31st Annual Event Slated For Dec. 7 In Downtown Woodland Park
The Lighter Side of Christmas Parade, which kicks off Saturday evening in downtown Woodlland Park, will feature former city council member Gary Brovetto.as the grand marshal. Brovetto also played a big role in starting the Main Street program, one of the main recipients of this year’s event.
However, Gary Brovetto is a community figure than needs few introductions.
Gary has displayed numerous passions throughout his time in Teller County and the Pikes Peak region. Born and raised in Long Island, Brovetto attended Hofstra University and graduated with a degree in Engineering. Rather than wait to be drafted, Brovetto volunteered for the Air Force and was able to secure a pilot slot. “During my 22 year career, I wasn’t confined to just one job, but was able to do many during my time in service,” Brovetto said.
Further career adventures included flying all over the world, Space division Squadron Commander at the Satellite Control Facility in Silicon Valley, Department of Defense Satellite Research and Development and Technical Advisor to NASA Ames Research Center. “I was able to meet many of the icons in the industry,” he said. “There was no operating manual. It was joint cooperative research between the Air Force Labs and NASA.” During all of this he also found time to participate with local Boy Scouts and soccer leagues.
Brovetto says that after his travels all around the world and the US, he decided on Woodland Park as the place he wanted to live. “I arrived here in 1992,” he said, “and found new things to do.” Brovetto attended UCCS and was a licensed Professional Counselor working at Cedar Springs and in a private practice.
Following that, he worked with Listen-Up Video designing large home theaters. Working with foreign exchange students also became a big passion for him. As an International Exchange Coordinator, Brovetto worked to recruit host families and match kids to those families and schools. Brovetto has hosted over 12 exchange students himself and traveled all over with them then, and then later when they came back to visit with their families. “They become ambassadors for our country when we host them and they go back home,” he said. “The friendliness and openness of our kids here really stuck with them. They go back and give a first-hand view of America, not what’s presented in the media.”
“I enjoyed doing lots of different things, including running for Woodland Park City Council after retiring,” he said. It was during that time in 2013 that he first heard about the Main Street Program while attending a Colorado Municipal League conference. “A presentation by Sue Edmonson from DOLA talked about a program to revitalize downtown areas by preserving their history,” he said. “It was a great way to grow our downtown and give folks a reason to spend time in our downtown.” Brovetto recruited Gary Crane to help write the package to present to DOLA (Department of Local Affairs) to make Woodland Park a designated city along with Vera Egbert and other members from the Woodland Park Historical Committee. Brovetto went before the council with a resolution to support the creation of the Woodland Park Main Street Program and asked the city for $20,000 to get it off the ground. “It’s a lot of work to even become a candidate for the Main Street Program. There is a lot of competition. During our round in 2014, only Woodland Park and Buena Vista were selected,” he said. Victor, CO became a designated National Main Street in 2012.
Main Street is designed to promote the downtown area of a community and vitalize that area. The program establishes committees for historic preservation and design, economic development, publicity and promotions. WPMS works developing key partnerships and funding opportunities. Woodland Park Main Street, the 2019 LSOC beneficiary, was involved with the historic mural at the Ute Pass Cultural Center, the Elk Antler archway renovation and the restoration of a new roof on the historic Midland Baggage building. “Our next goal is to reach Graduate Level,” he said. “That will bring us national and international recognition. We have access to state experts for advice on revitalizing our community. A lot of this information goes into the Woodland Park Master Plan.
Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the Woodland Park Main Street effort.
The 31st annual parade kicks off at 6 p.m. in downtown Woodland Park.
The city will hold the tree lighting ceremony at Memorial Park this year following the Parade. Mike’s Crazy Hat Contest sponsored by Williams Log Furniture and trophy presentations will be at that time. The annual Gingerbread House Contest sponsored by Rampart Library District kicks off on the 7th as well. Entries are due at the Woodland Park Library by December 6. Be sure to check with Lighter Side of Christmas Parade Gold Sponsors each week for clues to the hidden Golden Squirrel. This year’s treasure basket is valued over $1000!! For additional information, visit www.lightersideofchristmas.com or call 719-687-7375. Float applications are now available online