CAMP VERDE - It may not be the Santa Claus Lane Parade, but to Camp Verde residents Chet and Mary Linder, the Parade of Lights is all about putting smiles on kids' faces.
"It makes me choke up," Chet says as he prepares for his role as Santa Claus in Camp Verde's annual Christmas parade, scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. "It's a great feeling. People enjoy a parade. You see all those kids' faces. It's all for the kids. If I make a parent happy, that's great. But if I make a kid happy, that's even better."
For the fifth year, the Linders will dress for the parade as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. The parade begins on Main Street, as local businesses, organizations and neighborhood groups cascade down the parade route from Turner to Nichols streets with vibrantly lighted and decorated floats.
"It's fun watching the kids' faces," says Mary. "Seeing the joy in their faces is the main thing."
On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., the Town will also sponsor its annual Christmas Craft Bazaar in the Community Center Gym, located at 395 S. Main St., at Hollamon Street. Shoppers can choose from a selection of handmade items, including quilts, totes, toys, scarves, jams and jellies, potholders and assorted jewelry, says Camp Verde resident Mary Nordstrom.
"The crafters are out of this world," says Nordstrom, who will be selling mice made of cookies, chocolate and cherries, as well as reindeer made of donuts and pretzels.
After the parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on the stage in the Community Center Gym for children to tell him what they want for Christmas.
"One time a child asked if I could bring his brother home to him," Chet remembers.
The boy's brother was overseas. At war.
"They don't ask for much," Chet says. "They just ask for things that mean something to them."
Admission to both the Parade of Lights and the Christmas Craft Bazaar is free. Space is still available for parade entries and craft booth space. For more information, contact Parks and Recreation at (928) 554-0828.