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12 Days of Aspen: A Winter Wonderland for All Ages

Aspen, Colorado is a world famous cold weather entertainment hub, with something for everyone that chooses to visit. Each winter thousands of visitors make their way to Aspen to enjoy the vibrant community, outdoor activities, majestic vistas, and fun festivals/events. Towards the end of every December, downtown Aspen is transformed into a holiday-themed winter wonderland for 12 Days of Aspen. Visitors will find local businesses with decorated storefronts, Christmas lights lining the streets, and live holiday music filling the air. Entering its seventh season, the festival brings almost 30,000 visitors into the Aspen community. The event has gained popularity during each season of its existence because it offers a wide variety of free and fun events for all ages to enjoy.


Some of the activities you’ll find at the 12 Days of Aspen event include free ice skating, ice skating exhibitions, storytime for adults, baby storytime, Victorian carolers, holiday crafts, screenings at the Aspen Film Academy, kid’s workshops, speciality social functions, and so much more. Don’t forget that Santa and his reindeer will be making an appearance and are ready to take pictures with any families and children (or just the young at heart). To round out 12 Days of Aspen the New Year's Eve celebration is a can't-miss event. Locations all over the city are hosting parties, meals, drink tastings, concerts and it's all topped off by a fantastic fireworks show. We interviewed Event Representative, Melissa Wisenbaker of Promo Communications, about 12 Days of Aspen.


RAL: Tell me about 12 Days of Aspen.

MW: This is the seventh year of the 12 Days of Aspen celebration. During the festival, downtown Aspen becomes a winter wonderland of cheer. From December 20-31, downtown comes alive with a variety of free holiday activities, special treats, and more. There are a variety of events within the 12 Days of Aspen, so it depends on the event itself! Aspen’s population is around 6,700 and in the high season (such as this time during the winter) it rises to around 27,000 people. Demographically we see a lot of families participating, but people of all age ranges and backgrounds come to enjoy the festival.


RAL: What makes this festival unique?

MW: The festive event takes over the entire town! All businesses, restaurants, shops, and more are decorated to fit with the 12 Days of Aspen and holiday theme. Visitors can see, when coming to the pedestrian-friendly town, that the 12 Days of Aspen is EVERYWHERE (Free cookies and hot cocoa outside on the mall or at the Sheriff’s office, free ice skating right in downtown, cookie decorating at hotels, etc).


RAL: Take me through a day at 12 Days of Aspen.

MW: Since there are many events that take place during the 12 Days of Aspen, participants’ experiences will vary. As an attendee, you can expect to see many “free stations” and giveaways throughout town such as free cookies, hot cocoa, locals handing out Christmas tree decorations, and more. Participants can enjoy all of the freebies during the day, then apres ski parties around town in the afternoon.  Live music and parties are prevalent at various hotels into the night.


Some of the fun activities you can enjoy here include ice skating, cookie decorating, apres ski parties, menorah lighting, teddy bear story hour, caroling, and more. In addition, Santa will be making an appearance for pictures and to help spread some holiday cheer. The festival stretches through December holiday season and during the classic holidays themselves you’ll find a special Christmas Eve and Day dinners, apres ski parties with holiday drinks, and a unique New Year's Eve dining event.


RAL: What can attendees expect to find for local lodging?

MW: There are no special lodging offers during the 12 Days of Aspen, but various hotel's host different events including the St. Regis, Hotel Jerome, and the Little Nell. A few more lodging options to consider include Frias Properties of Aspen and the Aspen Square Condominium Hotel.


RAL: What does 12 Days of Aspen mean to the community?

MW: It’s a special time when the community bursts with holiday cheer and welcomes all of our winter tourists. With the attendance being what it is, the local restaurants, shops, and hotels see a distinctive bump in their patronage and profits. The friendly Aspen community loves its events, and 12 Days of Aspen is no exception. Local residents love sharing their town and meeting all new people who choose to visit for the holiday season.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

MW: Contrary to popular belief, Aspen is an affordable destination, and this event is an ideal example! There are plenty of free events held throughout the 12 Days of Aspen celebration for kids and families alike. Aspen is a fun and vibrant community with so much to offer. Come and join us as we celebrate the season in our festive mountain community!

For more information about 12 Days of Aspen please visit their website.