Annual Parade Lights Up Main Street Saturday Night

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Main Street will fill with lights on Saturday night.

The annual Main Street Electric Light Parade kicks off at 6 p.m. when the first of approximately 48 entries heads down the road.

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Once again, Payson High School's marching band will fill the night with music.

But exactly how the makers of floats, decorators of trucks, and Christmas carolers will present themselves is mostly kept secret by the entrants, said Main Street Manager Carol McCauley.

In years past, the Grinch floated by in a coffin, courtesy of Messinger Payson Funeral Home, and all manner of brightly-lit classic cars shared the road with the Red Hat Ladies.

Arizona Public Service and Payson Fire Department trucks have been strung with too many lights to count.

This year promises to be equally fun.

Some Main Street merchants will have edible goodies available to the public.

All the watchers will know who took the time to don costumes, string lights, pass out fliers and goodies and play music, as several float announcers comment on the happenings up and down the parade route.

The parade will be announced by Dan Haapala, Doc Holliday, Kelly Watts, John and Lou Carpino, Farrell Thompson, Eddie Armer and DJ Craig.

The crew at Central Arizona Supply spent the past few years scoping out the competition, and this year has spent time each day for two weeks building their float.

There are many lights to strategically entwine.

"I would hate to say there will be 5,000 light bulbs, someone might count 4,998," Roger Radu of CAS said. "We are building the ultimate float you can possibly imagine."

Area churches are generally well represented in the annual parade and this year is no exception.

For 2006, Mount Cross Lutheran Church will have a life-size cross on its float.

Mount Cross parishioner Jerry Carlson made the cross from the dead branches of a "majestic alligator juniper."

The juniper grew near a cabin he purchased so his family could heal from the devastating loss of his wife.

Five judges -- Su Connell, Gary Cordell, Tina Bruess, Marty deMasi and Barbara Ganz -- will rate each entry on originality, quality, theme and overall "holidayness."

First, second and third place winners will each receive a plaque.

The parade begins at Sawmill Crossing and ends on Summit Street.

Summit will be closed to parking because that is where the floats de-stage.

The parade ends near Green Valley Park.

"We have a new town Christmas tree," said Main Street Program Secretary Cathy Boone. "We plan to light it up after the parade.

"The town has another surprise, not fireworks, after the parade," she added.

Shuttle service from Payson High School to the parade begins at 5:15 p.m. The shuttle will be available to take people back to their vehicles when the parade is over.

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