Safford Downtown packed for Merry Main Street

The tree on the lawn of Safford City Hall is lit, starting the holidays in the Gila Valley. - David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — Merry Main Street kicked off the holiday season in the Gila Valley bigger than ever.

Thousands made their way to Safford’s Downtown to watch Kevin Johnson, with Ponderosa Aviation, flip the switch to light the tree on the lawn of Safford’s City Hall, the first of Merry Main Street’s numerous activities on the night.

Kevin Johnson, with Ponderosa Aviation, flips the switch, lighting the community Christmas Tree to start the 2022 Merry Main Street. – David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

Children used inner tubes to slide down the mountains of snow created by Ice King, or enjoyed the numerous bounce houses, obstacle courses and other inflatable activities.

The GRWC Woman’s Club and Rustic Barn Bakery hosted a new event this year — the pie eating contest.

Zion Granados was the winner of the teen category in the GFWC Woman’s Club of Safford/Rustic Barn Bakery Pie Eating contest. – David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

Zion Granados, who won the teen division, said he joined at the urging of his girlfriend. After his win, he tried to get her back by having her participate in the karaoke contest, but she wasn’t interested.

“I love you enough to come and eat pie in front everybody, you should love me enough to go sing. Oh, you don’t?” Granados said.

Pie-eating wasn’t the only contest on the evening. Roycycled Treasures sponsored the Ugly Sweater contest; a Cornhole Skills contest was sponsored by the Graham County Chamber of Commerce; The Gingerbread House contest was sponsored by Keyhole Properties, The Venue and the Vignette on Main; children’s karaoke took place on the Kempton Chevrolet Stage; and the Coloring contest was sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club of the Gila Valley.

The Rodriguez girls, from left, Ariza, Jordynn and Leti, pose for a photo with Santa after sharing their Christmas wishes with the jolly old elf. – David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

The Safford Downtown Association brought Santa to the historic Safford Theatre to hear the wishes of good boys and girls, and more than 800 attendees made free s’mores thanks to Copper & Cotton Lifestyle Co.

More than 800 people made free s’mores during Merry Main Street, courtesy of Copper & Cotton Lifestyle Co. – David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

Title sponsor for the tree lighting was Freeport-McMoRan, while Ponderosa Aviation was the title sponsor for Merry Main Street. Additional sponsors included Sunzia, Pattern Energy, CMI Quick Copy, The City of Safford, Graham County Chamber of Commerce and the Safford Downtown Association.