It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas, or it will soon enough.
The Prescott Downtown Partnership will kick off the holidays with the 25th annual Unisource Energy Holiday Light Parade and Findlay Subaru Bonfire Festival on Saturday, Nov. 28.
The parade, which runs north on Cortez from Carleton to Willis, west on Willis to Montezuma and back to Carleton where it will end at Mile High Middle School field is the first event of the Arizona’s Christmas City calendar.
“The Holiday Light Parade sets the stage for all the fun to come,” said PDP President Sheri Shaw. “We hope the community participates either in person or virtually and feels the spirit of the season.”
Businesses, churches, family groups, youth sports, clubs and military organizations are encouraged to enter.
“The only requirement is that the floats be well lit, festive and playing holiday music,” said Debbie Koch, PDP assistant director and parade organizer. “The surest way to awe the spectators and win the hearts of the judges is lots of lights.”
Entries have an opportunity to win a share of $2,125 in cash prizes.
The parade will be live streamed by Prescott Pro Sound on the PDP Facebook page and YouTube channel, allowing for those who are uncomfortable in crowds or those at higher risk for COVID-19 complications the opportunity to stay connected to the festivities.
“We are watching public health data very closely but plan to move forward with the season’s events,” PDP Executive Director MJ Smith said. “We have a successful track record of producing safe and responsible outdoor events during the COVID-19 pandemic and will adapt accordingly as data dictates to ensure we are proceeding safely and responsibly.”
PDP will utilize the protocol created for Prescott Rodeo Days events, including requiring vendors to wear face coverings, encouraging social distancing, providing access to hand wash and hand sanitization stations, increased restroom sanitization and utilizing a larger footprint to avoid congestion.
“Historically, many people congregate near the announcer stand on Cortez at Union Street but we encourage spectators to spread out along the entire route,” Smith said. “Prior to moving forward with the planning of 2020’s festivities, we met with city and county officials to ensure that we place the health and safety of our community at the forefront of any decision making. We have seen no increase in cases following the outdoor events hosted to date by PDP and the Chamber of Commerce and feel confident we can implement measures to mitigate many of the risks associated with gatherings during COVID-19. But, in order to safely continue to offer outdoor entertainment, we need the continued cooperation of the community. Please stay home if you are feeling unwell or fall into a higher risk category for COVID-19 complications. While participating in person, please adhere to social distancing recommendations or wear a face covering when physical distance isn’t possible. And again, if you are not feeling well, have recently been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results or have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, please sit out the events this year.”
Following the parade, parade entries will gather on the Mile High Middle School field for the Findlay Subaru Bonfire Festival.
“This is hometown fun at its best,” Smith said. “Sit around the bonfire presented by Prescott Fire Department, pickup dinner from one of the area’s great food trucks, enjoy hot cocoa, s’mores, kids’ games, reindeer races and a story with Santa.”
Santa will read a book fireside at 7:30 p.m.
“Bundle up in your warmest pajamas and kick off the season with us,” Shaw said.