If you go
What: 30th annual Community Holiday Party
When: 6 to 8 p.m. today
Where: Howelsen Hill and Olympian Hall
Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival and the Fourth of July parade are among the Steamboat Springs traditions that Chris Wilson holds close to his heart, but what he finds most special is the annual Community Holiday Party.
"As you will find in community, there are some special times during the year when you get the chance - like the summer concert events - to meet with folks you don't see every day," said Wilson, the city's director of Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services.
"It's one of the first community gatherings of the holiday season at Howelsen," he said.
About 250 people are expected to gather tonight for the 30th annual free party to usher in the holiday season at Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill.
"It's also one of the few times of the year you can tube over at Howelsen," Wilson said.
The party, which is open to everyone in the community, also will include hot cocoa, cider and cookies, along with caroling and a Nativity scene.
Children can visit with Santa Claus and share their wish lists, said Brooke Lightner, recreation coordinator for the city.
"Seeing kids with Santa is always the highlight for me," she said. "I am usually with them front and center, and hearing that exchange between kids and Santa - that is always special."
Lightner noted that recreation staff will be on hand to take photos of the Santa visits. Interested families can have copies of the photos for free.
Wilson said his favorite Community Holiday Party memory isn't quite as innocent as sitting on Santa's lap, but just as much in the spirit of the holidays.
"What I remember most is twisting my back while catching kids coming down the tubing hill," he said. "Seeing all the families out there in the cold, and how excited the kids are, just makes the day perfect."
Wilson added that no sleds or metal runners will be allowed on the hill because of safety reasons.
"It's a very good example of how we are a community in Steamboat," Lightner said about the party. "It's definitely a family-orientated event where everybody knows everybody, and it's fun to see the kids come year after year."