Chamber seeks parade participants/attendees
The nationally broadcast morning news show Good Morning America is coming to Crested Butte this weekend to film a special holiday segment.
A film crew will be in town on Saturday, December 8 for the annual Christmas tree lighting, also known as the town’s Light Up Night. The Crested Butte /Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce is looking for parade participants and encourages everyone to come out and join the fun.
ABC’s Good Morning America airs special interest holiday segments every year. "It’s part of their coverage of holiday festivities all over the country," Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce director Christi Matthews says. Last year Good Morning America focused on the Christmas lighting festivities in Breckenridge, but this year it’s Crested Butte’s turn, she says.
Hosted by Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts, the ABC morning show features news and weather coverage, discussion, interviews and special interest segments.
Good Morning America producers contacted the local chamber of commerce on Thursday, November 29. Matthews says the fact that the show’s producers pitched the idea of coming to Crested Butte is a good sign. "It’s a testament to how much media coverage we’re getting lately," she says.
Chamber of commerce assistant director Eric Cerise says Light Up Night is a festival that that the chamber and the Town of Crested Butte have taken turns hosting for at least 25 years.
Light Up Night contributor Allen Beck says it’s about time the town earned some recognition for its holiday celebration.
Beck says the parade aspect of the celebration has been done for only the last five years, but the event has always centered on Santa and the lighting of the Christmas tree by the post office. "It’s kind of evolved over the years around this whole Father Christmas thing, but they’re making it more formal each year with the parade and carolers," Beck says. Beck provides Santa Claus with a one-of-a-kind velvet suit to keep warm during the parade.
Beck says his first Light Up Night experience was in the winter of 1988. "That year they drove Santa in front of the Christmas tree around 5 p.m., and then Santa went to Kochevar’s. I thought it was great," Beck says.
This year the celebration starts at the Four-way Stop, where the largest tree in front of the Visitors Center is covered in Christmas lights. A parade will then head up Elk Avenue and stop in front of the post office, where the town’s main Christmas tree will be lit. The parade will culminate by a tree at the end of Elk Avenue, where kids will have a chance to hang lights.
During the parade, Santa will be carried up Elk Avenue in a new sleigh provided by Fantasy Ranches. Groups of children will then follow holding candles, and carolers and other parade-goers will bring up the rear.
Matthews says the B’nai Butte congregation will also be lighting the fifth candle of the menorah at sunset on Saturday on the Brick Oven Pizzeria deck.
Crested Butte public relations specialist April Prout says the Good Morning America crew (one producer and several cameramen) will be focusing on the parade and Light Up Night, but may take some scenic shots during the day. "They’re not looking for any news or political events. This is just a Christmas parade and we’re showing off our town," Prout says. She says the show will probably be aired the following Monday.
Matthews says she and Chaney went up and down Elk Avenue on Friday, November 30 encouraging business owners to join in the parade or provide hot cocoa or cider to visitors. Chaney says they also sent flyers home with school children to get more families involved. "We’re trying to make sure we can put on a great show because we have the media spotlight," Chaney says.
Chaney says the parade will have a fairyland theme this year and costumes are encouraged.
"We always want to look as festive as possible, but especially now," Matthews says.
Chaney says anyone who wants to be in the parade is welcome to join, and all they have to do is show up before 5 p.m. at the Four-way Stop.
"It’s a great night for families and a great night for kids. It’s special because everyone gets involved. It’s a true Crested Butte experience," Beck says.