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One enchanted evening

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20th Annual Tommyknocker Events in Central City

by Pam Deck

The weather was perfect, the moon was full, and the company delightful. What better way to begin the Holiday festivities? This year’s 20th Annual Tommyknocker Events were held in the historic and beloved Teller House. The Gilpin County Historical Society, headed by Barbara Thieleman, cherishes December 1st and this year it happened on a Friday. The “Lighting of the Tree” began at 6:20 pm. The City of Central chose a beautiful 50 foot tree that was placed on the south side of Main Street. Mayor Kathleen Heider had the honor of making it bright while Ron Engels, Gilpin County Commissioner, passed out candles to the large group that gathered.  Our “Victorian Newlyweds,” Jonas and Jaclyn Schrack led the way followed by City Manager Daniel Miera and family. Many local families strolled down Main Street singing Christmas Carols heading toward the famous Teller House.

The locals brought their favorite dishes to share for the traditional community potluck. And lucky it was, because there was plenty to feed the large crowd of approximately 200. More tables and chairs were set up and all were merry as they filled their bellies and hearts. Children made second rounds to the dessert table while some of us begged for recipes. This wonderful meal was followed by music and entertainment.

“Winter Mischief” was the title of the production that The Peak to Peak Chorale graced us with. It was larger and better than ever. They told tall tales of Tommyknockers” (those little mythical creatures the miners used to keep them company) and acted out a creative story interspersed with 13 songs. It began with “Colorado Christmas” which the crowd loved. People of all ages felt like they had front row seats in a wonderful theatre. The Weekly Register-Call’s very own David Josselyn was the bemusing Tommyknocker named Jack. The energy of Choir Director Jane Wyss and her sister Ann was the icing on the cake. It was full hour of entertainment and fun.

Lest we forget, they also had an “Ugly Sweater” Contest with some 25 participants. Mary Sheeba was the winner and took home a beautiful evergreen wreath.

As the evening wore on, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was what it was really like in the days when the Teller House was the “most opulent hotel” west of Chicago. I think Henry Teller would be proud of the community that came to his house on December 1, 2017. So many happy faces where friends and neighbors gathered to celebrate yet another beautiful season. It sure started my December off with a warm heart and a full belly.

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