The Native American Club's float rolled through downtown Moab during last year's Christmas Electric Light Parade. “Yá'át'ééh Keshmish” are the Navajo words for Merry Christmas. [Moab Sun News file photo]

Enjoy live music, hot chocolate and cookies when Moab kicks off the holiday season, on Friday, Dec. 2, with its annual Christmas tree lighting in Swanny City Park. The annual Electric Light Parade will take place the following evening.

Tree-lighting festivities begin at 5 p.m. that night, with live music from Valley Voices, a female chorus a cappella four-part harmony group who will be singing Christmas carols. The Grand County High School Band will also perform.

Sweet Cravings, Zions Bank, Village Market and Moab Grill are donating hot cocoa and cookies.

Santa Claus will also be present for kids who wish to talk to him.

Earlier on Friday, students from Helen M. Knight Elementary School will bring their handmade ornaments to Swanny Park, where city workers will place them on the Christmas tree, in advance of the lighting.

Once darkness falls, Moab Mayer Dave Sakrison will count down the seconds to the Christmas tree lighting.

“Everybody should come out and enjoy the fun,” said Jodie Hugentobler, executive director of the Moab Chamber of Commerce, the event’s sponsor.

Moab’s annual Electric Light Parade will begin at dark on Saturday, starting at Center and Main streets.

Each year, a committee comprised of chamber members, selects the “best” float to receive the Traveling Trophy award. Last year’s parade had 57 entries.

“It’s hard to pick because there are so many awesome entries,” Hugentobler said. “To me, everyone is a winner.”

Last year’s winner was the National Park Service for its “Christmas Around the World” themed float which included a globe and Delicate Arch lit up with lights.

“It was one of the entries with the most lights,” Hugentobler said. “It was beautiful.”

A lot of effort went into construction of the float, said Aneth Wight, an NPS cartographic technician. Nearly 20 park service employees volunteered their time outside of work to build the float, which was started before Halloween, she said.

The park service also won the Traveling Trophy in 2013 – not realizing that year it was a contest, Wight said.

Each year, Traveling Trophy holders choose the parade theme for the next year, and decorate the trophy thusly, before passing it on to the new best float winner. This year’s theme is “Red Rockin’ Christmas.”

“We wanted something inclusive of the area, and the community,” Wight said. “Something that the entire community could get behind and enjoy.”

“It’s one of our biggest events for the community,” Hugentobler said. “Over 3,000 people attended the parade last year. It brings businesses and the community together. It’s a fun event.”

To help spectators stay warm, hot chocolate and cookies will be offered, courtesy of Moab Regional Hospital. Zions Bank is also providing hot cocoa and popcorn.

Holiday celebrations begin next week with tree lighting, Electric Light Parade

What: City Tree Lighting

When: Friday, Dec. 2, from 5 to 6 p.m.

Where: Swanny City Park, 400 N. 100 West

What: 18th annual Electric Light Parade – “Red Rockin’ Christmas”

When: Saturday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m.

Where: Main Street

Information: Moab Chamber of Commerce: 435-259-7814

For more information, contact the Moab Chamber of Commerce at 435-259-7814.