Santa stops at Howelsen today

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— Santa will make a pre-Christmas Eve appearance tonight at Howelsen Hill.

The city Parks and Recreation Department will host a free holiday party beginning at 6:30 p.m. to officially usher in the Christmas season.

At 7 p.m., Santa will descend from the North Pole, or Howelsen Hill, in conjunction with the lighting of the tree on Fetcher Tower.

The 24th annual event offers fun and entertainment for the young and old, Parks and Recreation Sports Director Christina Freeman said.

"We invite the whole family to come and join us in celebrating the Christmas season," Freeman said.

And the event costs nothing, she added.

The holiday party provides the only opportunity during the year for people to go tubing at Howelsen Hill.

At no other time during the year can children and adults slide down the hill in tubes, Freeman said.

Sleds and metal runners, however, are not allowed because of safety reasons.

Tubers can tube in a few different areas, depending on their height, she said.

A few tubes will be available, but Freeman encouraged holiday party-goers not to depend on too many tubes being available with so many people wanting to use them.

"If you have your own, you should bring your own," she said.

A choir from Euzoa Bible Church will provide Christmas carols throughout the evening.

Refreshments can be found at Olympian Hall.

The party, which runs until 8:30 p.m., also features juggling elves and a nativity scene.

Santa should make the rounds to all in attendance, Freeman said.

The annual event provides an excellent opportunity for those who have not yet visited Howelsen Hill this winter to see the progress in preparing it for skiing.

"We've got a really good base of snow, and people can enjoy it while they play and enjoy each other," she said.

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