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For better or worse, Mr. Heat Miser has had Colorado in his grip for the past several weeks. Thus, the first weekend of the Georgetown Christmas Market felt more like Christmas in July.
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Thousands of people gathered in downtown Georgetown Saturday and Sunday as the 61st annual Christmas Market returned. Last year’s was canceled amid COVID-19 restrictions.
This weekend, people partook in all their favorite Christmas Market things — the Santa Lucia procession, wagon rides, carols, festive garb and decorations, seasonal treats and more.
“It feels like Christmas,” Barbara Backlin said of the event.
Mother Nature, though, didn’t get the memo. On Saturday, temperatures hit the mid-50s, the sun shone out of a clear blue sky, and the wind blew dust instead of snow.
Longtime attendees and Georgetown community members said Saturday’s crowds were probably the best in recent years, likely because of the warm weather.
Barbara and Mel Backlin, who live in Highlands Ranch and have frequented the market for 10-15 years, described how the weather is always cold and windy. This was the warmest one they could remember.
Georgetown’s Jan Shirlaw, who was helping Loaves & Fishes sell roasted chestnuts, believed the larger crowds were not only because of the weather, but because people have been cooped up and wanted to do something Christmas-y.
Idaho Springs’ Randy Wright, who was roasting chestnuts on a covered grill, said people will come regardless of weather, because it’s a holiday tradition for them.
Selling the roasted chestnuts, which are donated, is Loaves & Fishes’ main fundraiser. It typically brings in about $5,000 each year, so not having a Christmas Market to fundraise at last year was hard, Shirlaw described.
She added how she was elated to see a larger crowd again, saying, “This is the market of old.”
Georgetown’s Veronica and Les Maes, who own Sweet Easy, said the hope of Christmas Market was one thing that kept them going last year, as everything else was shutdown and canceled. Veronica hoped that, because the event is primarily outside, it would still happen.
“On top of everything else, not having this tradition, it was heartbreaking,” Veronica said.
Les and Veronica were both ecstatic and overjoyed to see it return Saturday, with Les commenting, “It’s such an important part of the town.”
“I’m so excited for the town, for the tradition and the kids,” Veronica added.
Tracy Troia and her mom, Terry, said the market is a great kickoff to the holiday season. There’s holiday cheer in the air on those December weekends, and they love how the community comes together and participates every year.
The Troias, both of whom live in Georgetown, described how they love seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces, the different vendors and the Santa Lucia procession. Having the market return for 2021 emphasized “the normality of the season,” as Tracy described it.
While the warmer weather was an anomaly, the Backlins enjoyed returning to Georgetown for the holiday event. They’ve bought several items from Shoppe Internationale over the years and used to collect the annual Christmas Market posters before they were discontinued, Mel explained.
The Backlins intend to return every year because, as Barbara said, “It’s part of our Christmas.”
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