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The Broomfielder

Mayor to Welcome the Holiday Season at Tree Lighting Dec. 7

Dec 03, 2018 03:03AM

By Kristen Beckman

On December 7, the George DiCiero City and County Building and the surrounding park will be transformed into a winter wonderland, with festive lights adorning trees, holiday carols and music filling the air, and Santa himself making a special visit from the North Pole. Behind the scenes working to make this magical evening come to life each year are several of Broomfield’s City and County departments, dozens of staff who spend hours planning, and local citizens and groups who bring sweet treats and their musical talents to make the evening special.

Planning for the event begins each year as soon as crews finish taking down the lights and decorations from the previous holiday season. Actual decorating begins in October with pre-checks, and installations begin the first week of November so that all displays are ready by Thanksgiving. It takes approximately 2,000 man-hours to install and take down more than 1,950 strands of lights across all of the city’s holiday displays, and crews use three aerial lifts and one scissor lift to accomplish their tasks. In addition to the City and County Building and park display, other displays can be found at the Paul Derda Recreation Center, The Brunner Farmhouse, and Midway Park. The mayor’s tree is a 25-foot Blue Spruce decorated with 85 strings of lights and more than 40 extra-large ornaments.

While the weather is still warm in August, Kay Gazaway, Community Events Coordinator for the City and County of Broomfield, begins to work with local schools, churches, and other groups to plan music for the Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony. Gazaway also reaches out to Santa during the summer when he’s on vacation to secure time in his schedule for him to visit Broomfield in December.

Gazaway said many city and county teams make the event happen, including the Recreation team, which coordinates the event; the Parks Department, which puts up lights and runs hayrides; the Street Services department, which manages traffic, parking, and street closures; the Fire Department, which helps transport Santa; the Police Department, which ensures everyone stays safe; the City Manager; and the Mayor and the City Council, which will sing at the event.

In the weeks leading up to the event, as local musicians rehearse and the final touches are put on the light displays, Christy Reed, owner of The Book Tree Bakery, starts accumulating the ingredients she needs to bake sugar cookies for attendees. Reed said she’ll need approximately 15 pounds of butter, 13 pounds of sugar, 2.5 dozen eggs, 15.5 pounds of flour, a cup of pure vanilla extract and 4-5 pounds of sparkling sugar to make one large cookie each for 550 people. Reed hand rolls each cookie and bakes them fresh the morning of the event.

The day of the event, the North Metro Fire Department will be dispatched to pick up Santa and deliver him to Broomfield. At 6:00 p.m., between 500 and 700 people will gather with the mayor, who will count down to zero and light the tree with a magic button, said Gazaway. 

Groups scheduled to play music or sing at the event include a Suzuki violin group, the Broomfield Civic Chorus, the Mountain View Elementary Sign Language Choir, and a choir from Coyote Ridge Elementary. Children will be able to meet with Santa to tell him their wishes and get a candy cane. Parents can take pictures of their child with Santa, and Santa will stay until everyone who wants to see him has a chance.

In addition, two wagons will provide hayrides through the property to see the lighted trees while riders sing carols or listen to music. Reed will be on hand with free cookies as well as other sweet treats that attendees can purchase, including Christmas tree brownies, cut-out cookies, and winter macaroons.

“This event helps our community begin the Holiday festivities,” said Mayor Randy Ahrens, who offered an opportunity for children to help. “Every year, I select a couple eager children to help with the tree lighting, so come listen to our council perform a few carols, and perhaps you’ll get the opportunity to participate in bringing in the season.”

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Other Festivities:

Broomfield offers several other opportunities to get into the holiday spirit, including the Barefoot Movement Holiday Show, a Parent’s Night Out perfectly timed to allow parents to get last-minute holiday shopping finished, and a chance for kids to get a personal phone call from Santa. Visit for more information.