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Sharing in the spirit of the star

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Cmdr. John Anderson, who has lived in Castle Rock his entire life, remembers attending a Starlighting when he was 8 years old.

And although the spirit of the annual celebration, which kicks off the holiday season in Castle Rock, remains the same hometown vibe as it always has been, the crowds are nowhere like they used to be.

“There are enormous crowds tonight," Anderson said, "probably around 15,000, compared to 50 years ago when there were only 200 people.”

He and Sgt. Mark Ruisi have worked the Starlighting for more than 30 years, making sure the large crowds are safe as they enjoy the festivities of the night, which were capped Nov. 18 by the lighting of the star on The Rock amid a spectacular burst of fireworks.

The Starlighting tradition, which dates back to 1936, always takes place on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. This year's festivities included hot chocolate, booths manned by nonprofit organizations, entertainers strolling along the streets, live entertainment and, of course, Santa.

For Cindy Callin, there's nothing quite like the night. She brought her sister-in-law Julie Devoss, visiting from Wisconsin, to take in the warmth and spirit of community.

Devoss agreed that the celebration — and people — were special. “Everybody here," she said, "is really friendly.”

— Jane Boyd/Castle View High School

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