The craft fair in 2018. [Courtesy of the MARC]

When is the appropriate time to start listening to Christmas music? Most people say December 1—I think it’s alright to sprinkle some songs into the Thanksgiving playlist. Either way, holiday season is right around the corner, and Moab is getting into the spirit with a handful of events on the weekend of Dec. 3: the Moab Chamber of Commerce is bringing back two of their annual events in person, the Tree Lighting and the Electric Light Parade, and the Moab Arts and Recreation Center is hosting a holiday craft fair.

“I think these events are pretty essential in our community,” said Laici Shumway, executive director at the Moab Chamber of Commerce. “Everybody has slowed down a little bit and it’s really time to focus on community and that holiday spirit … It’s just a really coming together kind of moment, which I love.”

The tree lighting, hosted in conjunction with the city, will take place at Swanny City Park on Dec. 3. Mayor Emily Niehaus will count down the seconds to the tree lighting—a massive pine tree in the park will be decorated and lit up. Students from Helen M. Knight Elementary created ornaments and will decorate the tree the morning of Dec. 1.

At the lighting, there will be live caroling from local vocal groups, hot cocoa, cookies, and a visit from Santa—this is the time to make sure you’re on the good list!

The annual Electric Light Parade on Main Street will begin at 6 p.m. the following evening. The route starts Swanny City Park and will follow Main Street, ending at Margaret L. Hopkin Middle School.

In the past, parade floats were created by local businesses, agencies, clubs and nonprofits, including KZMU, the Moab Valley Fire Department, and the Moab Giants Dinosaur Park.

Last year, the Chamber of Commerce introduced a business decoration contest along Main Street, which will continue this year. The weekend of Dec. 3, community members can vote on which storefront has the best decorations.

The holiday craft fair, which will take place at the MARC from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, has over 50 vendors, all local and regional artists. Goods include photography, fine art paintings, ceramics, jewelry, candles, soaps, baked goods and more. Face masks are required, and the MARC will take appropriate COVID precautions by monitoring how many people are inside the building at the same time.

“Events like this one help to sustain the many small businesses that participate and give folks a chance to connect directly to the face, and hands, that made the thing they’re purchasing,” said Melisa Morgan, arts assistant at the MARC. “The undeniable beauty and energy of the Moab landscape attracts and inspires lots of different creative people! For being as small as it is, Moab is a fairly diverse community with a vibrant and caring network of support for, and of, artists and creators.”

Morgan is excited for the opportunity to get to know the vendors and “hold space for joy and connection here at the MARC,” she said.

“I’m excited about all of it,” Shumway said. “And we’re always excited for Santa to come.”