What should you do when the temperature drops to zero on a Saturday evening? If it happens to be the first Saturday in December, the answer is eat cookies, drink Glüwein and watch lit-up floats.
The 9 News Parde of Lights runs the first weekend in December, and has done so for 39 years. The parade features marching bands festooned in strings of lights, a visit by both Santa Claus and parade mascot Major Waddles the Penguin, and floats lit up like, well, the proverbial Christmas tree. The parade starts in front of the beautifully lit-up City and County Building, makes a circuit around LoDo, and ends at 14th and Glenarm.
Alumni of the University of Colorado at Denver get invited to a pre-party every year. The pre-party includes cookies and hot cocoa generously provided by the Corner Bakery. Alums also get the chance to keep warm in the UCD Business building right up until parade time.
Temperatures drop, though, as the sun goes down – a necessary backdrop for the Parade of Lights. Those in the know travel the block to the German Christkindl Market in Skyline Park.
While it's true the Christkindl Market features Old World charm in the form of beautiful Christmas ornaments and handcrafted novelties, on a cold winter's night it's the heated tent that draws visitors. A huge tent is set up on one side of the park. Inside is a semi-authentic recreation of German Christmas complete with straw on the floor, trench tables, and Lederhosen and Dirndls galore. Oh, and delicious, hot spiced wine, Glüwein, by the cup-full.
Never mind Black Friday. The Parade of Lights as Christkindl Market mark the true beginning of the Holiday season.