join the library for a 30-minute kids program at the library starting at 4:30 p.m. with stories, songs and crafts.

4. Santa’s Cabin: We just got confirmation that Santa will be arriving in Montrose on Friday. He cannot wait to visit with all our rosy cheeked kiddos. The magic of Christmas will come alive at Santa’s Cabin where you can expect a jolly visit with Santa and a free photo:

• Uncompahgre Events Plaza

514 S. First St. (next to Straw Hat)

Nov. 23, Dec. 8, 15, 16, 22, 23

4 - 6 p.m. (all dates)

• Timberline Bank

1561 Oxbow Drive

Dec. 14 and 21

4 - 6 p.m. (both dates)

5. Montrose Bucks Sale: Saturday, Nov. 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Once a year, the City of Montrose presents Montrose Holiday Bucks to encourage the community to shop locally. Bucks are like a gift certificate that is redeemable with any Montrose merchant. Head down to the visitor center (107 S. Cascade Ave.) and purchase $120 Montrose Bucks for $100! After Nov. 24, bucks will be on sale during normal business hours until they sell out.

(Cash only while supplies last. Must be 18 and older. Limit $200 per household.)

6. Small Business Saturday: Saturday, Nov. 24. Black Friday is so 1999; long lines and stampede crowds? No thank you! Save your shopping energy for Saturday where you can stroll our historic and beautiful Main Street for all the hottest deals. Our local retailers will have their finest retail red carpets out welcoming you to a customer centric shopping experience. Added bonus: Pick up your Montrose Bucks at 10 a.m. and then walk right down to Main Street before they burn a hole in your pocket.

7. The Parade of Lights: Saturday, Dec. 1, 5:30 p.m. Join the community as Montrose “Illuminates the Night” in the annual Parade of Lights. The parade begins at 5:30, but be sure to come early to get the best spots on Main Street. Dress warm and be on the lookout for local businesses who may have hot chocolate and cider to keep you warm! To register a float, please visit CityOfMontrose.org/Holidays. See you there.

8. Montrose Botanic Garden of Lights: Weekend nights beginning Dec. 15, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Horse-drawn carriage rides, Santa and storytellers, hot drinks, live music, winter story walk, illuminated garden paths and displays. The garden is located just south of the Montrose Pavilion at 1800 Pavilion Drive.

Tickets available at Camelot Gardens, Fabula and at the Gate.

There will be no shortage of bright lights, cozy nights, and the holiday spirit this year. We at the City of Montrose invite you to experience your community with childlike wonder and joy. Happy holidays!

Chelsea Rosty is the director of business innovation for the City of Montrose.

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