The 39th Annual Swiss Village Lighting is Friday, Nov. 29 and it offers a chance to do some gift shopping, enjoy a variety of activities and help Rim Country residents in need.
The event features Charity Trees — pre-lit trees decorated and sponsored by various individuals and businesses placed in front of participating Swiss Village shops. Visitors to the Swiss Village Lighting are asked to bring non-perishable food items and place them under their favorite tree. The food donations will be given to St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank and the trees go to area families in need.
Additionally, monetary donations can be made to a favorite tree and those funds will also go to families in need. The tree receiving the most donations will have an award given to its sponsor and there will also be a Mayor’s Choice Award this year.
Rebecca Acord, owner of at Sweet Country Charm Fudge & Gift Shop, who is helping coordinate the event, explained the call for monetary donations is new this year and it grew out of something that happened at the last event. The selected recipient family rejected its Charity Tree because it did not have electricity to turn on the lights, so a donor took care of the bill and gave money to keep the power on for the following month. The tree sponsor receiving the most monetary donations will also get an award, Acord said.
Visitors will find activities or treats offered at each of the participating Swiss Village shops. Some activities are free, such as the cookie-decorating event planned at Sweet Country Charm Fudge & Gift Shop that culinary arts students of Payson High School are presenting, a petting zoo and face painting. Others, including pony rides, will have a minimal fee.
A number of vendors are expected as well, including food vendors. There will also be live performances.
The evening’s highlight is the 6 p.m. arrival of Santa in a Payson Fire Department fire engine. Youngsters can have free photos taken with Santa and visitors can also have meet and greets with fire and police department personnel.