The 12 days of a Yuma Christmas
Ah, the holidays. For some, it's difficult to feel inspired to deck the halls when it's 75 degrees and sunny. For others, they celebrate the warmth of the sunniest city in the world. For those that want to celebrate, here are 12 festive ideas to keep you busy this holiday season. Explore Yuma and enjoy.
On the first day of Christmas the Yuma area gave to me ... the second annual Centennial Christmas Village! The Yuma Visitors Bureau, the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area and the city of Yuma present the popular Christmas Village at the Quartermaster Depot from Dec. 16-23. The event's theme this year is celebrating Arizona's centennial and Yuma's vibrant history. The other highlight is 70 tons of snow for sledding down the big hill (snow guaranteed Dec. 16-20). Other attractions include a Heritage Express train that will transport riders back to 1912 by touring them around the lit historical features, a pioneer craft fair, live entertainment, the custom crafted playhouses, and twinkling lights.
On the second day of Christmas the Yuma area gave to me ... the Somerton Tamale Festival. At the tamale festival, you will enjoy a great variety (over 40 last year) of tamales. If you enjoy live music, tamales and lots of fun, this is the place to be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 17 in the heart of Somerton on Main Street between Union Avenue and Somerton Avenue.
On the third day of Christmas the Yuma area gave to me ... an agriculture tour with the Yuma Visitors Bureau. The popular Field to Feast Tours are back. They sold out last year, so book your tours now. New this season, YVB is offering Farmer to Farmer technical tours for those with a background in agriculture and Taco Trail culinary tours for those whose interest focuses on what's on the fork rather than what's in the field. Tickets are now on sale for the 2011-12 season.
On the fourth day of Christmas the Yuma area gave to me ... dates and lots of them. Up to 10 million pounds of Medjool dates are grown in this area and exported around the world. To get a closer look at a date palm and also to try the local specialty, a date shake, visit a date garden in the area.
On the fifth day of Christmas the Yuma area gave to me ... the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park. Do you have relatives visiting this season? There are some Yuma attractions you just can't miss and the prison is one of them.
On the sixth day of Christmas the Yuma area gave to me ... sparkling, heated pools at our many local hotels. Take a “stay-cation” and enjoy the many amenities offered at our local hotels.
On the seventh day of Christmas the Yuma area gave to me ... Tina's Cocina. Heritage cooking classes at its finest, the classes are located in the St. Paul's Cultural Center.
On the eighth day of Christmas the Yuma area gave to me ... a Colorado River tour. Spend the day on the cool waters of one of the world's great rivers on a tour with Yuma River Tours.
On the ninth day of Christmas the Yuma area gave to me ... golf courses galore. With beautiful scenery in all directions, 16 diverse golf courses offer something for every player.
On the 10th day of Christmas the Yuma area gave to me ... tours of the desert. Enjoy the history and beauty of the desert and mountains surrounding Yuma. Running Boy Tours will do the driving while you hear the amazing stories of Yuma and the Imperial Valley. Ride in the comfort of an air-conditioned Jeep or be adventuresome in an open air Polaris Ranger.
On the 11th day of Christmas the Yuma area gave to me ... amazing culinary delights. From the sophisticated upscale restaurants to the authentically local 8th Street taco vendors, Yuma has it all.
On the 12th day of Christmas the Yuma area gave to me ... the Yuma Visitors Center at the Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park, 201 N. 4th Ave. Our staff will happily share more information about these great attractions and local gems as well as many more. Call us at 783-0071 or visit www.visityuma.com.
I'll add a 13th day just for the sun that continues to welcome visitors to Yuma. In fact, that sun just landed Yuma in the No. 1 spot. In the list of sunniest cities in which to retire, that is, according to U.S. News and World Report, as repackaged on the Web via Yahoo News.
Deck those halls and have a magical holiday season.
Susan Sternitzke is the executive director of Yuma Visitors Bureau. She can be reached at 376-0100 or www.visityuma.com.