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Annual Candlelight Walk signals the start of the holiday season

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By Deborah Swearingen

When a colorful dancing Christmas tree appears in downtown Littleton, it just might be the start of the holiday season.
“Are you a tree hugger?” Bill Coleman of Denver, dressed as “Shiny the Dancing Christmas Tree,” posed this important question to several youngsters.
In fact, Coleman asked pretty much anyone in sight on Littleton’s Main Street last Friday for the 35th annual Candlelight Walk and Tree Lighting event. Coleman has attended the Littleton holiday favorite in costume for some 15 years. He enjoys it every time.
“This is wonderful,” he said. “(There are) so many friendly people in Littleton.”
Passersby smiled as they saw Coleman, or rather, the glowing, dancing tree, making his way through the crowd.
“That’s a costume,” said 2-year-old Max Farmer matter-of-factly after staring intently at Coleman’s festive costume.
Max and his mom, Beth, attended the Candlelight Walk for the first time last Friday.
In addition to the signature holiday parade, which features a decorative float with Santa, a glittering ice princess and dancing elves, the event includes musical performances from community groups such as the Littleton High School choir and the Brothers of Brass, a Denver-based horn and drum outfit. Parade-goers also could visit with live reindeer and purchase candles and hot beverages.
Each year, as Santa makes his way down Main Street toward the Melting Pot, the street illuminates with some 1 million lights. This year was no different. As Kriss Kringle concluded his journey, a large, light-covered tree turned on to the cheers of the packed downtown crowd.
Prior to the float beginning its trek down Main Street, Yvonne and Robert Marshall sold candles in the Town Hall Arts Center. The couple was decked out in Christmas attire, wearing festive, light-up glasses, reindeer antlers and more.
Although the Marshalls have volunteered with the Town Hall Arts Center before, this was their first time attending the Candlelight Walk in a volunteer capacity. Typically, they come for fun. Regardless, it’s a tradition they look forward to, and Robert marveled at the beauty of Main Street as the lights illuminated from the east.
“It’s always very pretty,” he said.
Plus, for many, it’s more than a fun and festive family tradition. Bradford Auto Body, Inc., accepted drop-off donations of non-perishable food for Integrated Family Community Services or toys for the Arapahoe Santa Claus shop. Additionally, some of the locations selling candles — like the Town Hall Arts Center — are accepting tip donations for various purposes. The Marshalls said their tips went toward a theater scholarship program at the arts center.

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Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or
303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.