When you think of the holidays, do you think of going for a run, dancing at a fancy ball, touring homes in the neighborhood and bidding on Christmas trees?

If you’re familiar with Longmont’s holiday traditions, then you’ve likely heard of the Longmont Turkey Trot, Rotary Holiday Ball, TLC Christmas Tree Festival and the Gift of Home Tour. Not only do these events offer fun things to do during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, they’re also a way to give back to your local community. 

Longmont Turkey Trot

The Longmont Turkey Trot 10K and 2 Mile Run/Walk, in its 47th year this year, is one of the fastest, most scenic courses in the area, landing nearly two weeks before Thanksgiving on Nov. 12. Online registration closes Nov. 9 and in-person registrations Nov. 11 and Nov. 12 will carry a late entry fee.

“It’s so popular because it’s a 10K and 2 Mile … so there’s something for everyone. People are just looking for the tradition of it every year,” said Samantha Calhoon, recreation program coordinator for the city of Longmont. “Around that time of year people are looking to do stuff.”

Serious and amateur racers, plus those who just want to take a stroll, will meet at Altona Middle School, 4600 Clover Basin Drive. The 10K course has a wheelchair division, and there’s a group rate for 15 or more racers. The race begins at Utility Road behind the middle school with the 10K starting at 9 a.m. and the 2 Mile five minutes later. 

The 2 Mile awards will be presented at 10 a.m. and the 10K awards at 11 a.m. for overall male and female winner; plus there will be winners in each of the age groups. The turkey mascot will be holding a golden ticket and wearing a top hat and bowtie to go with the theme, which this year is Willy Wonka. 

After the race, racers (the estimate is that there will be 2,000) and visitors can sample food, swag and other goodies at the Vendor Village set up at the middle school. Racers also can partake in a complimentary post-race meal. 

Proceeds from the Turkey Trot will benefit the City of Longmont Youth Scholarship Fund, which provides $100 for youth to spend on recreation programming. For more details about the race, visit longmontcolorado.gov.

The annual Rotary Holiday Ball helps support Rotary community assistance programs. (Courtesy Twin Peaks Rotary)

Rotary Holiday Ball

Once racers have done their run, maybe they’ll want to dance at the festive Rotary Holiday Ball, a formal dance presented by the Longmont Twin Peaks Rotary the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The ball, started as a fundraiser in 1988, is 7-10 p.m. Nov. 19 at the historic Dickens Opera House, 300 Main St.

“It’s a great, great time,” said Richard Schenker, past-president of Twin Peaks Rotary and chairman of the organization committee for the ball. “People get revved up for it. It’s become a Longmont tradition.”

The ball will feature live music with dancing to WASH, Colorado’s hottest party cover band, hors d’oevres, desserts and libations, plus a $1,000 cash holiday drawing. 

“They’re tremendously talented. They just rock,” Schenker said. “People show up. They get a cocktail. Boom the band starts at 7. They don’t sit down. They’re dancing all night long.” 

The ball is a fundraiser for the Rotary, which carries out the mantra of “service above self,” to raise funds for scholarships and local charities. Since the event started, the Rotary has donated more than $250,000 to the scholarship fund and to nonprofits like OUR Center, The Inn Between of Longmont, Inc., A Woman’s Work Longmont, the Longmont Community Foundation, the YMCA and Golf Rules. 

The event also serves as a way to thank supporters by throwing a party, while also kicking off the holidays. 

“Everything we do is about finding and keeping friends,” Schenker said. “Everything we’re doing is for the betterment of the community to build friendships and help people less fortunate than us.” 

The Rotary has 250 tickets available for the ball, which cost $75 per person. Tickets can be purchased at twinspeakrotary.org or ACE or from a member of the Rotary. 

Christmas Tree Festival guests are invited to bid on themed trees, virtually or in person. 
(Courtesy TLC Learning Center)

Christmas Tree Festival

After doing some running and dancing, bring in the Christmas season with TLC Learning Center’s Christmas Tree Festival.

The TLC Learning Center in Longmont started the Christmas Tree Festival in 1981 as the preschool’s largest fundraiser for educational and therapeutic services—the preschool is an inclusive school founded in 1956. Donors decorate themed Christmas trees that are raffled off in two ways—an online format started during the COVID-19 pandemic and an in-person event at the Longmont Museum, where it’s been for the last several years. 

The virtual event Nov. 20-Dec. 4 will feature 30 to 50 trees, while the in-person event 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 11 will include more than 50 trees on display. Themes range from tech to toys, experiences, board games and all ages, and the trees will be decorated with ornaments, gifts and gift cards, valued at a minimum of $150.

“We decided to keep the virtual piece so more people can jump in,” said Amy French-Troy, development and communications manager for the TLC Learning Center and event coordinator of the TLC Christmas Tree Festival.

Attendees can purchase raffle tickets and drop them at the tree they want to “win.” Between announcements of winners, there will be presentations about student success stories, school happenings and scholarship benefits. 

“It’s a really fun event and it’s a great way to celebrate the holiday season,” French-Troy said. “It’s good food, great people and a terrific venue.”

Tickets go on sale Nov. 7 and are $85, including admission to the Tree Festival, food from Jules Gourmet Catering, a complimentary beverage and a book of six raffle tickets. Winners will be announced Dec. 11. Visit learningwithtlc.org/ctf for more details. 

The Gift of Home Tour supports Meals on Wheels while generating beautiful holiday decorating ideas.
(Courtesy Gift of Home Tour)

Gift of Home Tour

The Longmont Gift of Home Tour is a fundraiser benefitting Habitat for Humanity of the St. Vrain Valley in Longmont. 

The tour, now in its 56th year, will be Dec. 1-3 with a VIP opening night party 6-10 p.m. and opening night home tour 6-9 p.m. on Dec. 1, followed by general admission home tours from 1-7 p.m. Dec. 2 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 3. 

Opening Night will include a party at the Longmont ReStore and transportation by BrewHop Trolley.  

The self-guided tour will feature four Longmont homes in different neighborhoods that will be “dressed up” for the holidays by decorators and décor stores. Attendees can browse for holiday decorating ideas and to purchase items for sale.  

For more information, visit thegiftofhome.org.

By Shelley Widhalm for LONGMONT MAGAZINE