Many holiday traditions will look vastly different this year, but one will stay the same.

The annual Holiday Headframe Lighting in Victor and Cripple Creek will come ablaze every night from Friday through Jan. 1, providing some much-needed comfort in the wake of so many changes and cancellations.

“The locals especially like it,” says Ruth Zalewski, president of Southern Teller County Focus Group, which puts on the event. “It does add Christmas decorations to our area, and there’s something about a volunteer spirit at that time of year. We don’t see it as a huge economic event, but more of a giving back to the community kind of event.”

A dozen installations, ranging from 20 to 40 feet tall, and adorned with rope lights and lightbulbs, will glow against the dark night skies of the tiny towns. Think seasonal favorites, including an enormous Santa face, Christmas stocking, candy canes and a giant starburst snowflake on the Hoosier Mine headframe above Cripple Creek.

“You get sky behind it and sometimes the moon comes up to one side of it,” Zalewski says. “They’re all fun and different.”

She recommends starting off your visit with a trip to the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum, an original 1899 building full of artifacts, exhibits and photos that depict life in Victor from its beginnings through the gold mining days. From there you can pick up a free map of the self-guided driving tour that will take you around to the various decorated headframes and stands. The map also is available online at

It’s best to try your luck at headframe viewing from 5 to 10 p.m. Volunteers go out around 4-4:30 p.m., fill the generators at each location with gas and plug them in. The ornaments stay lit until the gas runs out.

Mountains full of pretty lights that viewers can enjoy in an appropriately distanced way might be a balm for this year’s odd holiday season.

“It’s an easy, good way to go out and take a drive around the district,” says Zalewski, “and not have to worry about other people.”

Contact the writer: 636-0270

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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