The warm, aromatic smell of gingerbread, crusty white sugar icing and syrupy gumdrops wafts through the air at the Prescott Resort “Christmas City” — billed as the World’s Largest Gingerbread Village.
Dozens of tables are stacked with high-rise gingerbread houses seemingly reaching the ceiling.
The length of the hallway, where more than 100 displays sit, thousands of candy pieces creates a bright, multicolored sight that elicits “oohs” and “aahs” from young and old.
Peering into one yard, gingerbread folk toast marshmallows on pretzel sticks over a flame of candy corn. Coconut shavings cover the home’s path of hard peppermints and pretzel square windows.
While everything in this world is decadent and so tastefully sweet, outside, a real wintery scene awaits in what is known as Arizona’s Christmas City.
Prescott’s Courthouse Plaza downtown serves as the hub of holiday activity throughout the month.
Draped in a layer of snow, the courthouse is adorned in twinkly lights as are the businesses that surround the plaza.
With so much holiday cheer, Prescott is not only ‘everyone’s hometown,’ it is the place many families create new holiday memories.
One family from Tucson said they have visited Prescott every year since the birth of their first child three years ago. The quaint, hometown feel, shopping and dining make for a fun weekend, said Sarah Ash.
Ash says she always stays at one of the historic hotels off Whiskey Row and makes sure to catch the Christmas parade and Courthouse lighting ceremony during the first weekend of December.
While the parade has already come and gone this year, there are still a number of events lined up for the month.
On Friday, Dec. 9, the Courthouse Plaza will be decked out in luminaries filling the town with a warm glow. More than 100 entertainers scheduled to perform during the Acker Musical Showcase will amplify the scene.
The Acker evening features mostly local musicians performing in shops, galleries and offices circling the plaza.
North of the plaza is the whimsical miniature gingerbread village at Prescott Resort.
The event started 19 years ago and is a fund-raiser for the Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The gingerbread creations range from the professional-looking to those more quaint and crafty. The designs are the work of local schoolchildren, professional chefs, businesses, families and organizations.
The village this year is made up of cottages, bungalows, estates and even a tribute to Sept. 11 and the Twin Towers.
A train runs through the village and everything looks so tastily beautiful that more than a few children try to eat off the displays, which are on exhibit through Jan. 1.
In Prescott Valley, homes also have a coating of Christmas cheer, but not of the candy variety.
The Valley of Lights, set in Prescott Valley’s Fain Park, 2200 N. Fifth Street, features a mile-long drive-through light presentation. The light show is free and runs nightly from 6-10 p.m. through Dec. 30.