Turkey Trot, Merry Main Street start Gila Valley holiday event season

PIMA — The holiday event season starts this week with two annual favorites.

Things start Thursday morning with the 16th annual Pima Turkey Trot.

Starting and finishing at the Vard Lines Roping Arena, the 1-mile Fun Run starts at 8 a.m., and the 5k starts at 8:45 a.m.

A $50 cash prize will be awarded to the first overall finisher, with awards presented to the top female and male finishers in nine different age categories. A turkey will be presented to the family with the most registrants.

Cost is $15 per person and registration is online only at 16th Annual Pima Turkey Trot (runsignup.com). Funds are donated to Pima schools.

The 20th annual Freeport-McMoRan Tree Lighting and the Ponderosa Air Ambulance Merry Main Street will take place on Safford’s Main Street on Friday.

Activities begin at 5 p.m. with a Christmas concert by the Gila Valley Children’s Chorale, followed by arrival of the mayors, City/Town Councils and Board of Supervisors on a fire engine. Local First responders will flip the switch to light the tree and the lights on Safford’s City Hall.

Santa will arrive escorted by Safford’s finest and will listen to the holiday wishes of the children in the lobby of the historical Safford Theatre.

Free children’s activities and games include:

● The Valley Telecom Alpine slide

● Jumping castle

● Cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus

● Kids crafts at Gila All Star Cheer

● Karaoke

● A bucking reindeer

● Cake walk

● S’mores with Gila Valley Made

● Rides on the Wear’s Christmas train

● Ginaveve’s arctic slide

● Themed photo booths are on every block for individual or family Christmas photos

Many downtown merchants and restaurants will participate by staying open, food vendors will have tasty treats, and adults can test their skills with a digital treasure hunt.