Safford Council OKs Merry Main Street, Light Parade, Safford Sparkles events

Safford Downtown Association Danny Smith updates the Safford City Council on the steps being taken to ensure that the Merry Main Street and Holidat Light Parade meet with CDC COVID-19 mitigation guidelines. Looking on is city Planning Director Susan Anderson. - David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — The Safford City Council gave the green light to four events this holiday season.

The council confirmed the annual tree lighting, Merry Main Street and Holiday Light Parade by the Safford Downtown Association; the Safford Sparkles Crossword Event by the Graham County Chamber of Commerce; and the Safford Sparkles holiday movie showing by the city will all take place.

“I’m just happy to see that we’re opening up and still moving forward despite this COVID that’s going to be around forever,” said Safford Mayor Jason Kouts. “We just had this huge blitz. Almost 300 people got tested and only 30 of them came back positive; that’s a positive sign as far as I’m concerned. So I think we’re moving in the right direction. We’re allowing kids, we’re allowing the citizens to enjoy the holiday season, and that’s what I’m all about.”

The events were previously approved by the City Council in February but, due to the pandemic, a new COVID-19 event application was required, which necessitated Monday’s hearing. The application requires details on how the event will be staged within Centers for Disease Control guidelines for social distancing, wearing of face coverings and sanitation practices.

Changes due to CDC guidelines include elimination of inflatable play activities for children at Merry Main Street, a longer route to accommodate social distancing of spectators of the Holiday Light Parade, and the requirement of masks at all events.