Residents wanting to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus on Friday night in downtown Durango may want to bring an umbrella.
Weather models show a chance of showers from noon through Friday evening, said Tom Renwick, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. It is possible temperatures will dip low enough to allow for snow, he said.
Regardless, only one-tenth to two-tenths of an inch of moisture is expected to fall during a three-hour period, Renwick said.
Singing with Santa festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. at Buckley Park, when hot chocolate will be served and the Durango Choral Society will sing Christmas carols.
The man in red will arrive promptly at 6 p.m. atop a huge ladder truck belonging to the Durango Fire Protection District.
A couple more Christmas carols will be sung as Santa makes his way down the fire truck, greets children and makes his way to the stage.
A countdown will commence at 6:15 p.m., culminating with the lighting of the Community Tree, said Tim Walsworth, executive director of the Business Improvement District.
“It really is pretty magical,” Walsworth said. “ … We bring in a bunch of lights, we make the city stage look the best it ever looks because we decorate the heck out of it, and then you turn that tree on and it's an awesome scene there in that park in the heart of downtown.”
After the lighting of the tree, children will have a chance to get their pictures taken with Santa. Walsworth said parents should be prepared to use their own camera or cellphone to snap photos.
It is unknown exactly how long Singing with Santa has been happening in Durango, but Walsworth said the tradition is at least three decades old. This is the 11th year Walsworth and the BID have organized it.
The event typically draws about 1,000 people.
“It gets a little crowded, but that’s good because it’s going to be cold,” Walsworth said.
If the weather is too nasty due to rain or snow, it will be moved indoors, he said. Residents should check singingwithsanta.org to find out if it will be moved indoors and where the indoor venue will be located, he said.
As part of Singing with Santa, the BID tries to incentivize shopping and dining on Black Friday in downtown Durango. To do so, the BID is hosting a gift card drawing.
Anyone who shops Friday at a retail or food and beverage business in downtown Durango or on north Main Avenue can turn in their receipts and be entered into the drawing. Details on submitting receipts for the drawing can be found online at singingwithsanta.org. The BID will give away $1,000 in gift cards.
The BID will also host a scavenger hunt for children. The idea is that all of Santa’s reindeer have escaped, and families must find them hiding at nine locations in downtown Durango.
In this case, the “reindeer” are stuffed animals that look like reindeer.
Families can pick up clue cards at the Durango Welcome Center or print them from the Singing with Santa website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.
The first 50 people to bring a completed card to the event will win a free Singing with Santa hot chocolate mug. The BID requires only six of the nine locations to be identified.