Camp Christmas is almost ready. Is your Christmas spirit ready? You better get it ready.

Have you tried drinking eggnog?

Here is a shiny elk. Lonnie Hanzon's "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Here is a shiny elk. Lonnie Hanzon's "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

KEVIN-lighter

I was taking photos of canned-food sculptures at the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora when I noticed something magical down the hall.

I should have guessed it would be a run-in with Lonnie Hanzon, the artist behind the Wizard’s Chest’s look, a trash fashion show last year, multiple years of Denver Pride Fest installations and, now, Camp Christmas. His holiday project is set to open on Nov. 21, and he was kind enough to let me document things as they come together inside the Marketplace’s giant aircraft hanger. Hanzon is using every cubic foot available.

He recently told our colleague at CPR the project was inspired by his own childhood memories of Christmas, specifically special trips downtown to see gaudy department store windows dressed for the season. It’s a fitting origin story for an artist who went on to specialize in retail decor.

The show also owes its genesis to Hanzon’s backyard, which is famously dense with bric-a-brac just waiting to be turned into art. Hanzon’s husband, Terry Koepsel Hanzon, said a lot of the stuff they’re installing at the hanger came from their collection of stuff. He said the yard is pretty bare right about now.

Lonnie Hanzon's "Equality Cake" from 2015 under sheets behind home studio in Lakewood, May 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Lonnie Hanzon's "Equality Cake," a Pride Fest installation from 2015, in his Lakewood backyardm among other things. May 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Lonnie Hanzon's "illumination project" of "Towards A Global Ethic" in his home studio in Lakewood, May 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

lgbtq; pride; lonnie hanzon; public art; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado; lakewood; shrine to humanity;

Lonnie Hanzon's "illumination project" of "Towards A Global Ethic" in his home studio in Lakewood, May 31, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Camp Christmas begins and ends with a bar, Koepsel Hanzon said, and attendees can get “merit badges” and little stamps that will commemorate their progress through the holiday maze. There are a number of spaces that adhere to separate design traditions: deco, the Renaissance, the Victorian era, a very pink space called “Pinky’s Place” and, of course, an area dedicated to classic plastic Santa Clauses. A human Santa, in the flesh, will show up on Saturday mornings.

Here’s your look at the work in progress. You can get tickets to see the show in all its glory at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ website. The installation is a partnership with Off-Center, the DCPA’s “most adventurous programming wing.”

Karin Mirick works on the Renaissance room. Lonnie Hanzon's "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Karin Mirick works on the Renaissance room for "Camp Christmas," Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This is "Santa Land. " Lonnie Hanzon's "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This is "Santa Land." (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This is a pink horse. Lonnie Hanzon's "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This is a pink horse. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This scary blue horse appears to have been impaled by a peppermint spear. Lonnie Hanzon's "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This scary blue horse appears to have been impaled by a peppermint spear. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This is the art deco room. Lonnie Hanzon's "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This is the art deco room. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Lonnie Hanzon's "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Here's a piece for the Victorian room. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A fabulous chandelier above a bar that will greet visitors as they enter. Lonnie Hanzon's "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A fabulous chandelier above a bar that will greet visitors as they enter. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Lonnie Hanzon (purple) works as a mannequin yells. "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Lonnie Hanzon (purple) works as a mannequin yells. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

I saw a half of a Santa. Lonnie Hanzon's "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

I saw a half of a Santa. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A dense wheel of Santa. Lonnie Hanzon's "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A dense wheel of Santa. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The sun shines over the Renaissance room. Lonnie Hanzon's "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The sun shines over the Renaissance room. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Lonnie Hanzon's "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Lonnie Hanzon's "Camp Christmas" is under construction at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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