The employees of Central Arizona Supply have been scoping out the annual Main Street Electric Light Parade for the past several Christmases.
"We are building the ultimate float you can possibly imagine," project instigator Roger Radu called down from his lofty perch. He shared the fun and excitement of building the ultimate float while he stood halfway up a ladder in order to create the next tier of a tannenbaum.
"It might not look like much now, but believe it or not we have a tight schedule for this project," he said.
That tight schedule included tests for stability and height while driving down Main Street.
"We had to cut the tree down because it was very tall," he said.
By the time this article is printed, Radu, Bob Icard, "Sparky," Ben D'Addabbo, Jesse Davis and Steve Castello will be in their float-building-glory.
"We wanted something that when kids saw it they would say, ‘WOW!' and it would really make an impact," Radu said.
There are many, many lights to strategically entwine.
"I would hate to say there will be 5,000 light bulbs, someone might count 4,998, " Radu said, then laughed.
There are faux presents to decorate.
There is a mountain landscape to create. (Hint: there will be snow along a particular stretch of road in Payson on Dec. 2.)
And, there is a skirt to put around the trailer bed so the trailer will look more like a stand-alone float.
"We are working on it a little bit each day until parade day," Radu said.
Santa's Helper on the float will be responsible for giving candy to more helpers who will distribute it to children watching the parade.
As CAS's parade entry takes shape, Radu said he is finding bystanders, customers and employee spouses want to get involved.
And, there is another special surprise in conjunction with the float -- but Radu was tight-lipped. To tell more would give the excitement away.
CAS's float is only one of 48 entries that will trundle brightly down Main Street at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2.
Four or five judges will rate each entry on originality, quality, theme and overall "holidayness" according to Main Street program secretary Cathy Boone.
First-, second- and third-place winners will each win a plaque.
This year, so all the watchers will know just who went to the effort and time to don costumes, string lights, pass out flyers and goodies and play music, there will be a number of float announcers up and down the parade route.
The parade begins at Sawmill Crossing and ends at Summit St. Summit will be closed to parking because that is where the floats de-stage.
There is shuttle service from Payson High School to the parade beginning at 5:15 p.m. and the shuttle will also be available to take people back to their vehicles.
Some of the merchants on Main Street will have edible goodies available to the public.
The parade ends near Green Valley Park.
"We have a new town Christmas tree," Boone said. "We plan to light it up after the parade and the town has another surprise -- but not fireworks -- after the parade."