Town of Breckenridge hosts Race of the Santas, tree lighting |

Town of Breckenridge hosts Race of the Santas, tree lighting

The town of Breckenridge hosts its Race of the Santas on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 4:15 p.m.The race benefits the Adopt an Angel program, which helps families who would not otherwise be able to provide gifts for their kids during the holidays. Following the race will be the lighting of the town tree at 5 p.m.
Carl Scofield / Breckenridge Tourism Office |


From Race of the Santas inception in 2011 through last year, funds raised for Adopt an Angel have supported more than 2,500 children in Summit County; some 500 costumed racers participated in 2014.

During the lighting of the town tree, the real Santa will emerge and illuminate more than 35,000 LEDs throughout Breckenridge’s Blue River Plaza.

Also on Saturday, the Gold Run Nordic Center opens the season with the Fat Bike Open — free fat bike demos and a casual race show just how fun it can be to hop in the saddle all year long. New for 2016, Gold Run is welcoming fat bikes to groomed trails three days a week.

Holiday-inspired activities continue throughout December with the Dew Tour, ornament-making and gift workshops in the Breckenridge Arts District, the give-back Mug Initiative for Syrian Refugees, screenings of the movie “A Christmas Story,” New Year’s Eve parties and more.


Noon to 6 p.m.: Breckenridge Creative Arts hosts the Handmade Holiday Market, where you can pick up fine crafts including jewelry, ceramics, candles, accessories and more, with no gift item priced more than $50. The market runs Dec. 4-6.

Noon / 1:00 p.m.: Free fat bike demos, followed by the Fat Bike Open race at the Gold Run Nordic Center

4:15 p.m.: Race of the Santas: Register online or at the Breckenridge Welcome Center (203 S. Main St.).

4:30 p.m.: In case you didn’t get enough at the cookie station during the race, take in some free cocoa, cookies and caroling in the Blue River Plaza (South Main and Washington).

5 p.m.: The real Santa arrives at the Blue River Plaza for the lighting of the town tree. Don’t miss the Bernese Mountain Dog Parade following Santa toward the tree.

5:30-7 p.m.: Visit with the real Santa and at the Barney Ford House Museum (111 E. Washington Ave.), across from the Blue River Plaza.

Visit for a full schedule.

It’s not easy being Santa at nearly 10,000 feet — or his wife, or reindeer. Nonetheless, Breckenridge attracts more than 500 Santas and Mrs. Clauses, or that is, people dressed as the big red guy and his wife, at Race of the Santas. Kids (dressed as reindeer, of course) run too. This year’s event takes place Dec. 5, along with the Lighting of Breckenridge. It’s one of many holiday events taking place throughout December.

Though the Race of the Santas only stretches for 7 blocks down Breckenridge’s Main Street, “everyone says it’s the toughest 7 blocks they have run,” said Sandy Metzger, events director for the Breckenridge Tourism Office. “Running at almost 10,000 feet adds to the challenge. There are a few people that sprint the race, but the majority jog or walk the course. They are just out to have fun and raise money for a great cause.”

The cause: Adopt an Angel Summit County, which helps families who would not otherwise be able to provide gifts for their kids during the holidays. The race has raised more than $8,000 for Adopt an Angel Summit County since the event began.

Beyond the great cause, the great fun of dressing up in a Santa or Mrs. Claus outfit (or, for kids 12 and younger, wearing antlers and jingle bells), there’s a great incentive — or deterrent, depending upon how you look at it — to running at elevation, and that involves — you guessed it: cookies and milk.

“Think of the milk and cookie station as an obstacle along the race route, for race participants,” said Rachel Zerowin, spokesperson for the Breckenridge Tourism Office.

Locals and visitors alike participate. There’s no need to come pre-outfitted, though if you happen to have your own Santa suit, registration is $15. If not, pick up a Santa suit for $25 at Vertical Runner or the Breckenridge Welcome Center. Kids get in for free, antlers included.

Though the run is non-timed and all about having fun, the top three female and male finishers win prizes.

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