No shortage of Christmas <br>fun in Valley this weekend

There is nothing like the turn of a page of the calendar to make one realize the Christmas season has arrived.

Make no mistake about it, we celebrate Christmas here in the Verde Valley in a very big way.

By the time this weekend is over, the various communities of the Verde Valley will have packed more holiday fun into a single weekend than many communities can muster over a complete holiday season.

Tonight, for example, there is the Old Town Chocolate Walk and the annual evening of caroling and listening to Christmas songs courtesy of the Cottonwood Community Band. Or, you can opt for the warm reception that’s always part of the Valley’s holiday fare by visiting the opening of the Made In Clarkdale art exhibit at the historic Clark Memorial Clubhouse.

On Saturday, of course, the Valley’s collective attention will be focused on the 46th edition of the Cottonwood Christmas Parade and the annual visit by Santa to follow at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds. Santa has also promised to make an appearance the Clarkdale Town Park Saturday beginning at 3 p.m. Later in the day, the lighting of the park gazebo will take place in Clarkdale.

Up the hill in Jerome, the eighth annual Holiday Festival Jerome takes place Saturday from 2-9 p.m.

Spearheaded by the Jerome Chamber of Commerce, the eighth annual celebration provides an old-fashioned atmosphere to holiday lovers everywhere. Jerome has over 50 shops to peruse that will stay open until 9 p.m.

There will also be refreshments, Christmas caroling, hayrides and a lighting festival at 7 p.m., where over 500 luminarias are lit for the "Light Up The Mountain" celebration.

In addition to all the fun, the choir from the St. Cecelia’s church in Clarkdale will top off the atmosphere with their heavenly voices.

Across the Valley in Camp Verde, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand Saturday to greet everyone, young and old alike, at the Community Center from 8-10:30 a.m. Enjoy a free pancake breakfast with Santa and then do some fun holiday shopping at the all-day holiday bazaar. The fourth annual Camp Verde Christmas Bazaar, an all-day event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature quilts, ornaments, wreaths, dolls, hair accessories, oak and pine wood products, jewelry and much more

And that’s just what’s in store this weekend alone. We have three more weeks until Old Saint Nick makes the rounds.

Never let it be said the Verde Valley does not know how to celebrate the Christmas season.

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