A new Rim country holiday tradition "Christmas in Payson, a Traditional Hometown Celebration" will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, with an electric light parade down Main Street, culminating in Santa's arrival, caroling and a tree-lighting ceremony at Green Valley Park.
Also featured will be festive street decorations purchased through a grant of $5,200 from Arizona Public Service.
"We have ordered two street lines that will hang across Main Street at the beginning and end, complete with wreaths, garlands and lights," Main Street Manager Karen Greenspoon said. "We've also ordered alternating wreaths and banners for all the light poles on Main Street. In addition to the $5,200, APS is putting electrical outlets on each pole for us."
As a crowning touch, Payson Mayor Ray Schum has donated his Christmas cutouts that are displayed annually at Town Hall.
"The Morning Rotary Club has agreed to refurbish them and put them up," Greenspoon said. "We're going to the individual businesses and asking them to display and maintain them. We plan to place them intermittently down Main Street, and then some at Green Valley Park."
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.
"The chamber is going to help with the parade, by getting businesses and individuals to enter," Greenspoon said. "All entries, including people and horses, must be lighted."
While plans are still being finalized, Greenspoon says many of the pieces are in place:
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 arrives and the tree is lit.
Nonprofit vendors will be selling hot chocolate, cider, cookies and various other "munchies" along the parade route.
The APS float will lead the parade, and the committee hopes to line up several bands and other musical entries.
Santa will ride at the end of the parade. Greenspoon is looking for a sleigh Santa can borrow for the evening.
Church choirs will participate in the caroling at Green Valley Park.
Greenspoon is hoping to find a 30-foot tree to decorate in the park. School children will be invited to make ornaments, and businesses asked to fund the purchase of lights.
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.