Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Pam Martin

Enchanted Evening charms guests for 16th Year


December 1, 2016

Photo By Pam Martin Sweetbird Studio’s jet-pack wearing pink flamingos were a fan favorite for the window decorating contest.

Niwot's 16th annual Enchanted Evening on Friday, Nov. 25, delighted locals and visitors despite chilly, 30-degree temperatures. Children got some needed face time with Santa, and families gathered to sing holiday songs, enjoy egg nog, hot cocoa and other holiday cheer while they shopped, dined and visited with old-and-new friends and loved ones.

“My goal this year was to get attendees to visit both Cottonwood [Square Shopping Center] and Old Town--that has always been a challenge,” said event organizer, Sarah Cioni. “But the ice carvers in Cottonwood Square put on a good show and were a great draw.”

Cioni spent the evening walking from one part of town to the other, checking in on Santa and the shops, and the shared good times she witnessed along her route warmed her heart. She said when she locked the door on her own shop, the Painted Primrose, at 10 p.m., “I saw two passersby jump out of their car and take a selfie with [one of the ice sculptures,] Olaf.”

According to Cioni there were a record number of participants who voted in the holiday window decorating contest this year, but those votes hadn’t yet been tallied by press time. According to several event participants, two window favorites belonged to Sweetbird Studio and HMK Jewelers.

Gunbarrel residents Tony Mostek and his wife Susan came out with friends from Grand Junction and spent time in Wise Buys Antiques. They talked to shop owners Tim and Carrie Wise about Susan’s great aunt who collected Hummel figurines—the stylized porcelain creations of a Bavarian Franciscan nun that became popular in the US after World War II. (FYI: Hitler hated the figurines, believing they depicted German children as “brainless sissies,” according to Collectors Weekly.) The Mosteks found a curio cabinet filled with Hummels and decided to buy two, in the $30 range, and took away a little nostalgia.

The antique shop rang up sales of Christmas tree ornaments from the 1950s, record albums, wine goblets, a silver platter, and salt and pepper shakers, which were destined to become holiday gifts, according to Carrie Wise.

One window contest voter, Jennifer Lynn, bought a Wendell Willkie button in the shop for $8 that night—the Republican presidential candidate who lost to FDR in 1940. She said she was going to send it to her mother in Elwood, IN.

Photo By Pam Martin Zach Chirikos (far left), Santa, and Adeleine Chirikos discuss holiday wishes, which included a Power Wheels Wild Thing, or a battery-powered vehicle that goes up to 5 mph, and a Yeti in My Spaghetti game. “Don’t let your Yeti fall in the bowl,” Zach cautioned, who also said he’d like a set of Magic Tracks, which glow in the dark.

Lynn liked Sweetbird Studio’s holiday window display, which featured pink flamingos wearing jet packs to fuel Santa’s sleigh. “That kind of stood out,” she said. She also said how much she enjoyed events like Niwot’s First Friday Art Walks and Enchanted Evening, adding, “Who needs Pearl Street?”

Archer, Dakota and Brady, fourth-graders at Niwot Elementary School, were “chillin’” on the Banjo Billy Bus. Before coming out they’d had a 'friends’ Thanksgiving dinner”, which featured leftovers from the night before. They said watching the ice carving demonstrations in front of HMK Jewelers was one of their favorite activities. “They were really great,” Archer said.

This year consumers were more eager than ever to enjoy the deals retailers had to offer for the biggest shopping weekend of the year, which included Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, with 59 percent of Americans, or an estimated 137.4 million people, planning to shop during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. Those numbers included both in-store and online shopping, and Niwot’s Enchanted Evening event helped kick off this year’s emphasis on keeping holiday spending close to home.


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