Breckenridge mayor, wife, rescue town holiday party |

Breckenridge mayor, wife, rescue town holiday party

BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge Mayor Ernie Blake and his wife Sharon took the Grinch out of the town’s holiday party last week.An e-mail announcing the Dec. 10 party was accidentally sent to everyone in the town’s staff database – including volunteers for whom the town usually throws a separate party. A subsequent e-mail was then distributed to notify people of the mistake – essentially un-inviting all but the paid staff.”They were invited and then they weren’t invited,” said Town Councilmember Larry Crispell. “And Ernie said, ‘Wait a second; that’s not right,’ and reinvited everyone.”The town holiday party is usually a simple affair, with employees attending for free and their guests paying a small fee. The town usually hires a DJ and has a cash bar.But in light of the faux pas, the Blakes decided to sponsor the entire affair, complete with a band at the Great Divide Lodge, dinner, drinks and gifts that included a T-shirt, penknife and chocolate. Most of the items had on them the image of Sharon’s stallion Thunder that is the Denver Broncos’ mascot.”That’s how much Sharon and Ernie feel about this town,” Crispell said. “Their generosity goes beyond their commitment to serving the community. Their dedication of their own resources to make things right, I was very impressed with that.”Blake, who is known for his modesty, said he was merely giving back to the employees for all the hard work they do throughout the year. Sharon worked with the employee relations committee to plan the event.”Sharon and I are very fortunate to be able to do such a thing,” Blake said. “I love the town, and I thought it would be nice to give them back one day. It’s a pretty small return for what we get from them.”More than 300 people attended the soiree, said town manager Tim Gagen.The party’s buffet dinner included sliced roast beef and ham, garlic mashed potatoes, jumbo shrimp, green salad with strawberries, baked squash with brown sugar glaze and a Caesar salad.The dessert table – some described it as big as an SUV – featured apple, peach and cherry pies and cheesecake.Additionally, each person was given two drink tickets.”I thought the party was great,” said town clerk Mary Jean Loufek. “It was a little nicer than our typical town of Breckenridge-sponsored party.””I had a great time,” said Heide Andersen, a planner for the town’s open space and trails department. “And I have horses, so I was like, ‘This is great; there’s a horse motif on everything.’ I think that meant a little more to me than others.”Others said they were pleased to mingle with people they didn’t know were connected with the town, notably volunteers on the various town boards.”I had a blast,” said Ellen Hollinshead, who sits on the town’s open space board. “I don’t eat much red meat and it was the best beef I’ve had in years. And I actually talked more than my husband (Jeffrey Bergeron) did; I was more social. I enjoyed hanging out with the BOSAC (open space) boys.””It was great; there were a lot of smiling faces,” Blake said. “People had a good time, which was the idea.”The couple hopes to sponsor the town party every year as long as Blake is mayor, he said.”They brought the Christmas spirit to Breckenridge,” Crispell said. “They delivered it. They took an iffy situation and turned it around and out the other side came a wonderful Christmas event.”Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or

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