Whether strands of thousands of lights sparkling on trees and houses or a simple string of flashing lights around a person’s neck, the Golden Corridor seems to live up to its name during the holiday season. Most of the major community events feature an electric light parade along with performances, activities and food to bring a diverse group of merrymakers together.
A few highlights:
AK-CHIN INDIAN COMMUNITY
The Maricopa-area tribe hosts celebrations for its members and neighbors throughout December to mark the anniversary of its formal recognition as a tribe, starting with the Masik Tas (“birthday”) Light Parade at 7 p.m. Dec. 7, along West Farrell Road around John Wayne Parkway.
This will be followed up by the Masik Tas Celebration two weeks later, Dec. 13-15 at the UltraStar Multi-tainment Center just north of Harrah’s Ak-Chin Hotel and Casino. It offers music, a fun zone, a petting zoo, arts and crafts booths and food vendors.
The Electric Light Parade is held annually in downtown Casa Grande on the first Saturday of December (it falls on the 7th this year). The city’s largest and most popular event begins with a Main Street “Winter Wonderland” from 2-5 p.m., offering a skating rink, food vendors, live entertainment, craft and game booths and free photos with Santa.
Everybody’s then invited to bring their chairs to line Florence Boulevard between Colorado and Florence streets at 5:45 p.m. for the City Hall Tree Lighting and Electric Light Parade, where Santa will make another appearance. Spectators will be able to vote for their favorite float for the “people’s choice” award.
Everyone is invited to celebrate Dec. 14 during the City of Eloy’s Christmas Tree Lighting and 20th annual Electric Light Parade with game booths, carnival rides, food vendors and music from 4 to 9 p.m. Festivities will conclude with the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree at 6:30 p.m., followed by the parade at 7 p.m.
The parade route will begin on Third Street at Stuart Boulevard, follow Third to Main Street and travel north on Main until reaching Ninth Street, which puts City Hall and Main Street Park in the middle of the route. A panel of judges will select winners for Best of Parade and six categories.
Sponsored by APS, Christmas on Main begins 6 p.m. Dec. 6 on Main Street in downtown Florence. A variety of activities are offered starting with holiday crafts, food vendors, music, photos with Santa and a Chamber of Commerce “Shop Local Scavenger Hunt.” The evening ends with the colorful Electric Light Parade on Main Street starting at 7:30 p.m. and featuring a holiday-cheerful procession of floats and bands.
Holiday spirit is set to sweep across the City of Maricopa at the 6th annual Merry Copa Holiday Festival at Copper Sky Regional Park on Dec. 6 from 3 to 8 p.m. The countdown to Christmas will officially kick off when the Mayor leads a countdown to reveal a dazzling Christmas tree blanketed with lights and decorations. The “holly jolly” community celebration will feature plenty more family-friendly activities like arts and crafts, food vendors and a variety of winter activities.