Fun Facts About The Castle Rock Starlighting Ceremony

Fun Facts About The Castle Rock Starlighting Ceremony

Ok... you've heard me go on and on about the amazing community events Castle Rock has to offer. Far and wide, the Starlighting Ceremony is the most popular and most meaningful for residents! Here is a fun article with great facts about this family fun event. Bundle up and come help us Light The Star! --Melanie Bentley

Link to full article below.


Shining bright throughout the decades

Castle Rock's starlighting tradition is rich in history

The star atop 'the rock" in Castle Rock was first built in 1936. This year will be the 80th Starlighting event for the town. The star atop 'the rock" in Castle Rock was first built in 1936. This year will be the 80th Starlighting event for the town.


Jessica Gibbs

Some might say the star that sits atop “the rock” in Castle Rock has seen it all.

Since 1936, the star has watched Castle Rock grow from a community of roughly 500 to a town of more than 60,000 people. And, illuminated or not, the structure has watched history unfold from its perch.

The star saw the rise and fall of historic town structures, such as the original courthouse building.

It weathered the Great Depression.

When the end of World War II was announced, the fire department rang its siren for an hour straight, and off-and-on throughout the night. Meanwhile, the star looked down as residents celebrated in the streets. It was temporarily replaced with a "V" for "victory."

The end to the war was a reincarnation of sorts for the star. Castle Rock didn't light it at all from 1942-44 because of energy restrictions. Normally, mention of the Starlighting — the town's annual kickoff to the holiday season — appeared in the paper, said Shaun Boyd, an archivist with the Douglas County History Research Center. But not during that time.

“They just didn't say anything about it at all,” she said.

Fun facts about the star

• In 1963, the town delayed the Starlighting by a couple weeks out of respect for President John. F. Kennedy's death.

• It stood fast as floodwaters surged during the flood of 1965 and engulfed the livelihood of those below.

• During the energy crisis of the 1970s, the star did its part by only shining from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

• It remained lit for several weeks following 9/11 to honor the lives lost.

And as hikers come each season to walk the landmark's trails, it patiently waits for them to reach the top.

There wasn't always a ceremony paired with the annual Starlighting, Boyd said. That didn't start until 1965. The town used to turn on the star without any pomp and circumstance on Dec. 1 each year.

Some of the first ceremonies brought townsfolk together for a massed-choir march along Wilcox Street and performances by the local marching band.

Today, there's hot chocolate, vendors and a fireworks show.

Some ups and downs

Aside from historical moments, the star's personal history is one marked with ups and downs.

It has survived fits of vandalism. The first mention of vandalism was in 1940, Boyd said. Then in 1955, the town council appealed to local youngsters to stop shooting out the bulbs.

“Anyone caught molesting the star will be prosecuted,” a newspaper article read.

In 1962, authorities finally arrested six teens who were said to be more afraid of telling their parents than of the $12.50 fine they received.

Boyd has read every article she can find that local newspapers wrote between 1936, the year the star was constructed, and 1975.

The star was built in part to compete with Palmer Lake, Boyd said, which had gained some notoriety from its Starlighting tradition. Castle Rock wanted the same tourism pull.

“People wanted it to be something visible that Castle Rock would become known for,” Boyd said.

Today, both towns continue the tradition.

Palmer Lake celebrated the 80th anniversary of its Starlighting tradition last year. The community began its tradition in 1935 when, according to the Palmer Lake Historical Society website, B.E. Jack envisioned a star on Sundance Mountain that would be noticeable for miles.

Castle Rock's version also grew into a signature event, Boyd said, that helps celebrate the past, present and the future.

“These kinds of events,” she said, “pull people together to form communities.”

Full article here:,239020

TJ ORourke Headshot
Phone: 303-810-8775
Dated: November 17th 2016
Views: 885
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