WILLIAMS, Ariz. - It's time to get in the holiday spirit with the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce's Mountain Village Holiday Celebration.
The theme for this year's event is "Christmas on 66." The Chamber has already started decorating around town and now residents and business owners can join in.
The business lighting contest runs from Nov. 7 to Jan. 3 to coincide with Polar Express dates. Participating businesses agree to install at least 1,000 lights and turn them on from 6 to 9 p.m. each night. Interested businesses must submit their applications by Nov. 26.
The residential lighting contest runs from Dec. 1 to Jan. 3. Participating residents agree to install at least 500 lights and turn them on from 6 to 9 p.m. each night. Interested residents must submit their applications by Nov. 26.
"I think overall it really adds to Christmas to have a lot of different residences and businesses lit up," said the Chamber's Event Coordinator Darlene Bitter. "The Chamber does some of the lighting on the ends of town and throughout the center part of town. If you've looked at the town lately, it's really neat to drive through at night and to see it lit up. It just really adds Christmas spirit."
Judging for the lighting contest will take place between Dec. 1 and Dec. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. In the business contest, judges will give awards for the best depiction of the theme in the categories of RV parks, small and large hotels, small and large retail, restaurants and other businesses. In the residential category, judges will give awards based on best lighting effect, best creativity and best depiction of the theme.
The Williams High School National Honor Society will judge the contest and winners will receive a bell. Chamber members will present awards to the winners at their Dec. 12 holiday mixer. All participants will receive a $20 credit on their January electric bill.
The chamber is also gearing up for its annual parade of lights, which takes place downtown at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 29.
"It's an awesome way to actually launch the Christmas season," Bitter said.
The parade includes categories for floats, equestrian, walking, antique and classic cars, family groups and novelties, such as bikes, golf carts and tractors.
The deadline to enter was Nov. 14, although entries received after this date may still be able to participate.
After the parade, the Chamber will put on its first elf costume contest. Young elves between the ages of 0 and 13 will compete in one category and elder elves ages 14 and older will compete in another category.
"We were thinking of an idea to encourage people to participate in the activities we have in the evening," Bitter said. "Sometimes we have a lot of Santas and it can be a little confusing for kids, so we're trying to encourage everyone to do their best and come out as Santa's helpers."
Elf wardrobe basics include elf shoes, an elf hat and a smile. Judging will take place at the town Christmas tree using the "elf meter" which measures applause. The winner in the young elves category will receive a stuffed elf and a gift certificate to Rod's Steak House. The winner in the elder elves category will receive a trophy and a gift certificate to Rod's Steak House.
After the elf contest, Santa will preside over the official Christmas tree lighting on Second Street and Route 66. Arizona Public Service, Grand Canyon Railway and the chamber collaborate to bring in the tree.
The chamber is also still accepting sponsorships for Mountain Village Holiday.
Applications for the lighting contests, parade and sponsorships are available at www.williamschamber.org and at the chamber office, 200 W. Railroad Ave. More information is available at (928) 635-0273.