Every holiday season for the last 33 years, lots of volunteers have combined their energies to produce one of the largest holiday events in Woodland Park. The Lighter Side of Christmas Parade brings friends and family to Midland Avenue in Downtown Woodland Park to enjoy the “lighter” side of the holidays. The parade will take place this year on Saturday, December 4 and kicks off at 6 PM entertaining the theme “Season’s Readings” as we celebrate 100 years of Scholastic Books.
The Grand Marshal is an honorary title given to a person honored as the ceremonial marshal of a parade. Teller Senior Coalition has chosen volunteer Mike Isele, owner of Divide Timber, to wear the title this year. Isele has spent over 55 years in the timber industry. “Long enough to know better,” he said, “but I don’t quit.” Isele started out his career at age 5 cutting down a tree with a hand saw. Born and raised in Milan, OH, Isele shares the birthplace of Thomas Edison. “I made brush piles to burn when they were building Edison Park and they deeded me a one square foot parcel of the park,” he said. “I am a proud owner of a piece of Edison’s heritage.”
Isele’s family moved to Colorado Springs when he was a teenager. “I kept moving west,” he said and eventually ended up in Divide. Isele has been instrumental in helping Teller Senior Coalition the last four years helping to build ramps, stair railings, installing grab bars and anything else to help seniors in the community to be able to stay in their homes. Isele has LOTS of stories from people and events covering the past 50 years in Teller County. He’s worked to help clear unhealthy trees from the forest areas from Wilkerson Pass to Black Forest to the Air Force Academy. “We need to make the forest healthy,” he stated. “It’s important to get ahead of the game and treat or remove sick or damaged trees and thin them to a healthy level.”
TSC director Kathy Lowry shared, “Mike is very good with the seniors. He loves to talk and that makes their day as they have a visitor who connects and engages with them and makes their day brighter.” Lowry also said that Isele has helped a number of years with their fundraising efforts by donating cords of wood. “Mike is one of those people who we can always depend on,” she said.
Teller Senior Coalition is one of the beneficiaries for this year’s event along with Woodland Park Main Street. Lowry said that TSC is starting a new chapter with the upcoming move to Divide. “We’ll be more centrally located to serve more of the seniors in the area,” she stated. TSC has been active in helping seniors stay in their homes and out of facilities for 25 years. “We want people to stay healthy and active in their own homes for as long as they can,” she said. “The services we provide help them to be independent and happy. We do whatever we can to make life easier for the people we serve.”
The Lighter Side of Christmas Holiday Treasure Hunt has begun. A new clue is revealed to LSOC Gold Sponsors (listed on the webpage and Facebook page) every Friday for those treasure hunters searching for the hidden book. Stop in and visit these businesses each week for clues. Whoever finds the little book will receive a holiday basket valued at over $1000 with gifts provided by local businesses.
Other LSOC events include the annual Gingerbread House Contest. The Rampart Range Library District is hosting the competition again this year at both the Woodland Park and Florissant locations. The Crazy Hat Contest, sponsored by Williams Log Cabin Furniture, is held the night of the parade. The parade awards and Crazy Hat Contest will take place at the Ute Pass Cultural Center following the parade. The City of Woodland Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place at Memorial Park on Friday, December 3 this year. Information on these and other holiday events are available at www.lightersideofchristmas.com and updates at www.facebook.com/LighterSideofChristmasParade