Forget those woefully premature decorations you started seeing in October. In Payson, the season to be jolly doesn't officially begin until the Swiss Village Shopping Center lights up like a Christmas tree and that gala annual event will commence Friday at 6 p.m.
The 21st Annual Lighting Festival will begin with a performance by the singers of the Living Christmas Tree a band of carolers who arrange themselves on a series of platforms which form the shape of the season's greenest symbol.
Swiss Village shops will be open until 9 p.m., offering refreshments, shopping and a luminaria-studded walkway from one end to the other.
As is traditional every year, Santa Claus will make an appearance, arriving on one of Payson's finest fire engines to hand out candy and pose for pictures with his fans.
And at 7 p.m., the entire Swiss Village complex will take on the electric glow of the holidays.
This year's program has been made possible by the combined efforts of the Swiss Village merchants, the Payson Police and Fire departments, the First Assembly of God, KMOG Radio, the Payson Roundup, the Boy Scouts, the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and Beeline Business Equipment.