Spectators lining Main Street Saturday evening will see a bigger and better Electric Light Parade than last year’s inaugural event.
“It’s going to be huge,” said Karen Greenspoon, Main Street project manager. “We will have close to 60 vehicles in the parade 20 more than last year.” Every entry in the parade is required to have lights.
Food vendors, featuring such delicacies as Krispy Kreme doughnuts, See’s candies, cinnamon rolls, cookies, chili and hot dogs, along with seasonal beverages like hot chocolate and cider, will line the parade route, which runs from Sawmill Crossing to Green Valley Park.
“We have a dozen food and beverage vendors this year, which is eight more than last year,” Greenspoon said.
Town tree lighting
Four singing groups will perform along Main Street before the parade, then they will combine into a single chorus to sing carols at the Hometown Christmas Celebration tree lighting ceremony that follows at Green Valley Park. They’ll be joined by Santa Claus, who will ride at the end of the parade, and local dignitaries including town historian Stan Brown, Vice Mayor Barbara Brewer and Town Manager Fred Carpenter, who will serve as master of ceremonies.
The focal point for the festivities at Green Valley Park will be the town’s new official Christmas tree, an 18-foot Arizona white fir trucked from Colorado and planted next to the park’s largest lake. “The tree lights are up and ready to go,” Greenspoon said.
The switch that turns them on will be thrown this year by Cucina Paradiso Italian restaurant co-owners John Posteraro and Gerardo Moceri. They recently received the National Restaurant Association’s “Restaurant Neighbor Award” for serving 30,000 meals to victims of the Rodeo-Chediski Fire at the evacuation center at Rim Country Middle School.
Tree decorating competition
Holiday decorations purchased last year through a grant from APS, will add to the festive atmosphere. They include alternating wreaths and banners on the 42 old-fashioned light poles that line Main Street.
Another festive feature: the 12 Christmas trees that will be decorated by children from each of the Rim country’s public and private schools. This year the trees are all located in the vacant lot between Main St. Paint and the Baptist Church
Finishing touches are being put on the trees Friday, and residents can vote for their favorite at Main Street businesses.
People attending the parade, which begins at 6 p.m., are asked not to park at Sawmill Crossing because it will serve as the staging area for the parade. Parking will be available at Green Valley Park, Julia Randall Elementary School, Gila County office and court complex, Payson Woman’s Club, and Community Presbyterian Church, as well as businesses in the area, according to Marilyn Wolfe, parade chairperson.
Main Street will be closed to vehicular traffic beginning at 5:30 p.m. until the conclusion of the parade.
Mazatzal Casino will provide a complimentary shuttle service along the route to Green Valley Park before and after the parade.