Merry Mainstreet to incorporate changes in the future | SteamboatToday.com

Merry Mainstreet to incorporate changes in the future

This year for Merry Mainstreet, 61 kids from the Discovery Learning Center took part in the creation of a "Three Little Pigs"-themed gingerbread house. The event will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

— Last year on a snowy evening in early December, Tracy Barnett looked at Lincoln Avenue beyond the throngs of people walking about to find children lying down and making snow angels.

Throughout the past seven years, Merry Mainstreet has become an event locals know well. Lincoln Avenue is shut down to welcome Santa and an abundance of holiday cheer.

"It was magical in a way to have the street closed and the twinkling lights shining while people walked around and sang carols outside," said Barnett, executive director of Mainstreet Steamboat Springs.

Next year, the event may change entirely.

Because of concerns from the Colorado Department of Transportation and city expense worries regarding the street closure, Barnett said alterations must take place. Initially, the intention was to grow Merry Mainstreet as big as the Halloween Stroll.

"There is so much going on with the holidays and other events, especially this specific weekend," Barnett said. "It never became what we hoped it would, but we still want to have something special for it."

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Unsure what will happen next year, Barnett hopes the community will come out in full force for a memorable night. It may be their last opportunity, she said.

As in years past, Merry Mainstreet will include open houses in stores throughout downtown along with the well-known gingerbread house contest, themed and decorated holiday store windows, Santa's light parade, visits and photo opportunities with Santa, carolers and, of course, holiday cheer.

Another Merry Mainstreet activity is the Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt. Until Saturday, the elf changed locations so that children wouldn't know where he would be. This particular elf will be hiding in one of the businesses, and if a child finds the elf, he or she will be given a prize and be eligible to enter their name in a drawing for the grand prize.

"I love the nature of community that surrounds this event," said Tami Havener, executive director of the Discovery Learning Center. "People who go are there for the feeling of community and the Christmas spirit. I love everything about it."

This year, there will be four gingerbread houses involved in the contest. Those will be located at the Artisans Market, Overland Sheepskin Co., White Hart Gallery and Lyon's Corner Drug. The public has the opportunity to pick the winners of the gingerbread house contest and the window decoration contest.

Leading up to the holiday kickoff event, 61 kids at the Discovery Learning Center had a hand in the creation of a “Three Little Pigs”-themed gingerbread house. Potato sticks, pretzels and Boston baked bean candies represent the classic tale, along with the little toy pigs. The Discovery Learning Center's gingerbread house will be on display at White Hart Gallery.

"It was a joint effort from all of the kids," Havener said. "They had such a fun time, and when they go with their parents downtown, they will be able to see their work in the store windows and take pride in that."

Unsure of what will happen next year, Barnett said perhaps there will be more additions to the Light Up the Night event, or maybe there will be a rolling parade without the closing of Mainstreet.

"As long as we have the support to continue Merry Mainstreet the way it is, we will find a way to make it happen," Barnett said.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1