What I love most about Denver during the holiday season are the lights! From the garish display of lights on the City and County Building to the lawn decorations, people love decorating for the holidays. And Denver has some of the best displays to be found. My children will tell you that their earliest memories are watching the Parade of Lights. Then of course we took our time going home as we drove around town looking at neighborhood lights especially the houses on Milwaukee between 13th and 12th in Congress Park.
So how did Denver get to be the spectacular holiday display leader in the nation? Denver’s faith communities have played a large part in all of this. Since 1883 when Trinity United Methodist, then known as Lawrence Street Methodist Church, had the first Christmas tree ablaze with 30 incandescent bulbs, Denver has been crazy about lights.
Outdoor lights took off in the 19-teens. In 1914 David Dwight Sturgeon had an ill son. To raise the boys spirits he dipped regular light bulbs in red and green paint, strung them on a branch outside the sick room window. Neighbors told friends and soon folks were driving by just to have a look at the lights. Denver Post encouraged the first outdoor lighting contest in 1918. The first lights went up in Civic Center in 1919. Not until 1935 was the City and County Building transformed. 1947 saw a negative reaction from the public over a restrained display. Apparently Denver has always preferred an exuberance in holiday lighting.
For me, no holiday season is complete without a visit to St. John’s Cathedral to see the hand carved German Nativity display donated in the 1950s as a gift from Bob and Nancy Joyce Woodward.
Walking through Cory-Merrill there are lots of lawn decorations. Driving along Alameda the Hanukkah lights, lawn displays and homes, glow. And as our winter festivals do not conclude until after the National Western Stock Show the air will soon resonate with the aroma of cowboys and cattle.