Are you ready? If not — get ready. It’s Rim Country’s holiday season.
Don’t worry about pounds put on by Thanksgiving dinner. Just getting to half the Rim holiday events will run your legs off.
So, for now, sit down with family and friends and a calendar to make a plan for holiday fun.
Electric Light Parade
Payson’s annual Electric Light Parade, sponsored by APS, is being organized now. The deadline to register to participate is tomorrow (Wednesday), Nov. 21. The theme is all about Traditional Holiday Characters from Rudolph, Frosty and Jack Frost, to The Grinch and more.
The parade will take place at 6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1, rain or shine, on Payson’s Historic Main Street. The entry fees are: $25 for a towed vehicle; $15 for any single motorized vehicle; and $10 for walking participant.
Contact the Payson Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department for more information, (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.
Salvation Army bell ringers needed
Salvation Army holiday bell ringer volunteers are needed for two-hour shifts every Thursday, Friday and Saturday starting the Friday after Thanksgiving at Walmart, Safeway, Bashas’ and Walgreens.
The funds raised from the kettles, including checks, all stay in Payson to help those in need.
To volunteer, please call John Morgan, (928) 474-8454.
The Payson Elks Lodge is hosting a free Community Thanksgiving Dinner. The Lodge will be serving turkey with all the trimmings and three choices of pie at three seatings Thursday, Nov. 22: 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
While the dinner is free, the organizers ask that participants try to get tickets in advance so they have an idea of how many will be served, however, they are not necessary. Tickets are available at the Elks Lodge, 1206 N. Beeline, the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Payson Senior Center and the Pine library.
Pine Community Thanksgiving
Plans are under way for the third annual Free Community Thanksgiving Dinner to take place in the Senior Dining Room at the Pine Community Center at 2 p.m., Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22.
The group is looking for volunteers to help set up and serve. Volunteers may call (928) 476-2151 or (928) 476-4633. You may also call to reserve a space for dinner.
Senior Christmas Angels
Local residents and businesses may help less fortunate seniors in the community by stopping by any Edward Jones branch office during regular business hours to select a “Senior Angel” between Friday, Nov. 23 and Friday, Dec. 14.
Shop for your selected senior and then drop off the gifts, which Edward Jones staff will deliver to Payson/Pine area seniors in need.
Branch locations are: 411 S. Beeline Hwy., Ste. B and 113 W. Main St. in Payson and 4010 N. Highway 87 in Pine.
Additional “Angel Trees” will be sprouting up around the community, so look for details in upcoming publications.
Swiss Village Lighting Ceremony
Rebecca Acord, owner of the Swiss Village store complex, hopes the holiday celebrations this year honor family and tradition.
‘The whole thing is about fun,” she said. “It’s about tradition, family and fun. I don’t want to see that disappear.”
As they have done for 34 years, the Swiss Village will host various holiday activities and decorations by putting up a small forest of decorated trees. “There are 19 trees scheduled so far,” said Acord. She hopes to have more.
Besides the tree, the Swiss Village will share its annual lighting ceremony and host a gingerbread-decorating contest.
“We invite the public to bring a decorated house to be judged,” she said. “The prize is four tickets to the Polar Express,” a Christmas-themed special run of the Verde Canyon Railway.
Acord said Debra Roberts of Chitwood Cabinets would coordinate the gingerbread house contest. The celebrations will start on Nov. 24 and continue through Dec. 24.
For information on hosting and decorating a tree, please call Rebecca Acord at (928) 978-0604.
To find out more about the gingerbread house decorating contest, please call Debra Roberts at (928) 474-3386.
Festival of Lights in Pine
The residents of Pine and Strawberry will launch the holiday season with the Fourth Annual Festival of Lights at the Pine Community Center from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 24 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 25.
There will be a craft fair in the Cultural Hall of the Community Center and then at dusk on Saturday, there will be caroling and the Community Christmas Tree will be lit in ceremonies that will include refreshments. Afterward there will be a Jingle Bell Parade and activities in the Cultural Hall.
The Pine Strawberry Business Community sponsors the event.
Pre-order Tamales for Toys
It’s time for a great Rim Country tradition — Tamales for Toys. Rim Country firefighters are teaming up with Payson Community Kids this year to collect new, unwrapped toys at a tamale dinner at Gerardo’s Firewood Café.
Preorder by Nov. 26 and get a dozen tamales for $15. Call (928) 978-3256 or (928) 951-3653 to place an order.
The Tamales for Toys celebration will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1 at Gerardo’s at the south end of the Swiss Village. A dozen tamales will be $20 and a tamale dinner, with tamale, beans, chips and salsa will be $6 plus a new, unwrapped toy.
Pine Country Santa Paws
Pine Country Animal Clinic will have its Second Annual Santa Paws benefit from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1. The Dec. 1 edition of the event will be held during the clinic’s meet-and-greet during the Town of Payson’s Electric Light Parade.
“Santa Paws” is an opportunity to have a picture taken of your dog with Santa for a small donation. All net proceeds will be directly donated to the Humane Society of Central Arizona.
Pine Country Animal Clinic is at 401 W. Main St., Payson.
Celebration of Life
Hospice Compassus and the Rim Country Hospice Foundation invite the public to a Celebration of Life at 6 p.m., Wednesday Dec. 5 at the Mountain Bible Church, 302 E. Rancho Road. The evening includes prayers and remembrances, music and a special tree lighting ceremony. Gerardo’s Firewood Café provides a delicious, full-course meal. The Celebration of Life is free of charge and open to the community.
Personalized crystal ornaments can be ordered for $12 per ornament. Each participant is asked to bring a can of food for the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank.
Anyone interested in attending the event or ordering ornaments should contact Hospice Compassus at (928) 472-6340.
GCC Student Art Show & Sale
The art students of the Payson campus of Gila Community College invite Rim Country residents to attend the Sixth Annual Student Art Show & Sale from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7 at the college, 201 N. Mud Springs Road.
The show will feature oil and acrylic paintings, fundamentals of design, watercolors, ceramics and sculpture, jewelry, crafts, wearable art, folk art, stained glass, drawings and photography.
Admission is free and refreshments will be served.
Mark your calendars now — the Payson Choral Society’s Christmas concert, “Believe,” directed by Daria Mason with accompaniment by Victoria Harris, comes to the Payson High School Auditorium on Saturday, Dec. 15. Performances are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Please note this is a change in performance times from last year’s concert.
Concert tickets are $10 at the door for adults, or $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 Payson Public Library. Tickets will also be available at the door before each concert.
Proceeds from the concerts provide musical scholarships to middle school and high school students. These are awarded each year at the spring concert. For added information, call John Landino at (928) 468-0023.
School Christmas programs
• Tuesday, Dec. 11: Julia Randall Elementary concert, 6:30 p.m. at the Payson High School Auditorium. Due to limited seating, seats will be on a first come, first served basis. For questions, call the JRE office at (928) 474-2353.
• Thursday, Dec. 13: Rim Country Middle School Fall Band Concert. All RCMS bands and choral groups will perform in the Payson High School Auditorium at 6:30 p.m.
For questions, call the RCMS office at (928) 474-4511.
• Monday, Dec. 17: Payson High School Winter Concert, 6:30 p.m. in the PHS Auditorium. For questions, call the PHS office at (928) 474-2233.
• Tuesday, Dec. 18: Payson Elementary School Winter Concert. The concert will have two seatings, one from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. and the other from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Each performance will feature K-2 grades, but each seating will have different classes. The show will have all three grades sing together for the opening and closing acts. The kindergartners will also perform with rhythm sticks, jingle bells and hand drums. The first-graders will use hand bells to accent their choral arrangements. The second-graders will play recorders with their singing.
Seating will be limited and on a first come, first served basis.
For questions, call the PES office at (928) 474-5882.
• Wednesday, Dec. 19: Pine-Strawberry Holiday Concert and Play. The pre-school through eighth grade classes will present a play and choral concert in the Pine-Strawberry gym at 6:30 p.m.
For more information, call (928) 476-3283.