Anticipation for this year's annual Arizona Public Service (APS) Parade of Lights is running high. Many are looking forward to the event, which was cancelled last year due to inclement weather in Williams. APS is the title sponsor for the event. The parade begins at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Officials with the Magic of Christmas in Williams were tapped to be this year's grand marshals for the much-loved event to honor their efforts in putting together the holiday tree lighting and other local holiday events, according to Chamber of Commerce Event Coordinator Sue Atkinson.
"In honor and recognizing them for the award they won last year by the Arizona Office of Tourism, we themed the parade 'It's a Magical Christmas' to tie in with their event," Atkinson said.
Line up for the parade will begin at 5 p.m. on Ninth Street Saturday. The route will take parade participants along Route 66, finally ending at Pine Street, Atkinson said. Applications to enter the parade can be found at the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce office, located at 200 W. Railroad Ave. on the corner of Railroad Avenue and Grand Canyon Boulevard.
"There is no entry fee to enter the parade. We just ask, obviously it's a nighttime parade, a light parade, (that entries) be lit. We encourage music," Atkinson said. "I just want to remind everyone not to throw candy. It's a safety issue with kids running into the road to grab candy, especially with this being a nighttime parade, visibility is down. We just want everybody to be safe."
Entering the APS parade of lights, Atkinson said, is a good way for local businesses to show their community spirit and pride.
"Most entries have banners. I think it's a good way to be involved and be out there," Atkinson said.
Santa Claus himself will be arriving in Williams atop the APS float during this year's parade.
"The title sponsors always get the honor of having Santa ride on their float," Atkinson said. "There's only one Santa in the parade."
Awards for entries in the parade will be handed out during the Chamber of Commerce mixer Dec. 12 at the Williams-Forest Service Visitor Center. Judging for the awards will be based on a number of criteria, according to chamber officials, including antique/special vehicle, equestrian, band/musical group, walking group and others.
"It's going to be the year-end chamber ambassador mixer," Atkinson said. "We're going to have it at the chamber office on Dec. 12. It's usually one of the biggest mixers we have through the year. It's kind of like our chamber Christmas party for our ambassadors, all of our members, community members. The 50/50 will benefit the Salvation Army. We are going to do parade awards. Also the commercial and business lighting awards will be that night."