Holiday Events Hitting High Gear With Festival Of Lights, Lighting Event

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It is the day after Thanksgiving and all through the Rim Country, holiday events are hitting high gear. Today alone, there are two special events planned: the Festival of Lights fun and festivities in Pine and the annual Swiss Village Lighting.

Things get going in Pine at 10 a.m. today with the Christmas Craft Fair at the Community Center Cultural Hall. Shop from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 25 and from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 26. Youngsters can enjoy the children’s craft booth at the event.

The merry-making continues at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 26 with the Jingle Bell Parade led by Santa and Mrs. Claus. There will also be a Christmas tree lighting, Christmas carols and refreshments at the annual Festival of Lights.

The Pine-Strawberry Business Community (PSBC) brings the two-day event to Pine. For more information on the Festival of Lights and the activities of PSBC to help local businesses and the community, go to www.psbcaz.com.

The 32nd Annual Swiss Village Christmas Lighting also gets going at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25.

Activities include music by Brooks & Yoder, dancers, carolers and elves. Santa arrives by fire truck at 6 p.m. and he and Mrs. Claus will be available for photos from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The photos are free and prints can be picked up between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 28 at Beeline Business.

Participating merchants will have free hot cocoa and cookies available during the festival and residents are invited to participate in the Gingerbread House Contest. Bring your creation to Chitwood’s Cabinets Friday, Nov. 25 for a chance to win the grand prize of two adult and two children’s tickets on the Grand Canyon Railroad’s “Polar Express” holiday excursion or the second prize of a family photo session.

The grand opening of Crafters Cubbies will also take place during the Swiss Village Christmas Lighting. Owner Rebecca Acord will have a food and toy drive in conjunction with the fun. She will also have trees decorated by many local businesses and organizations in the “Stroll through the Lighted Forest” attraction, located at 616 N. Beeline Hwy. The public is invited to view the display during the festivities and vote for their favorite tree by placing a canned good, new toy or pet food under the tree of their choice.

Holiday festivities continue next week when the Tonto Community Concert Association presents Chaplin: A Life in Concert, which dramatizes the life story of the brilliant, yet controversial, career of Charlie Chaplin, at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 29.

Multi-platinum singer/songwriter David Pomeranz will perform this one-man, theatrical-musical tribute to Charlie Chaplin at the Payson High School Auditorium. Single tickets are $35 (if seating is available). Children and youth, grade 12 and under, will be admitted free when accompanied by a ticket holding adult. For more information, visit the association’s Web site at www.tccarim.org or call 928-478-4363 or (928) 474-4189.

A more somber event is planned for Wednesday, Nov. 30, the annual Celebration of Life presented by Hospice Compassus, Messinger’s Funeral Home, the Rim Country Hospice Foundation and Gerardo’s Italian Bistro.

The commemoration begins at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 30 at Mountain Bible Church. The evening includes prayers, music, remembrances, a PowerPoint presentation, a beautiful signing performed by one of our hospice home health aides, and a tree lighting ceremony.

Gerardo’s Italian Bistro will provide a full-course meal at the end of the evening.

The Celebration of Life is free of charge and open to the community. However, each participant is asked to bring a can of food to be given to St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank to help those less fortunate during the holidays.

Anyone interested in attending should contact Hospice Compassus at (928) 472-6340 to R.S.V.P.

Light-hearted festivities return to the calendar Thursday, Dec. 1. The students at Julia Randall Elementary School will have their annual holiday concert at 6:30 p.m., at the Payson High School Auditorium.

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