Bonfires on Bent Street has got to be one of the most heart-warming holiday festivities I have ever had the pleasure of attending.
Bonfires on Bent Street, photo by Beth Dobos
On Saturday, December 12, 2015, the areas of the John Dunn shops and Bent Street were transformed into a warm and welcoming holiday celebration. Several fire pits were set up throughout the pedestrian walkway of the John Dunn shops, as well as in front of the stores on Bent Street. They provided light and warmth in the cold winter air, while free hot chocolate and hot cider warmed people up on the inside. Farolitos, also known as luminaria, lined the pathways.
Christmas Carolers at Bonfires on Bent Street, photo by Beth Dobos
There were performances, too. Christmas carolers filled the air with holiday magic as they sang “O Holy Night.” The Azteca Dancers performed a traditional Aztec dance in front of the John Dunn shops. On Bent Street, a man played bagpipes.
Azteca Dancers at Bonfires on Bent Street, photo by Beth Dobos
The food was abundant. People set up tables from which they served green chile stew, posole, tamales, chips and salsa to anyone who was hungry — free of charge. One fire pit was used for roasting marshmallows and another was used to make banana boats (roasted bananas with walnuts inside). Additionally, the stores offered their own treats inside including cookies, a cheese plate and hot tea. There was no pressure from the store owners to buy things, either.
Green chile, posole and tamales being served up at Bonfires on Bent Street, photo by Beth Dobos
At one point while walking towards a gallery, I accidentally tripped over a landscape barrier and fell onto the concrete. I was not even on the ground for more than a second before people on each side of me lifted me back to my feet while asking if I was okay.
Bonfires on Bent Street truly exemplified what the holiday spirit is all about: community, generosity, sharing and warmth in all of their forms.
A woman and her daughter roast marshmallows at one of the Bonfires on Bent Street, photo by Beth Dobos