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When the clock strikes three on Saturday, Dec. 2, Uptown will come alive with Christmas spirit as Mayor Pud Colquitt flips the switch on the Tree of Lights and a handbell duet ensues.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers

When the clock strikes three on Saturday, Dec. 2, Uptown will come alive with Christmas spirit as Mayor Pud Colquitt flips the switch on the Tree of Lights and a handbell duet ensues.

Colquitt will make her grand entrance on the historic Sedona Fire Truck with Santa and his helpers as they help bring holiday cheer to Sedona residents.

This year’s annual Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration — beginning at 3 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m. — will ring in the season while also celebrating the near completion of the Uptown Enhancement Project.

The Sedona Chamber of Commerce, the city of Sedona and the Sedona Main Street Program have partnered to bring a new and improved version of the festivities to residents.

“I’m hoping this will be the start of something big,” Community Services Director Marie Brown said.

This is the first year the city has joined in planning and facilitating the event.

Chamber President Char Beltran said the celebration originated with the chamber because the tree formerly decorated was in front of its Visitor Center.

This year, a different tree will be decorated and placed in the newly constructed plaza in front of Orchards Bar & Grill.

Beltran said they decided not to decorate the tree in front of the Visitor Center this year because people complained about the location of the decorations, traffic it created and that there wasn’t any standing room near the tree.

Another new feature includes the Holiday Window Display Contest.

Brown said the city hopes the contest will encourage Uptown merchants to decorate their storefronts to create more of a holiday feel in the area.

“We’re really trying to create a small-town Christmas atmosphere,” Brown said.

The displays will be judged by Brown, Colquitt and a resident on Thursday, Nov. 30, beginning at 5 p.m.

The winners will be announced during Saturday’s festivities.

The length of the event and the variety of activities has also been improved.

“There really wasn’t time for people to socialize [in years prior],” Brown said.

Within the three hours, people will have a chance to be photographed with Santa and enjoy numerous holiday performances along Hwy. 89A.

Free photos with Santa will be taken in front of The Cowboy Club while hot chocolate and cookies are served to Santa’s guests.

The Flagstaff Symphony Brass Quintet will perform holiday songs at the Tree of Lights. Thunderbeat, an American Indian drummer and composer, will play at the Uptown Mall. Greg Aiken on the saxophone and flute and James Hargis on the keyboard will play holiday jazz at Oaxaca Restaurant; King Winter will read stories in front of the Arroyo Roble Village Shops; and the Hula-Hooping Elves Dance Party will perform in the Cheers parking lot.

The Barbershop Strolling Cowboy Carolers will also circle the street bringing songs to everyone they pass.

This year’s incorporation of the city and Martha’s Party Productions — hired to help facilitate activities — brings organizers one step closer to what Beltran said they hope to soon accomplish — expanding to include the entire city of Sedona.


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