Snow is forecast in December for Yuma but, no, it doesn't mean there's been a seismic shift in the weather pattern for this desert town.
It'll be snowing only at the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park, once again bringing the magic of a winter wonderland to Yuma kids as part of this year's Christmas Village.
Sponsored by the Yuma Visitors Bureau, the village will be open 5-9 p.m. daily Dec. 15-22. Last year's event attracted close to 10,000 people over the eight days. Admission is $5 per person (buy four tickets and get a fifth free), with children under 5 admitted free.
This year, to help ease parking congestion, free shuttles will run between the village and the city's parking lots off Main Street.
But about that snow ... “This is the second year for the sledding, brought back by popular demand. It was well loved,” said Erin Hanagan, chief elf for the annual village event now in its third year.
Creating the sledding hill involves transporting tons of “snow” to Yuma, starting with 40 tons for opening day, she said. Over the course of the event, there will be 160 tons, with the hill refreshed each day for prime sledding whenever people come. It's open to kids of all ages. Cost is $5 for a book of six tickets for the ride downhill.
For the little ones, this year there will be a pint-sized sledding hill for children under 4 at no charge.
The village will also feature a trip back in time aboard the Heritage Express train that will travel throughout the park and tour the brightly lit historic buildings to experience Christmas traditions from years past, Hanagan said.
The entire park — and a special kid-sized village of fanciful walk-in playhouses — will be decorated with thousands of sparkling lights and other holiday decor. Each playhouse will offer a holiday activity. For example, kids of all ages can create keepsake holiday ornaments at the Hilton Garden Inn house and old-time “bank robber” photos in the Foothills Bank. Guests will be able to decorate and enjoy a Christmas cookie and kids will be able to shop for their families in Santa's workshop, where all items are just $1 — gift wrapping free.
Of course, Santa will also be on hand for visits and photos.
Entertainment will be offered nightly, featuring a variety of local talent, Hanagan said. Highlights range from the local band Aliens vs. Predator performing Christmas favorites on opening night to a Christmas Carol Karaoke Sing-A-Long to close things out Dec. 22. There also will be special performances by the String Ambassadors, Cindy Klein Memorial Hand Bell Choir, Yuma Ballet Theatre, Dancemakers and other performing groups. The holiday movie classic “The Polar Express” will be shown on Dec. 21.
Food will be available for sale each night, including tamales, Indian fry bread, pit barbecue and holiday pies and tasty treats, Hanagan said.
To add to the fun, two special evenings will take place for the first time this year.
Storytime and Cookies with Santa for the little ones will be held 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Dec. 18. Cost is $20 per family up to five and includes village admission, cookies, time with Santa and family photographs.
For the adults, A Taste of Yuma: Holiday Sweets and Treats will be held 7-9 p.m. Dec. 20, offering an array of great food from Yuma-area restaurants, wine sampling and entertainment by the Yuma Jazz Trio. “It should be a nice fun evening for date night or girls night out,” Hanagan said.
Cost is $15 and advance tickets are required — buy them at the Yuma Visitors Center at the Quartermaster Depot.
Following Taste of Yuma, the first annual Reindeer Games Server Competition will take place.
For more information, visit www.YumaChristmas.com or check out Facebook.com/yumachristmas village.