Mesa Verde National Park canceled its annual luminaria event, but the show will go on in Dolores on Dec. 8.
Mesa Verde Country will host a Luminaria Night celebration at the Anasazi Heritage Center at 27501 Colorado Highway 184, on Thursday, Dec. 8 from 5 to 8 p.m.
“We are thrilled to be able to relocate this event that has become such a treasured tradition for locals and visitors alike,” says Kelly Kirkpatrick, Tourism Director at Mesa Verde Country. “The Anasazi Heritage Center is the perfect location for this unforgettable evening of sight and sound, and we invite everyone to bundle up and come out to join us on Dec. 8.”
National Park officials canceled the event because of safety and stability concerns at Spruce Tree House, which has been closed to visitors since October 2015.
Luminaria comes from a Latin word meaning “lights” and is defined as a traditional Mexican Christmas lantern. Thousands of glowing luminarias will line the path to the Escalante Pueblo, one of two 12th-century settlements on the grounds of the museum. The sites were named after Spanish friars who explored the area in 1776 and became the first to record archaeological sites in Colorado. They were excavated and stabilized 200 years later.
The event also will feature planet viewing and star gazing with park rangers and volunteers, hot cocoa and cider, and free admission to the museum exhibits. Entertainment will be provided by David Night Eagle and others.
There is no parking along Colorado Highway 184, and parking at the Anasazi Heritage Center is limited to handicap accessibility only. Free shuttles will run continuously the entire evening from the Colorado Welcome Center, 928 E. Main in Cortez, to the museum.
The event is presented by Mesa Verde Country, the City of Cortez, Empire Electric Association, the Anasazi Heritage Center, Mesa Verde National Park and the Bureau of Land Management. For more information, visit MesaVerdeCountry.com.