By Halle Thornton
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Holidays in Colorado means two things: cold weather and presents.
Colorado Springs is home to unique activities for people of all ages, and gifts only found in the Rockies. Spend a day holiday shopping in style, meeting artists of handmade, locally crafted art, or take your loved one ice skating in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs. Whatever you decide, it is sure to be something special and memorable.
Holiday Market at Commonwheel Artists Co-op
102 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 80829
Look no further than Manitou Springs to find unique, locally made gifts for your friends and family this holiday season.
Juanita Canzoneri, Commonhweel Artists Co-op marketing manager for three years, explained the Holiday Market is a six-week event, operating daily from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and closed Christmas Day.
“We dedicate our whole gallery space to this event,” she said. “We offer Colorado or locally made gift items under $100, original art, art prints, ornaments and home décor.
“We cram as much cool stuff in here as we possibly can,” she continued. “With our more popular artists, we ask them to come back year after year.”
Canzoneri said the shop hosts a jury for the show in September so they can look at new things people are making or new artists who may have recently moved to the area.
“We always try to carry things like soaps, lotions, (lip balm),” she said. “Colorado Cream provided their products this year and last, and this year, we have candles for sale from Skye Candle Company, a new company in Manitou Springs.”
Additionally, Canzoneri said throughout the year, the co-op holds gallery shows, and if there is an artist who does particularly well, the committee hosting the market will ask them to participate.
“We’re constantly on the lookout for new and cool art,” she said. “We look for stuff we think would fit into this show, and it’s always amazing the quality of work we get.”
In order for products to be considered, Canzoneri said they need to be new to the co-op, and the quality and price has to be good.
Additionally, Canzoneri said the vendors have to be able to restock the items if they sell out.
“We don’t want any holes in our store,” she added.
Last year the co-op incorporated a trunk show into the Holiday Market, Canzoneri said, where jewelers brought in additional work.
“We had stuff everywhere,” she said. “There was a lot of handmade jewelry for sale, some special deals, prices and things we don’t typically carry. Plus, you got to meet the jewelers.”
Canzoneri said her favorite part about working the Holiday Market is the excitement it generates, and the holiday spirit throughout the store.
“I don’t decorate my house, so it’s great to see the shop decorated,” she said, laughing.
Canzoneri added she loves to see guests shop locally.
“It’s always new and always different,” she said. “We get a ton of people that come in for it, and it’s always exciting.”
“You’ll always meet an artist when you come in and shop,” Canzoneri continued. “If you’re interested in shopping local, this is the best place to do it.”
For more information about the Holiday Market, call 719-685-1008.
Skate in the Park
Acacia Park, 115 E. Platte Ave.
For $10 a ticket including ice skate rental, Skate in the Park is a great option if you’re looking to embrace the cold Colorado climate.
Located in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs, Acacia Park offers ice skating throughout the holiday season, open through the end of January.
New this year, the park will host the adult three-versus-three Shinny Tournament (outdoor hockey) throughout December and January. Intermediate and advanced divisions are available, with prizes awarded for participants and champions.
Check the schedule for special skate days at Acacia Park, including Skate with Matilda, Skate with Team USA and Ugly Sweater/Funny Hate Skate. Wear an ugly sweater or festive hat on Jan. 4 and receive $1 off admission.
Richard Kotecki, Skate in the Park attendee, said skating in the park is a great way to spend a night out with a loved one.
“It was a great date night activity,” he said. “We skated and then walked around downtown. I would recommend ice skating for anyone who can handle the cold and likes downtown Colorado Springs.”
Group rates for 10 or more and private events, $650 for two hours, including skates and exclusive use of the rink, are available.
Discounts are also available for military members, and children under the age of 4 receive free admission with a paid adult.
For more information about Skate in the Park or the Shinny Tournament, call 719-385-6521.