If you've ever wondered why Santa scarfs so many cookies, it might be so he can have the strength and energy to ring in the Christmas season in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Every year, the town hosts its lighting ceremony at the beginning of December by holding a race in which more than 100 people donning Santa costumes run a mile down Main Street.
There are trips, there are falls, and there are hundreds of spectators there to relish in the excitement.
"We traveled in from around the world for the running of the Santas," said one racer who chose to dress as a Christmas tree. "It's all about comfort. You have to be ready for the run. You have to be streamlined — you need to be warm."
In most places a race is the main event, but here, this race is only a pregame for the highlight that soon envelopes the crisp mountain air as the town's mayor signals for the town to turn on its more than 250,000 lights that span 13,000 feet.
"This is the most Christmas-y place we could find and so we flew all the way here [from Orlando]," said Allie Schnacky, who was with her friend Carol Chavez.
"It's just an awesome vibe," added Eddie Bartnick, a Breckenridge local. "Everybody's in a good mood, you know, everybody just wants to come out and have a good time and see everybody."
On this night, it is 15 degrees and snowing — a literal snow globe for people to revel in the holiday spirit. There are carolers singing their favorite Christmas tunes, an abundance of hot cocoa, and more dogs than there are hands to pet them.
Families can be seen taking photos. Couples can be seen kissing under the mistletoe. And kids can be seen throwing handfuls of snow at each other as the smiles on their faces only grow larger.
"I mean it feels more like Christmas, man," said Madison Younginger who flew in from South Carolina with a few friends. He dons an oxygen canister in his right hand that he periodically takes puffs from to offset the 9,000 feet in elevation. "It feels like winter. You come here, everything is snowing, it's perfect timing too. Can't ask for anything more. Going to go skiing the next five days and tear it up."
This is what the holidays are about: festive ambiance and togetherness, and those in Breckenridge know how to race to make it happen every year.
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