OURAY – Get ready. Yule Night in Ouray, on Saturday, Dec. 11, is going to be bigger and better than ever.
The same holiday traditions will be seen at this year’s Yule Night, with a Christmas parade, shops staying open late and offering refreshments and Santa at the Elks Lodge, but with other special events as well.
For the second year, the Wine and Chocolate Festival, from 7-10 p.m. at the Wright Opera House, will coincide with Yule Night. Area vendors and restaurants will compete for awards in several categories, including Most Festive Presentation, Most Decadent, Most Creative Chocolate, People’s Choice, Kids’ Choice, Chocolatier Award and Wine Award, said Jennifer Loshaw, director of the Ouray Chamber Resort Association.
The event will also feature live music by Dan Allen and David Baker. A silent auction will also be held to benefit First Descents, which helps young adults overcome the emotional effects of cancer by having outdoor adventures. Last year, the Wine and Chocolate Festival was produced by an individual, but this year it is under the purview of the chamber, Loshaw said.
But while strolling around downtown is free, the Wine and Chocolate Festival has an entry fee of $25 for adults and $10 for children, or free with receipts totaling $200 or more from Ouray merchants.
Yule Night will kick off with a parade down Main Street at 5 p.m., but with Santa Claus riding a fire-truck instead of a sleigh. After the parade, Santa will be deposited at the Elks Lodge, where he will be available for free photos with kids. The Elks will also have a live nativity scene, and everyone is invited upstairs for a Christmas carol sing-a-long, followed by a chili and cornbread dinner for a nominal fee.
During the day, a free family holiday movie, underwritten by Alpine Bank, will be presented at 3 p.m. at the Main Street Theater. Just what the movie will be hasn’t been determined yet, Loshaw said.
Another event surrounding Yule Night will be a special radio play at the Wright Opera House, The Bishop’s Wife, which director Mike Hockersmith is adapting from two radio plays and the movie by the same name, starring Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young. The play will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 12.
But with all the scheduled activities, the most fun on Yule Night is strolling up and down Main Street, visiting with friends and neighbors and stopping in shops for refreshments and special discounts.
It’s also a time to get in the spirit of the season, said Mayor Bob Risch.
“It’s going to be a long winter, so we need to be in the right mood to survive it,” he said.