A 30-foot blue spruce donated by a local couple will become the town's official Christmas tree and the centerpiece for the first annual Main Street holiday celebration Saturday, Dec. 8.
Featuring an electric light parade that begins at 6 p.m., the event "Christmas in Payson, a Traditional Hometown Celebration" will culminate in Santa's arrival, caroling and a tree lighting ceremony at Green Valley Park.
The parade, officially dubbed the APS Electric Light Parade, will begin at Sawmill Crossing and end at Green Valley Park. Spectators will be encouraged to follow the parade so everybody is at Green Valley Park when Santa, who will ride in a horse-drawn wagon, arrives and the tree is illuminated.
The singing Christmas tree will be on hand, and church choirs will participate in the caroling from the balcony of the Rim Country Museum. Local matriarch Anna Mae Deming will throw the switch that illuminates the tree with thousands of lights.
Admission to the museum will be free that evening.
Nonprofit vendors will be selling hot chocolate, cider, cookies and various other "munchies" along the parade route, and vans provided by Mazatzal Casino will provide a shuttle service along the route to Green Valley Park.
Holiday decorations purchased through an APS grant of $5,200 have arrived and will be installed Dec. 1.
The decorations include two street lines that will hang across both ends of Main Street and alternating wreaths and banners for the 42 light poles along Main Street, according to Main Street Manager Karen Greenspoon.
Twelve additional trees will be placed along Main Street, each decorated by students from one of the area's public and private schools.
"People will be able to vote for the best decorated tree, and the winning school will get a $50 certificate," Greenspoon said.
Additional decorations that have been donated include the Christmas cutouts made by Payson Mayor Ray Schum that were previously set up at Town Hall.
The 30-foot tree is being donated by Butch and Barbara Krauss who live on Airline Road.
"It's beginning to take over our yard," Barbara said. "It's beautiful and we've enjoyed it, but it's just encroaching on everything."
The tree will be trimmed in Green Valley Park beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. Volunteers are needed to assist with the decorating.
Parade entries, which must be lighted, are also still needed. The APS float will lead the parade, and several musical entries will be included.
Greenspoon is also still looking for businesses to sponsor portable toilets and for nonprofit organizations that want to sell hot beverages, cookies and other refreshments along Main Street.
To sign up for the parade, call the chamber at 474-4515. To volunteer, make a financial contribution, apply to have a refreshment booth, or otherwise contribute, call the Main Street office at 468-6074.
Co-sponsored by the Main Street Redevelopment Committee and the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, the entire event is being financed by grants and sponsorships.