In days of yore, when hitching posts instead of today's high-tech parking meters dotted main street, the Telluride Christmas tree loomed over the intersection of Pine St. and Colorado for most of the month of December.
My, how times have changed. Today, not only would a big tree in the center of town be a ticket-able traffic hazard; on the scale of environmental correctness, it registers pretty much at zero.
Last year marked the start of a new Telluride Tree tradition, with the Town of Telluride ponying up $1,700 for the 14-foot tall live Colorado Blue Spruce from High Country Trees, in Montrose.
"They add soil amendments," Parks and Rec's Sally Jones says of High Country's advance work to prep the tree for the mid-January planting it requires. "It needs to be in the ground to protect the roots," Jones explains.
Last year's 14-foot tall holiday tree is 15 feet and growing, Jones says, explaining the Blue Spruce grows "about one foot a year." It stands sentry along the San Miguel River, maybe one-hundred yards northeast of the new Town Park Pavilion, in what will someday be a forest of conifers – maybe a dozen, Jones estimates – transplanted from the grounds where the pavilion now stands.
"We didn't lose a single one," she says proudly, gesturing to the repositioned trees. An added bonus: The transplants "had been crowded together," which left them a tad sparse-looking. "Now," Jones says happily, "they're starting to fill out."
And because Parks and Rec staff is paid to think ahead, it should not be too surprising that a hole has been dug for this year's Telluride Tree's ultimate home. It will take its position along the San Miguel River in early 2005.
A moratorium on parking meter fees goes into effect Wednesday, Dec. 1, at 3 p.m., as downtown Telluride gears up to celebrate Noel Night. By mid-afternoon, the holidays are here, with store owners offering everything from grab-bag discounts to delicious treats to shoppers.
At 7 p.m., carolers from the Telluride Choral Society begin their holiday rounds in Elks Park. As Telluride officials light the town's 2004 Christmas tree, the carolers start an evening's worth of renditions of Christmas carols.
Follow the music east, with stops under streetlamps and inside and outside of Telluride businesses. The carolers will make an especially long stop at Scott White Contemporary Art to serenade the Telluride Middle/High School French class as they gift-wrap presents dropped off by happy Noel Night shoppers; as elsewhere, holiday goodies will abound.
For great gift ideas, check out Martinique Davis's report on gifts she found for just about everybody, starting on page 1.