Ah, 2019… A simpler time that brought us Lizzo, “Old Town Road,” the finale of “Game of Thrones” and, of course, Camp Christmas.
From the whimsical mind of local installation artist Lonnie Hanzon and produced with help from DCPA Off-Center, Camp Christmas made its debut almost a year ago in the 10,000-square-foot Hangar at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora. Nearly 70,000 people visited Camp Christmas, which featured two bars, visits with Santa, and 13 highly Instagrammable areas. Who can forget the candy-cane-carousel version of Blucifer or Marie Antoinette commanding a Rococo sleigh? Or the entirely pink room, complete with a pink glitter horse?
Hanzon and DCPA Off-Center Curator Charlie Miller were in talks to remount Camp Christmas for its second year in Colorado and potentially even expand into other cities when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. When gathering in large crowds was no longer an option, Hanzon knew he had to pivot.
“You can’t go to Camp Christmas, but we’re bringing Camp Christmas to you,” Hanzon told Westword.
This year, campers will experience a hybrid digital and mail delivery version of Hanzon’s fictional campgrounds. Starting at $10, campers can access online content and receive up to five delivered packages that come with a wide variety of Christmas-themed activities. Packages go on sale November 1 and campers can begin their adventures November 20.
The digital experience of Camp Christmas will take place on a web-based app where campers can explore an expansive fictional and illustrated land, featuring fantastical places such as Sweetsville, Fairy Forest, and Treehouse Village. Each location will feature multimedia content about the stories, history, and traditions surrounding the season as well as in-home activities to complete. Campers can earn badges and track their progress as they complete activities in the online world. Daily video broadcasts counting down to Christmas will take place starting in December.
The starter package, called “Base Camp,” includes access to the online world, special events, and a few materials mailed to homes to get participants started. Campers can also purchase more robust Adventure Bundles starting at $30, which unlock additional areas of the virtual map with more activities and bonus content, as well as materials to complete the activities.
“Christmas and the joy that comes with it is needed now more than ever,” said Hanzon. “Following the success of the in-person Camp Christmas last year, I am excited to offer some of that same magic in a way that is totally safe and, hopefully, allows us all to escape from reality for a little while.”
THE NITTY GRITTY
Hanzon Studios presents
Created in association with DCPA Off-Center
On sale to the public on November 1, 2020
Shipping begins November 18, 2020
Virtual access begins on November 20, 2020
Virtual access ends January 5, 2021
To sign up for an alert when Camp Christmas goes on sale, visit camp-christmas.com.
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is not responsible for 2020 Camp Christmas sales.
ABOUT THE CREATOR
Lonnie Hanzon is a Colorado-based artist, best known in Denver for designing the Evolution of the Ball sculpture at Coors Field, The Wizard’s Chest, and the Clocktower Cabaret, as well as early Parade of Lights floats. Other major Colorado installations can be seen at Palazzo Verdi, Museum of Outdoor Arts, Marjorie Park, Red Rocks Community College, Denver Pride celebrations and throughout the Kenneth King Performing Arts Center. His national and international work includes large outdoor urban entertainment projects including Houston Zoo Lights, immersive visual merchandising displays and fine art for Neiman Marcus, and large-scale displays and events at Hong Kong’s Pacific Place. www.lonniehanzon.com