Merry Main Street puts on a show

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: The 21st annual Merry Main Street and Christmas Tree Lighting went off without a hitch Friday night.

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – Safford Downtown Association President Danny Smith told the audience that while his group may be small in stature, the support from local businesses continues to provide to create the epitome of small-town Americana with the 21st annual Merry Main Street and Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. 

Jon Johnson Video/Gila Herald

More than a thousand revelers descended on Main Street in Downtown Safford on Friday night for the event and were greeted with a calm, balmy night of good weather. 

Safford Mayor Jason Kouts led the countdown and the switch was thrown to begin the Christmas season Downtown.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Safford Mayor Jason Kouts leads the countdown to the lighting of the Christmas Tree.

Santa Clause received a police escort via golf court through the swaths of humanity to his perch for the night at the historic Safford Theatre, which continues its restoration. There he greeted young and old alike with childlike wonder and glee. 

There was an eclectic choice of food to satisfy the hungriest of customers but for the bold, there was also a pie-eating contest in which some contestants really got into the event. That was but one of several contests, games, and other featured mini-events that encompassed the overall night.  

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Cameron J. Merino-Villarruel gets into the pie-eating contest.

The evening is a kickoff to the Christmas purchasing season happing the day after Thanksgiving on the traditional Black Friday and the throngs of people were filling up Downtown shops. While it was but one night, event organizers were pleased with the turnout and the support given to sponsors and local businesses. 

Next up for Downtown will be the popular Light Parade on Saturday, Dec. 10, starting with Santa at the historic Safford Theatre from 4 – 5:45 p.m., entertainment starting at 5 p.m., and the Light Parade at 6 p.m. down Main Street. 

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Santa Clause awaits his next group of visitors. Santa will return to the historic Safford Theatre for the Light Parade event on Saturday. Dec. 10.