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Visit Durango launches new holiday events program

Tourism office lends helping hand to organizations planning wintertime festivities
Reindeer are part of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad’s Polar Express annual holiday ride service started on Friday and will continue through Jan. 1. It’s included in Visit Durango’s new events program called the Annual Holiday Station Celebration, a roundup of events from now through the end of the year. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Visit Durango, the primary area tourism office, is introducing a new format for its yearly holiday festivities called the Annual Holiday Station Celebration, which includes events such as the celebrated Singing With Santa at Buckley Park held Friday.

The program is Visit Durango’s second new program launched this year. Spoketober, a cycling-themed collection of events through October, was the tourism office’s first new program this year and saw great success, said Rachel Welsh, spokeswoman for Visit Durango.

During Spoketober, Visit Durango partnered with Scott Bicycles for a three-day charity event called Share the Love Cycle at Buckley Park. People were invited to donate bikes and bike parts, which were then donated to the Navajo Nation, she said. In all, 80 bikes were gathered and donated.

“That was just so cool,” she said. “That blew us away and we did a big group ride from The Fort down to Buckley Park to kind of kick off the event, and that was really cool.”

She said the first Holiday Station Celebration is meant to lend a helping hand to businesses and organizations that want to host holiday events and have a strong turnout by creating a “united front” to showcase local goings on and the mixture of various cultures in Durango.

“Durango’s already so special during the holidays, this just kind of helps amplify that and allows more people to participate than previous years,” she said.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad’s Polar Express annual holiday ride service started on Friday and will continue through Jan. 1. The Polar Express is tourism office Visit Durango’s new events program called the Annual Holiday Station Celebration, which is designed to aid local businesses and organizations in creating and promoting their holiday plans and business deals (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Durango Trails, for example, is hosting an Ugly Christmas Sweater Fat Bike Ride on Dec. 17 that consists of a group ride through La Plata Canyon. Welsh said Durango Trails doesn’t often host fat bike rides and the new program is a way to spread the word about the planned activity.

“Fat biking is a cool recreational activity that doesn’t usually get a lot of love,” she said. “(We’re) just working with them to create the event and giving them support.”

Welsh said people often find organizing and hosting holiday activities to be a daunting task. Visit Durango is offering marketing consultations to show prospective event organizers the ropes, tips and tricks of social media marketing to strengthen organizations’ reach and make Durango holiday celebrations the best they can be.

She said it’s too late to get onto printed calendar materials, but printouts include QR codes that link back to Visit Durango’s website where events are listed in full, so organizations can still submit their holiday festivities and business deals and special offerings.

Welsh said Visit Durango wants the holiday station to become a new local tradition.

Some other events in the Annual Holiday Station Celebration roundup include the Polar Express Train, which started on Friday and will continue through Jan. 1; Noel Night on Dec. 2; and the New Year’s Eve Celebration Torchlight Parade & Fireworks on Dec. 31.

The full events calendar can be found at Visit Durango’s website at https://bit.ly/3OvBDrG

cburney@durangoherald.com

Sleigh riding unfolds at Bears Ranch. Visit Durango’s new events program called the Annual Holiday Station Celebration is a roundup of events from now through the end of the year. (Courtesy of Visit Durango)