Light Parade, Festival of Trees, Toys for Tots golf tourney all Saturday

The Bowman Family's entry, "I'm Dreaming of a Cotton Christmas," took the win in the family category in 2022's Light Parade. - David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — The holidays bring another busy Saturday to the Gila Valley.

Things start at 9:30 a.m., with the seventh annual Toys for Tots toy drive and golf tournament at Mt. Graham Golf Club.

Cost for the two-person scramble is $50 plus at least one new unwrapped toy.

Starting at 10 a.m. and running until 3 p.m., the VFW in Thatcher will present the Holiday Market, with vendors, door prizes and a chance to visit with Santa. The first 40 children in attendance will receive a free goodie bag.

Starting at 4 p.m., Country Financial will celebrate its 10th anniversary of bringing the 26th annual Holiday Light Parade to Safford’s Main Street.

“For us, Christmas has always held a special place in our heart, and an opportunity to allow families a fun, exciting moment to do something together,” said Country Financial’s Jenna Ferrin.

There will be a full slate of activity before the parade, with Santa meeting with boys and girls at the historic Safford Theatre from 4-5:45 p.m. Food trucks in the driveway in front of Safford City Hall will also open to the public starting at 4 p.m.

Entertainment will take place on the Kempton Chevrolet stage, starting at 5 p.m., with Safford Dance Academy, Gila Valley All-Star Cheer and Extreme Martial Arts performing for the crowd.

The parade will start after 6 p.m., starting from the Graham County Courthouse and traveling east to 3rd Avenue, turning right to 7th Street, where entries will disband.

The city will close Main Street and its intersections to traffic starting at 2 p.m. Saturday, re-opening at 10 p.m.

Right after the parade, from 7-9 p.m., Catholic Daughters of the Americas St. Rose of Lima Court will open the 2023 Festival of Trees in the church’s volunteer hall.

The Festival of Trees is a perfect event to witness the beauty of Christmas and get into the seasonal spirit.
– Gila Valley Central Photo

Dozens of trees decorated by volunteer groups will celebrate the theme, “A Savior is Born Unto Us.” Plus there will be concessions of green, mixed and bean burros, butter tortillas and baked goods; and children can purchase stuffed animals and jewelry.

Following opening night, the Festival Trees will take place Dec. 11-4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 4-7 p.m. each day.