Making Spirits Bright in Snowy Prescott
Proclaimed “Arizona’s Christmas City” by former Gov. Rose Mofford, Prescott is a short two-hour drive from Phoenix and offers the white Christmas that you’ve been looking for.
Christmas Parade and Courthouse Lighting
When: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, December 2
Where: Courthouse Square, Downtown Prescott
More information: Prescott.org
Grab your cowboy boots and take a seat for the 35th Annual Prescott Chamber Christmas Parade. The theme for this year is “A Cowboy Christmas, ” and the floats will highlight the cowboy culture of the West to celebrate the heritage of Prescott. The parade has become a time-honored tradition in the community and officially kicks off the holiday season. Local business owner and community leader Tommy Meredith will serve as the grand marshal of the parade.
Following the parade is the pièce de résistance, the 63rd Annual Courthouse Lighting Ceremony. Gather around the historic courthouse plaza and watch more than 100 trees come to life with holiday lights while a children’s choir sings Christmas songs. The lights will remain up through January 14.
A Frontier Christmas
When: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, December 2
Where: Sharlot Hall Museum, 415 W. Gurley St.
More information: Sharlot.org
Immediately following the Courthouse Lighting Ceremony is the Frontier Christmas at Sharlot Hall Museum. It’s two blocks west of the courthouse on Gurley Street, but that short walk will transport you back to territorial Arizona. The historical museum consists of 11 buildings on 4 acres of land, all of which will be open for the event.
“Each building represents something distinctive about how the frontier pioneers celebrated the holiday season,” Sharlot Hall’s Ken Leja says. “For instance, the ranch house, which was created in the 1930s to honor the frontier lifestyle, will serve cookies that were cooked on the house stove, which also served as the fireplace and heat source.”
Be sure to check out the original governor’s mansion, Fort Misery, which was built in 1863 and is the oldest surviving log cabin in Arizona. There’s also the schoolhouse where you can decorate the Christmas tree with vintage trimmings and making Victorian holiday ornaments.
Luminarias will light the pathways of the campus while living history interpreters walk the grounds and explain what life was like when Prescott was the territorial capital of Arizona.
Admission is $5 for adults 18 and over, and free for museum members and those 17 and under.
Acker Night of Music
When: Starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday,
Where: Downtown Prescott
More information: AckerNight.com
For 29 years, Acker Night has filled the streets of downtown Prescott with holiday music. During the event, participating businesses open its doors to musicians who play music for three hours while you walk around, shop and enjoy the spirit of song.
The musical showcase was founded with a trust fund from Prescott resident James S. Acker that was specifically to be used ” … for promotion of music, particularly for children.” This fun family tradition will bring together more than 120 performers and more than 100 participating businesses for a night of music, cheer and festivities.
The event is free, but the musicians play for tips, which are used for musical scholarships and also help fund local school music programs. The music in each store will vary—everything from chorale groups to blues to jazz ensembles and even a theater organ.
“Our opening ceremony last year was a flash mob singing the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus. It went so well that we’ll be singing it again this year as a singalong,” Acker Night Vice President Ann Petrovsky says.
“Acker Night is a kick-back-and-have-fun kind of night, for kids and adults alike,” Petrovsky says.
“Everyone—and I mean everyone—comes out for this event, rain or shine. The camaraderie is palpable!”