Christmas in the Rim country starts this weekend with the traditional Swiss Village Christmas Lighting program, then the holiday moves into high gear next weekend with both the annual Pine Community Christmas Party, Dec. 3, and the Main Street/APS Electric Light Parade on Saturday. This will be followed on Sunday, Dec. 5 with the return of the Payson Christian Ministerial Fellowship's Christmas program, it has been three years since the last presentation, according to director Eric Santana.
The program, "Spirit of Christmas" is a live musical drama. There will be two performances at the Payson High School Auditorium, one at 2 p.m., with the second at 6 p.m.
"It's an awesome, action-packed program," Santana said.
The music will be upbeat and a combination of both traditional and new songs, he said.
"There will be holiday surprises and a community sing-a-long," Santana said.
There are about 20 people participating in the 90-minute program, which features a full-blown performance with special effects. Santana said they have been preparing for about eight weeks.
Among the churches represented by the participants are Calvary Chapel, Mountain Bible Evangelical Free Church, Church of the Nazarene and Payson United Methodist Church.
The program's musicians will include Don Brooks, Michael Stoll, Issac Bradford, Dennis Lee, Mark Sopeland, Rick Quigley, Linda Jackson and Les Barr. Providing the vocals will be Robbie Ritter, Melissa Stoll, Alicia Sexton, Daniel Conway and Eric Santana. Cassie Bradford is also part of the cast.
Working backstage are Carol Quigley, Michael Ottero, Michael Estebanez, Melissa Durbin and Carol Davis; Alicia Sexton and Deb Santana; Adam Quarles, Greg Schloesser and Eric Santana II.
Santana said while almost everything is ready for the program, they still need artificial Christmas trees and lights. To make a donation, contact Santana at (928) 474-1775.
Tickets are free and are available at area churches and participating businesses.
Holiday Happenings for your Christmas Calendar
Dusk - Swiss Village Christmas Lighting Ceremony, Swiss Village Shops, Payson.
6 p.m. - Pine Community Christmas Party and Christmas Tree Auction, Pine Community Center Cultural Hall.
11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. - Tamales for Toys, Payson Elks Lodge.
3:30 p.m. - Payson Community Christmas Party with Santa, Julia Randall Elementary School.
6 p.m. - Main Street/APS Electric Light Parade and Town Tree Lighting, starts at Meadow and heads west on Main Street to Green Valley Park.
2 p.m. and 6 p.m. - Payson Christian Ministerial Fellowship's Christmas program, "Spirit of Christmas" at Payson High School Auditorium. Donations accepted.
7 p.m. - Gila Community College Student Recital, Room 301, GCC, 202 N. Mud Springs Road, Payson.
6:30 p.m. - Holiday Piano and Poetry, Gila Community College, Room 301, 202 N. Mud Springs Road, Payson. Donations accepted.
1 p.m. to 4 p.m. - Star Valley Community Christmas Party with gifts for children, ages 12 and younger, hosted by the Loyal Order of Moose at the Greater Payson Area Moose Lodge, 255903 E. Highway 260, Star Valley.
3 p.m. - Payson Children's Choir presents "A Candle for Peace," Room 301 Gila Community College, 202 N. Mud Springs Road, Payson. Admission is $3 per person or $10 per family.
2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. - Payson Choral Society presents "Sounds of Christmas" at Payson High School Auditorium. Admission is $8 for adults and $3 for students, 12 to 18.
Editor's note: If your community holiday program has been missed, we apologize. Send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop a notice at the Roundup office, 708 N. Beeline Highway, Payson, for inclusion in future listings.