by Rick Langenberg:
The Aspen Mine Center is hosting a pre-Christmas celebration this Saturday (July 27) to help kick off this year’s annual Yuletide Victorian festival and to highlight a number of non-profit groups that operate throughout southern Teller.
The “Christmas in July” gathering will occur from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Aspen Mine (166 E. Bennett Ave.) and will include a variety of vendors, baked sales, free Christmas cookies, door prizes, along with a slew of festivities. It is organized by the community’s Christmas Planning Committee, headed by Shawn Kuhns. The actual Christmas celebration, slated for Dec. 14-15, has become one of the town’s biggest events. This is the first time the committee has gotten into the Christmas spirit through spearheading a summer gala.
According to planning committee coordinator Kathi Pilcher, the Christmas in July celebration will also give residents a chance to learn more about the many local nonprofits in the area and the varied programs and resources available at the Aspen Mine Center, along with forthcoming auctions and community benefit drives, such as a unique quilt raffle in November. Some groups that haven’t received that much attention, such as the Help U Club (the crafters of an impressive quilt display) in Teller and Lake George and the local Cripple Creek seniors club, will be featured. The Aspen Mine, which has emerged as one of the biggest success stories in southern Teller since it was converted from an abandoned casino to a major community resource hub, generates nearly 20,000 client contacts a year. It now serves as outlet for more than 20 organizations and assists hundreds of families.
But with the economy, the demand for services is rising, according to Ted Borden, who runs the Aspen Mine Center. However, local leaders are getting quite creative in fun ways to raise money. A recent Aspen Mine fashion show became the talk of the town and raised thousands of dollars. It also ended the myth that modern fashion styles don’t blend with the Cripple Creek culture.
For more information about Christmas in July, call Shawn Kuhns at 629-8063 or Kathi Pilcher at 659-3599.