Seems all of Rim Country has the holiday spirit — and not for just a couple of days, but for the rest of the year.
After gorging on Thanksgiving dinner and watching football, Rim Country residents can celebrate what has been dubbed “Black Friday,” but should be called “Bright Friday” at the Swiss Village in Payson.
Swiss Village Christmas
Now in its 35th year, the Swiss Village Christmas Lighting always attracts a crowd.
The shops built in the jaunty Swiss-style sit
along the addresses of 600 to 800 N. Highway 87 between the stoplights of Malibu Drive by Town Hall and Forest Drive. They will stay open from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29 to show off their wares and serve warm beverages and treats.
Start off at the south end of the Village at Dimi Espresso Café to oogle the gingerbread houses built for the gingerbread contest (see story on page 6C), grab a scone or cookie and head off to see the trees displayed along the covered walkway decorated by local businesses.
During the holiday season, the trees will be donated to needy families in the area.
The Artists of the Rim, Payson Candle Factory and Crafter Cubbies have wonderful gifts for family and friends.
Down the way, Payson Wireless has cell phones and plans while the Bella Vita Boutique has one-of-a-kind finds.
La Sierra serves a mean salsa and chips. Chitwood’s Cabinets now offers divine flavor-infused olive oils and vinegars to mix and match. Perfect for the foodie on this year’s list.
The Hippy Café, Art Nook, Quilting Sisters are on the north end of the Swiss Village.
Besides the stores, the kids can take pony rides and make crafts.
At 6 p.m. Santa arrives and the lights go on! Santa is always the biggest hit. Come early because the line can stretch the length of two buildings.
But the fun does not end on Friday.
Find cute Christmas presents or a knickknack for the house at the Mazatzal Arts and Crafts Fair on Saturday, Nov. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino.
Artisans will offer paintings, clothing, yard art, mosaics, jams, jellies, wood working, leather work, knitting, crochet and jewelry of all kinds from gemstones to Native American, plus much more.
But there is no reason to go home on Saturday afternoon. Pine has its own lighting ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 30.
The Fifth Annual Festival of Lights and Craft Fair starts at noon and continues until 8 p.m.
The event is classic small community with residents baking holiday treats to share. Friends and neighbors say hello and ask about holiday plans. Children stuff themselves with too many sweets.
The tree lighting happens at dusk, sometime between 5:30 and 6 p.m. There will be Christmas carols, the Jingle Bell Parade and photos with Santa in the Community Hall.
Come back on Sunday, Dec. 1 for the kids to enjoy the Kids Kraft Korner and adults to peruse the Craft Festival.
Electric Light Parade
After a week of rest, pull on a pair of long johns and head out to Main Street in Payson to enjoy the Electric Light Parade on Saturday, Dec. 7.
Sponsored by APS, the parade starts at 6 p.m. in Green Valley Park and finishes up at the Sawmill Crossing shopping complex.
Residents, local businesses and organizations festoon cars and trucks with lights and dress up to make this small-town parade a feast of entertainment.
This year, the dancing trees will make the tree huggers in the crowd happy.
On Sunday, Dec. 8 in the Payson High School Auditorium, the community can enjoy the “Spirit of Christmas” celebration. Music and gorgeous costumes light up the stage to tell the Christmas story.
Christmas Lighting Contest
On Tuesday, Dec. 10 and Wednesday, Dec. 11, the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce will judge contestants in the Ninth Annual Light the Rim house lighting contest.
To enter, pick up an entry form at the Payson Roundup, Rim Country Guns and Archery, Home Depot or at the chamber.
Entry forms must be returned by Saturday, Dec. 7.
Winners will be announced on Dec. 13.
To see all the entrants, check out the map published in the Roundup on Dec. 13.
School Christmas concerts
Don’t forget the school concerts.
Mark your calendar for the following four dates to enjoy music from the elementary to the high school students.
All concerts are in the Payson High School Auditorium.
Julia Randall Elementary kicks off the concert season on Wednesday, Dec. 11.
Rim Country Middle School follows the next evening with its concert on Thursday, Dec. 12.
The next week, Payson Elementary School will have two seatings for its holiday concert on Tuesday, Dec. 17. The first seating is at 5 p.m. The second at 6 p.m. Both time slots promise to be standing room only.
The Payson High School music department will wrap up the concert season on Wednesday, Dec. 18.
So, no holiday blues, there is simply too much to see and do in Rim Country.