Enjoy parade, Christmas Village this month
Happy holidays, Yuma!
Your friends in the hospitality industry are gearing up for a busy winter season, but our focus in December is on events with special appeal to our friends and neighbors right here — think of it as a stocking full of treats for kids of all ages from Yuma Visitors Bureau and its members!
In a tradition that's now a decade old, we'll kick things off at 6 p.m. Saturday with the Dorothy Young Memorial Electric Light Parade in the historic North End. The parade starts on 3rd Avenue at approximately 10th Street and makes its way to Main Street via Orange Avenue and Giss Parkway.
This year's theme is “Welcome to a Yuma Christmas,” meant to showcase what makes celebrations here unique — from grilling Christmas dinner in flip-flops to making sand angels instead of snowmen. Last year, a new visitor gave a shout-out to the “awesome bands, beautiful floats and vehicles and all the children involved (and all with such good manners!)” — so take credit, all you Yuma parents, and treat your well-mannered kids to a free, fun night with us.
Don't forget, one of the things that makes our parade unique is that it's not limited to organized (or disorganized) groups — anyone can participate, though you have to follow the theme to win prizes. Start your own holiday tradition by stringing some lights on the family pet and jumping in! Download the parade application and map at www.visityuma.com (events calendar tab) — in the spirit of the season, we'll even stretch the entry deadline to midweek. For more information, call Teri Ingram at 376-0100.
But that's only the beginning: Yuma Visitors Bureau's Christmas Village returns to the Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park from 5 to 9 p.m. each evening Dec. 15-22. Along with lots of festive lights throughout the park and a magical village of kid-sized playhouses, every-night activities include the sledding hill, a Christmas train, bounce house and obstacle course, face painting and balloon animals, cookie decorating, make a keepsake ornament, kids' shopping at Santa's Workshop, Santa's Candy Shop, bank robber photos and, of course, visits and photos with Santa.
In addition, each night has a special theme and activities to match, including Hispanic Heritage (Dec. 16), Cowboy Christmas (Dec. 18), Military Appreciation (Dec. 19), Candy Cane Lane (Dec. 20), All Aboard the Polar Express (Dec. 21) and Christmas Carol karaoke sing-along (Dec. 22). Get the details at www.yumachristmas.com or at Facebook.com/yumachristmasvillage, and in upcoming editions of the Yuma Sun and spice up the season with your family's favorite flavors.
I want to make special note of “The Spirit of Christmas Giving” night Dec. 17, when we're asking that village visitors bring a new blanket or a new or gently worn jacket to be donated to Crossroads Mission. Along with the feeling of having made the holidays warmer for others, you'll enjoy performances by Yuma Ballet Theatre and Champion Performing Arts School — plus full reading of Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol” by Gateway Players actors in period costume. This evening will be a great opportunity to reconnect with the meaning of the season and banish the “bah humbug” in what can be a stressful blur of holiday chores.
Speaking of stress, YVB members all around town can help out with that, whether it's suggesting a one-of-a-kind gift, helping organize a holiday party, shipping Yuma-grown dates to friends and family afar, or just giving you a chance to relax over a glass of wine or a meal you didn't have to cook yourself. Remember that when you shop, dine and entertain locally, you not only save gas and hassle, you're supporting your Yuma friends and neighbors, too.
Last, but not least, prepare for your holiday and winter-season guests by picking up a 2013 Visitors Guide at our Visitor Information Center, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week through May. Don't forget to check out our gift shop, too. For the person who has everything but a clue about what's sprouting in Yuma's fields, how about one of our Field to Feast ag tours or a ticket to ride and dine on a Savor Yuma culinary quest?
This is the time of year when people in colder climates start dreaming of Yuma — but for those of us who live here, it's a package that's already under the tree, just waiting to be unwrapped! Give yourself the gift of being a “tourist” in your own hometown this year and take a little time to relax and enjoy Yuma's green and sunny holidays.
Best wishes to all of you from all of us.
Linda Jordan is the executive director of Yuma Visitors Bureau and can be reached at 376-0100 or email@example.com.