Every year, Mesa Verde hosts a Holiday Open House in early December, greeting locals and visitors from far away to a magical night. This year is different because the park will also officially end its yearlong Centennial celebration and kickoff the next 100 years.
The Centennial Finale will focus on Mesa Verde’s next century with a number of activities that will excite young people and adults alike. The day will end with the awe-inspiring illumination of Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America, and Spruce Tree House. (This will be the second and final time that Cliff Palace will be illuminated for the public; the first time was at last year’s Centennial Kickoff.)
Mesa Verde’s Centennial Celebration has been an important time to inspire children to become stewards of their nation’s cultural and natural resources. In this past year, students at nearby Manaugh Elementary School in Cortez became the first International Junior Rangers. These young people not only learned about the wonders of Mesa Verde, but the heritage the park shares with its Sister Parks, including Monte Alban and Paquime in Mexico and Caracol in Belize. Also in 2006, Mesa Verde hosted the largest group of student interns from Fort Lewis College in the five year history of the program. These college interns learned real work skills in archeology, interpretation, information technology, biology, and history by working in Mesa Verde’s research labs and offices. During the next 100 years, the park will continue to look toward developing a stewardship ethic and an excitement for preservation in the nation’s youth.
The Centennial Finale will be an unparalleled event, something that should not be missed. Many local individuals, businesses, organizations and associated tribes have worked together to ensure a spectacular and memorable evening to commemorate 100 years of preservation and education.
Plans are still underway so please visit this page in a few weeks for more detailed information. Until then, mark December 9 on your calendar!