The holiday season in Wyoming is an extraordinary time of year, and small businesses around the state help to make it even more special. From the capital to the small communities and everywhere in between, you can find unique holiday events made possible by local businesses who keep the spirit of the holidays close to home.
Many towns kicked off the season with holiday events the weekend after Thanksgiving. Rock Springs offered free carriage rides and gift wrapping in their downtown area. Sheridan’s Christmas Stroll was a success with more than 100 businesses participating. After the community Christmas tree was lit in Thermopolis, a local theater offered free showings of a special holiday movie with each donation of a canned good or Christmas gift.
From downtown open houses to Santa arriving in a helicopter (which happens in Powell), there’s no shortage of unique activities and events throughout the state. In Cheyenne, the iconic trolley takes riders through the best decorations and lights in town. Folks can also enjoy ice skating with free skate rentals at the Depot Plaza throughout the season thanks to local sponsors. The Basin Chamber hosts Little Shoppers, where children can shop for just $1 per gift – no parents or grandparents are allowed. A Wyoming bank fills their Christmas trees in Lander and Riverton with hundreds of “little angels,” each representing a local child in need.
Gillette has become well known for its Festival of Lights, where more than one million lights brighten up Cam-Plex Park. The displays are sponsored by businesses around the community and feature Santa’s toy factory, 12 Days of Christmas and choreographed music. Children can even write letters to Santa and receive responses thanks to several volunteers and a mailbox donated by a local shop. Seeing this incredible display makes one feel like they are in a Christmas Hallmark movie.
Towns big and small hold holiday-themed parades. Countless small businesses spend time decorating intricate floats and participating in these community parades. Laramie’s “Whoville Christmas” parade had 30 entries, with several Grinches whose hearts grew three sizes making appearances. People celebrated the season at Greybull’s Holidazzle parade, which spread holiday cheer far and wide.
Auctions, especially Festivals of Trees, are popular all around Wyoming, including in Evanston, Casper, Gillette, Cheyenne, Riverton and Saratoga. Earlier this month, Worland hosted their annual auction and showed holiday spirit through decorations and generosity. Festive trees, wreaths and Christmas items were sold to raise money for charities – many of these donated or decorated by small businesses throughout the community.
I’ve always believed Wyoming has the best communities, and this is proven true time and time again during the holiday season. Our state is special in the way that we care for each other. During this most wonderful time of year, it’s great to see the spirit of generosity and kindness keeping our state warm and bright. I encourage you to check out the events in your area; maybe one can become a family tradition.