Winter Sun Festival helps to spread holiday cheer
Nov 27, 2008 | 1169 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hundreds of parade watchers and participants will brave cold temperatures and usher in the holiday season during the Dec. 6 annual Electric Light Parade. The Winter Sun Festival, which kicks off Dec. 5, includes a weekend packed with holiday events and shopping opportunities for area residents and visitors.
File photo by Jeff Richards 
Hundreds of parade watchers and participants will brave cold temperatures and usher in the holiday season during the Dec. 6 annual Electric Light Parade. The Winter Sun Festival, which kicks off Dec. 5, includes a weekend packed with holiday events and shopping opportunities for area residents and visitors. File photo by Jeff Richards 
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The local 2008 holiday season will officially kick off Dec. 5 as Moab’s annual Winter Sun Festival gets underway with the lighting of the community Christmas tree and other events that will be held throughout the weekend.

Tree-Lighting Ceremony

Moab Mayor Dave Sakrison, Santa Claus and the Valley Voices will join area residents at the Grand County Courthouse at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5 for the annual tree lighting ceremony. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served during the event.

The tree lighting is the first among a variety of Winter Sun Festival activities that celebrate the holiday season amongst the red rocks and the Colorado River.

Arts and Craft Fairs

Also on Friday, the annual Senior Citizen/RSVP Craft Fair will open at the Grand Center, 182 North 500 West, from 4-8 p.m. The senior craft fair will continue through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fair features a full-house of craft vendors, and the proceeds will benefit the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program

Saturday is also packed with activities to help spread holiday cheer and provide Moab residents and visitors with numerous opportunities to purchase handmade crafts and art made in Moab. From 9 a.m.-5 p.m. the Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 East 100 North, will hold its annual Hand-Crafted Arts Fair, featuring items, from soap to jewelry, that are handmade by area artisans. Santa Claus will be on-hand to greet area residents throughout the day.

For the first time at the event, camel rides will be offered to children throughout the day.

Those searching for handmade art may also find the perfect gift by taking part in the Artist’s Studio Tour, which will be held Saturday and Sunday. During the tour, local artists open their homes to the community, reveal the method behind their masterpieces, and offer their art for sale.

Winter Sun 10K Run

On Saturday morning, Dec. 6, competitors in the Winter Sun 10K Race will line up at the Moab Golf Course for the last race of the season. The race course winds around the golf course and Old City Park through Spanish Valley and eventually crosses through Rotary Park to finish at Grand County High School.

Art Walk

Beginning at dusk, the December Art Walk kicks off, with local galleries greeting visitors with fine art and refreshments. Throughout the evening, many downtown merchants will be offering shopper’s specials as part of the festival’s activities.

Electric Light Parade

The annual Electric Light Parade will illuminate the streets of Moab on Saturday night. Local businesses, organizations, clubs, individuals and families will design and decorate floats, cars, trucks, bicycles, or decorate themselves in lights for the event, which begins at Swanny City Park, travels down Main Street and ends near the Grand County High School

Registration for the parade is free and, according to the Moab Area Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the Winter Sun Festival, “it is a come-one, come-all invitation to celebrate the holiday season through a display of lights that is sure to dazzle the crowd.” For more information about participating contact parade coordinator Jim Thuesen at 259-4984.

Parade participants will line up at Swanny Park at 4:45 p.m., with the Moab Valley Fire Department and the Chamber of Commerce float, which will feature this year’s business and citizen of the year recipients as the Grand Marshals, and Santa Claus. At 6 p.m., the parade will officially begin and participants will make their way down 100 West to Main Street.

Due to the interest in this year’s parade, chamber officials said they expect this to be a “banner year of lights,” with many of the businesses, nonprofit organizations, and clubs participating.

Each year, Chamber officials said, “the float designs and human powered entries become more creative. From the Red Rock Stars to Miniature Ponies, the best of Moab will be out in style. In addition, the favorite Moab City float will be returning, accompanied by Mayor Dave Sakrison dressed in a surprise costume.”

Allen Memorial Hospital offers free hot chocolate at the Moab Information Center to help spectators stay warm. Also, this year there will be hot chocolate available throughout the parade, – the Friends of the Moab Teen Center are teaming up with Zions Bank to make their way up and down Main St., offering hot chocolate and treats to raise funds for the Center’s youth activities, chamber officials said.

Chamber director Sarah Bauman noted that, of course, only one Santa is allowed during the parade.

“This is the only restriction made by the Chamber to cut back on competition for the man who comes out every year to ride on the final float of the parade, wave to the children, bellow out ‘ho, ho, ho’ and spread holiday cheer,” Bauman said. “It’s the least we can do.”

For more information about Winter Sun Festival activities contact the chamber office at 259-7814.


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