A participant in last year’s Electric Light Parade waved to the crowd as his float followed the procession in downtown Moab. [Moab Sun News file photo]

Stay warm with cookies and hot cocoa at the city tree lighting in Swanny City Park on Friday, Dec. 1, starting at 5 p.m. Various local businesses – Zions Bank, Moab Grill, Sweet Cravings, City Market and Village Market – will provide the holiday goodies during this annual holiday event.

Each year, Moab decorates the Austrian pine tree that Moab City Parks Superintendent Mike Huts estimates is at least 20 years old. Ornaments created by 500 Helen M. Knight Elementary School students were to be hung on Nov. 30, in advance of the city tree lighting that will take place on Saturday, Dec. 2.

There will be performances in the park by the Grand County High School Band, as well as a combined choir of Grand County High School and Grand County Middle School students. Live music will also be provided by Valley Voices, an all-female a cappella four-part harmony singing group.

Valley Voices will lead people in singing Christmas carols, said Mary Mayberry, a longtime member. The group meets year-round to practice (except during the summer months) and performs for other holidays as well, including Veteran’s Day and Valentine’s Day. The group is always open to new members, Mayberry said.

Santa Claus will also be present during the tree lighting event.

Electric Light Parade

Holiday festivities continue the following evening with the Electric Light Parade, which begins at 6 p.m. at Swanny City Park, and continues down Main Street to Uranium Avenue near City Market.

The parade always has a theme, and this year’s is “Sweet Christmas in the Rocks” to denote traditional cookies and sweets typical of this time of year. Each year, the organization that wins “best float entry” receives the “traveling trophy” award and is tasked with choosing the next year’s parade theme.

Harrison Oil Field Services won last year’s float contest – the theme was “Red Rockin’ Christmas.” The excavation company’s float consisted of a large CAT 980 loader driven by owner Charlie Harrison, that he and his wife, and staff decorated with 9,000 lights.

“We strung lights over the cab, the bucket, tires, fenders – it took two generators to light the 9,000 lights,” Harrison’s office administrator Ashley Wareham said.

“It’s fun; it really gets you in the Christmas spirit,” she said.

Winners decorate their “traveling trophy,” which they keep for a year, before passing it on to the next year’s best float.

The parade float contest is open to anyone, and “is so much fun,” Moab Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lexie Samuelsen said. Participants must fill out a parade entry form ahead of time to acquire the necessary permits, she said. The panel of judges is comprised of four volunteer Chamber board members, she said.

Before the parade begins, stop by Museum of Moab, 118 E. Center St.. for hot beverages and cookies, or the Moab Information Center, from 5 to 7 p.m., where Moab Regional Hospital is hosting the Cocoa Shack.

Kick off the holiday season with city tree lighting, Electric Light Parade

What: City Tree Lighting

When: Friday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m.

Where: Swanny City Park

Information: 435-259-7814

What: Electric Light Parade

When: Saturday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m.

Where: Downtown Moab

Information: 435-259-7814