With just the faintest hint of fall in the air, thoughts down on Main Street are already turning to the holiday season and to making the second annual electric light parade and Christmas celebration bigger and better than last year's inaugural event.
"The temperature is still in the 80s, but it's not too early to start thinking about Christmas," said Marilyn Wolfe, chairperson of the year's event. The event is officially known as the Main Street/Arizona Public Service Electric Light Parade: Christmas in Payson, a Traditional Hometown Celebration.
"We want to get people thinking about their entries and we want to get information out to people about the converters and other things they can use to light their entries," Wolfe said. She emphasized that while all entries, including people and horses, must be lit, participants do not need to be lighting experts to participate.
The parade and related festivities will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, beginning at 6 p.m.
Last year's inaugural event, which attracted a large crowd, included the electric light parade down Main Street and culminated in Santa's arrival at the end of the parade, caroling with several church choirs participating, and the lighting of the town's official Christmas tree in Green Valley Park. Hot chocolate, cider, cookies and other seasonal munchies were available from vendors along the parade route.
Main Street was adorned with more than $5,000 worth of new street decorations, including alternating wreaths and banners on all the vintage light poles on Main Street. The decorations were purchased with a grant from APS.
Local schools also competed in a tree decorating event that added to the festive atmosphere.
The APS float will once again lead this year's parade, and Wolfe hopes to line up several bands and other musical entries.
She has put together a group of community members to assist with this year's parade and her committee is holding its initial meeting Sept. 24.
Parade entry applications should be available beginning Oct. 7 at the Main Street office at 501 W. Main Street and the Community Development office at Town Hall, Wolfe said.
Entry fees are $50 for businesses, $25 for nonprofit organizations, and $10 for individuals. Fee for a vendor booth space is $10.
Prizes will be awarded in several parade categories.
"We were so thrilled last year when the first parade was such a success," Wolfe said. "This year, it can only get better."
More volunteers are needed to assist in areas like decorating, staging, organizing and tabulating. To volunteer, call the Main Street office at 468-6074 or Wolfe at 474-6115.
Main Street Project Manager Karen Greenspoon emphasizes that the entire event is financed by grants and sponsorships.