BENSON — The holiday season gets the official kickoff Saturday with Christmas Off Main and the city’s light parade and tree lighting.
Festivities begin Saturday at 9 a.m. and run to 4 p.m. at Christmas Off Main at Historic Apache Park on Sixth Street. The Benson/San Pedro Valley Chamber of Commerce’s undertaking features a Saturday filled lineup complete with entertainment, vendors and food and highlighted by a tribute to veterans on the Main Stage at 10 a.m. in commemoration of the Dec. 7 anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
The tribute ceremony will include Mariachi Plata with Amazing Grace and trumpet duo for the national anthem, the Benson Barbershoppers, under direction of Hilbert Bernal, will follow with an armed forces medley. Mayor Toney King and Vice Mayor Joe Konrad will speak. and The Tucson Prunes dance troupe will perform just before the retirement of colors.
With its “Christmas Movies” theme, the light parade is underway at 6 p.m. The Christmas Tree Lighting, with holiday music, carols, hot chocolate and Mr. and Mrs. Claus outside City Hall, figures to make Saturday’s daylong slate one that could be hard to top.
The Chamber’s Najayyah Many Horses acknowledged as much on Monday.
“We have 48 quality vendors and with Dec. 7th also being Pearl Harbor day it is only fitting that we take the opportunity to thank our Veterans and their families for the sacrifices that have been made so that we can have the freedom of enjoying family activities in Apache Park,” she said. “This is one of our best events to date. So many free things for the kids, and the entertainment is superb. Definitely a true family event.”
Sponsored by Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, the eighth annual light parade should offer more than enough dazzle to further the holiday mood set by the day’s Christmas Off Main entertainment.
Christmas Off Main program begins at 9 a.m. with “A Joyful Noise Christmas Carolers” on the main stage. Veterans tribute at 10 a.m. and the Tucson Prunes dancers are scheduled for 10:30. Mariachi Plata takes the stage at 11 and will be followed by Native American Flute player Danny Many Horses at noon. Elliott Family Western Music is scheduled at 1 p.m. with award winning recording artist Larry Farris in concert at 2 p.m.
Cindy’s Christmas Party on the Center Stage starts at 11 a.m. with a repeat at 1:30 p.m. The party is an interactive play for children — and adults — of all ages.
The horse-drawn carriage is sure to get plenty of takers and the vintage Santa and sleigh are a big favorite as well. There will also be geology for kids, face painting, photo booths and more.
Active duty, retired or family members of veterans present and passed are welcome for the tribute.
Christmas Off Main is Saturday only. A report in the Nov. 27 edition was in error.