It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and the Christmas events and activities are coming on fast and furious — starting today.
Christmas for Kids drive
It’s that time a year again when we open our wallets and donate generously to those in need during the holiday season.
Once again, Rim Country’s emergency first responders are asking for help to raise enough money to fund the Public Safety Christmas for Kids drive.
The annual event is a way to collect money to fund shopping trips for at least 400 to 500 children at Walmart.
An officer or firefighter accompanies each child for the shopping extravaganza later in December. Families also receive a food basket from the Rim Country Optimist Club.
Throughout the year, organizations like the Department of Public Safety hold events to raise money to fund the program.
Coming up Nov. 26 — Black Friday — DPS will be collecting new toys in the Walmart parking lot. All of the toys will be donated to children registered with the program in addition to the shopping trip they take, said DPS Sgt. Terry Lincoln.
Along with the toy drive, the local firefighters will host the Tamales for Toys at Gerardo’s on Dec. 4.
Parents can register their children for Christmas for Kids Dec. 4 at Town Hall.
Application requirements to participate in the 2010 Christmas for Kids program are as follows:
• Applicants must provide two forms of I.D. along with child’s birth certificate.
• Applicants must provide proof of residency in northern Gila County, such as a lease agreement or utility bill.
• Applicants must provide proof of total household income.
• Children must be living with applicant.
• Only one application per household will be accepted.
Swiss Village Christmas Lighting
The merchants of Swiss Village invite Rim Country residents and visitors to join them from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 26 for the annual Swiss Village Christmas Lighting ceremony.
Entertainment planned includes dancers at 5 p.m. and carolers from area schools, both beginning at 5 p.m. The lights come on at 6 p.m. and Santa will arrive by fire truck. There will be an opportunity to have photos taken with Santa, shopping and refreshments.
Festival of Lights
All of Pine is gearing up for the annual Festival of Lights, planned for Saturday, Nov. 27 and Sunday, Nov. 28.
Some the highlights include a two-day Christmas Craft Show in the Cultural Hall, a visit from Santa Claus, refreshments, music, story-telling, a jingle bell parade, caroling, and, of course, the lighting ceremony.
The fun begins on Saturday at noon. One afternoon highlight will be the Salsa Recipe Challenge taking place at 1 p.m. There will be two divisions — the professional category for restaurants and the non-professional category. The parade and tree lighting ceremony begin around 6 p.m.
15th Celebration of Life
Remember and honor the passing of a loved one during the holidays by celebrating their life through Hospice Compassus Rim Country Hospice Foundation, Messinger’s Funeral Home and Gerardo’s Restaurant Celebration of Life program at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 1.
The Celebration of Life has become a holiday tradition for many. The commemoration will be at Mountain Bible Church, 302 E. Rancho Road, Payson. The evening includes prayers and remembrances, music and a tree lighting ceremony. Gerardo Moceri provides a full-course meal.
The event is free of charge and open to the community. Personalized crystal angel ornaments can be ordered for $12 per ornament. You do not have to attend to order ornaments. The sponsors are requesting the donation of a can of food to be given to the Rim Country St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank.
Those who have received an invitation are asked to complete the form and return it to Hospice Compassus. For those not on the mailing list, call Hospice Compassus at (928) 472-6340 to order ornaments or let the staff know if you will be attending.
Young holiday bazaar
The 2010 Community Holiday Bazaar will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 3 and Saturday, Dec. 4 and from noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 5. The 11th annual bazaar will be at the newly expanded Braswell’s Chuckwagon in Young.
The Steer 4-H Group (T-Bone Taxis) and individuals will have breads, cakes, coffee cakes, cookies, pies, tamales and burros for sale. Hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies will be sold and served on site.
Anyone with something to add and wishing to participate, please call Carol Braswell at (928) 462-3661. Proceeds go to the individuals making the craft or food items.
GCC Art Show
The Payson campus of Gila Community College will hold its Third Annual Art Show and Sale from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 3. Student artwork from drawing, digital photography and Photoshop, watercolor, oil painting, scrapbooking, ceramics, paper crafts, folk art, jewelry, graphic design and quilting will be on display.
Christmas Tree Auction
Pine Strawberry School will have its annual Christmas Tree Auction, a quilt auction, poinsettias and more at 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 3. Enjoy cookies and hot chocolate, plus a visit from Santa. The event will be in the Pine Strawberry School gym.
Fund-raising events for youth
Support Rim Country gifted youth with several upcoming fund-raisers. Students are raising money for a trip to Washington, D.C.
Making plans for a holiday party? Order delicious green chili burros to assist the group. Five cost only $10. Order by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text an order to (928) 478-1535. Orders will be available for pickup Dec. 4 at the middle school.
For more information about how you can help students visit our nation’s capital, e-mail email@example.com, or call the cell number listed above.
Electric light parade
It’s that time of year again — Saturday, Dec. 4 the 10th Annual Main Street Parade will transform Historic Main Street into a magical holiday wonderland.
The parade will proceed west on Main Street from Sawmill Crossing to Julia Randall Elementary starting at 6 p.m. Immediately following the parade come to Santa’s Workshop at the Ox Bow for more fun for the kids.
Spirit of Christmas
The Spirit of Christmas will be presented at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 5 at the Payson High School auditorium. Residents and visitors are invited to come enjoy a contemporary musical production. Admission is free, but the sponsors, churches throughout the community, ask guests to bring a can or box of food to support the area’s food bank.
Holiday lighting contest
Entries for the Sixth Annual Light the Rim holiday lighting contest are being accepted until Dec. 10. Sponsored by Payson Regional Medical Center, the Payson Roundup and the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, there will be a $300 first prize; $200 second prize; $100 third prize; and three $50 awards for honorable mention.
Entries will be judged Dec. 15 and 16, with winners announced and a map made available for touring Dec. 21.
Entry forms are at the chamber office, 100 W. Main; the Roundup, 708 N. Beeline; or online at www.rimcountrychamber.com.
Holiday Wine & Cheese event
Soroptimist International of Zane Grey will be sponsoring a Holiday Wine and Cheese Party from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 10 at the Best Western, 801 N. Beeline Hwy. There will be wine and appetizers to sample, plus some great raffle and silent auction items to bid on. The cost is $15. During the festivities, money raised from the Radiothon in October will be presented to Rim Country Arizonans for Children, Payson Community Kids and Time Out. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact Jean at (928) 472-8007 or Sandy at (928) 472-2423.
Choral Society Christmas concert
The Payson Choral Society’s Christmas concert “He Is Born,” directed by Daria Mason, with accompaniment by Victoria Harris, comes to the Payson High School auditorium Saturday, Dec. 11. Performances are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Note this is a change in performance times.
Concert tickets are $10 at the door for adults, and $8 if purchased in advance. Children and students up to age 18 are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased in advance from Choral Society members, the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and at the library. Tickets will also be available at the door before each concert.
Proceeds from the concerts provide musical scholarships to middle and high school students. For more information, call John Landino at (928) 468-0023.
Children’s Christmas program scheduled
The Payson Children’s Theatre/Choral Group will present the Christmas program “Christmas at Bethlehem Gulch” at 6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 11 and Sunday, Dec. 12 at Ponderosa Baptist Church, 1800 N. Beeline Hwy., Payson.
The programs are open to the public and no admission will be charged, but love offerings will be accepted to help the group and its programs continue.
Holiday jazz concert
Jazz guitarist Pete Pancrazi, who is appearing in Payson on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 12, is not exactly a household name when it comes to jazz legends, but the Valley musician is extremely well known in the jazz community.
Pancrazi has cultivated a large and loyal following among Arizona jazz fans. Audiences enjoy his nimble guitar work and warm vocals. He’s a regular that the Desert Botanical Gardens jazz series. His repertoire includes original compositions, alongside straight-ahead and Latin jazz standards, the focus of the Sunday performance — but with a holiday touch.
The Dec. 12 performance will be at the Payson Community Presbyterian Church, 800 W. Main St., starting at 12:30 p.m. and ending at 2 p.m. Those who come early are invited to enjoy a light holiday lunch and treats refreshment buffet starting at about 11:30 a.m. A donation exceeding $5 for each person is requested at the door.
While the Community Presbyterian Church opens its doors for the monthly jazz performances held at the church, the event is conducted by community volunteers who call themselves the Payson Friends of Jazz. They want to stress that the performance is open to everyone in Rim Country.
Seating is limited to about 200, so it is recommended that those who plan to attend send an e-mail to Gerry Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, he may be reached by calling (602) 619-3355.
A Family Christmas
A Christmas production titled, “A Family Christmas,” comes to Payson at 6 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 16 at the Payson High School auditorium.
With an original script and music along with contemporary dance, this production will touch the hearts of every member of your family in every stage of life.
“A Family Christmas” is a story of Mr. Johnson and his family. It is about one night, one play, and one decision that changed his life. Be prepared to laugh, cry, and be uplifted as you witness Mr. Johnson’s memory of this special family Christmas.
This is a free community event sponsored by Payson Community Christian Academy.
Holiday Wish Tree
CASA — Court Appointed Special Advocates — has a Holiday Wish Tree in the Gila County Courthouse lobby, 714 S. Beeline Hwy. Each snowflake ornament on the tree represents a child in foster care.
The residents of Rim Country are invited to come to the courthouse and select a snowflake from the tree and let foster children know that they are not forgotten and their holiday wishes can come true by donating a gift.
Contact Katrisha Stuler with CASA of Gila County (ask for Katrisha at the probation window) or call (928) 474-7145.
Wrapped gifts are to be turned into Katrisha no later than Dec. 8, 2010. It is suggested the amount spent on a gift be between $20-$25.
Seniors to benefit from Angel stops
Local residents and businesses may help the less fortunate seniors in the community by stopping by any Edward Jones branch office during regular business hours to select a “Senior Angel” from Dec. 1 through Dec. 17. Shop for the senior of your choice and drop off all gifts, which Edward Jones staff will deliver to seniors in need.
Branch addresses are: 411 S. Beeline Hwy., Suite B, Payson; 113 W. Main St., Payson; and 4010 N. Highway 87, Pine.
Buy a wreath, help a horse
New Hope Equine Rescue has a limited number of the popular 25-inch Victorian wreaths — decorated, including lights — available for sale for at the New Hope facility in Star Valley in December.
These are the same as the beautiful, fresh wreaths from Minnesota sold by New Hope during its recent fund-raiser. Please call Jean at (928) 978-5155 for more information and to order. There is also information on New Hope’s Web site, www.newhopepmuequinerescue.org.
Author’s note: This is the information available at press time on upcoming events and activities, it is not a complete listing.