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Event Round-up: Grand Illumination Celebration, the Rocky Mountain Toy Train Show & More!

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Friday. Downtown Denver lights up for the holidays at the annual Grand Illumination celebration. Starting with the twinkling lights at Skyline Park, the Grand Illumination fires up the hundreds of thousands of white bulbs along the Mall, too. Head to Union Station to see the lights go up on the building and its distinctive Christmas tree out front — carolers, snacks and kids’ crafts add to the festivities. The big finale comes at 6:45 p.m., when the switch gets thrown on the giant display at the City and County Building at Bannock Street and Colfax Avenue. To make an evening of it, take a stroll through Larimer Square to check out the “LoDo Aglow” store-window displays, too. The Grand Illumination begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Skyline Park, Arapahoe and 16th Streets. Admission is free. Learn more at downtowndenver.com.

Saturday-Sunday. The Rocky Mountain Toy Train Show is arriving right on schedule, just in time for holiday gift-giving — and gift-begging. Train buffs of all ages can take in operating model trains in a variety of sizes and scales, plus chat with vendors, join clinics and meet fellow hobbyists. There’s a special area for kids as well, featuring hands-on models, a ride-able train and engineer photos. Santa will also be in attendance and available, as usual, for photo opportunities. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Denver Merchandise Mart, 451 E. 58th Ave.; 303-292-6278. Admission is $8 for adults and kids age 12 and older, and good for both days. Scouts and military personnel in uniform are admitted free. Visit rockymountaintoytrainshow.com for more information.

Friday. Denver’s not the only city lighting up — Littleton hosts its 27th annual candlelight walk and tree ceremony in its historic downtown district. Arrive early for free hot cider and music at select downtown locations, including the Town Hall Arts Center and Bega Park. At 6:30 p.m., follow Santa on his walk from the courthouse to the west end of Main Street, where he and a lucky kid helper will flip the lights on Main Street’s trees. Bring a flashlight for the candlelight walk, or buy a candle at participating locations for 50 cents. Nonperishable food donations and toy donations will be accepted, too. 5:15 p.m. tonight. Downtown Littleton, Main Street. Admission is free. Learn more at downtownlittleton.com or call 303-795-3863.

Through Dec. 5. Can’t wait to see “The Nutcracker” this season? The Boulder Ballet is already en pointe with their production of the holiday ballet, starting Friday. The company’s version of the classic tale incorporates special effects, elements of circus artistry and a few additional characters to create a “Nutcracker” of their own. Best of all, the Boulder Ballet’s “Nutcracker” features live music, performed by the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boulder Children’s Chorale. On Dec. 4 and 5, the production moves to Longmont for two performances with the Longmont Symphony Orchestra. 4 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Macky Auditorium, 17th Street and University Avenue, Boulder. Tickets are $15-$82. For more information, visit boulderballet.org.

-Kathleen St. John

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