Bundle up and kick off the holiday season at the annual City Tree Lighting on Friday, Dec. 6, at 5 p.m.
Hosted by the Moab Chamber of Commerce, there will be hot cocoa and cookies provided by Edward Jones, Moab Grill, Sweet Cravings, City Market, and Village Market. Live entertainment will be provided by the Valley Voices, the Moab Charter School, choirs from Grand County Middle School and Grand County High School, and David Olsen. Santa Clause will also be in attendance.
The day after the tree lighting is another not-to-be-missed event: Moab’s annual Electric Light Parade. The light parade features many of the icons of the holiday season: twinkling lights, spangled Christmas trees, reindeer, red Santa caps, stacks of festive gifts and gingerbread houses. Participants add a Moab-style twist by including regional icons like red rock arches, rafts riding white-water rapids, dinosaurs, petroglyphs, jeeps and bikes. The parade is also sponsored by the Moab Chamber of Commerce.
Each year, parade floats representing local businesses, federal agencies, clubs and nonprofits launch from Swanny City Park, then crawl along Main Street. Marchers and cyclists join the procession and spectators line the sidewalks to see the display, all in celebration of the holiday season and of Moab’s warm community spirit that carries us through the dark season of short, chilly days. The parade starts at 6 p.m.
KZMU, Moab’s community radio station, will join the procession after a few years’ hiatus from the event. Serah Mead, the station’s manager, said she is very excited to be bringing KZMU back to the parade. Their float will embody the feisty, independent spirit of the station.
“We are forcing the idea of a ‘float’ on its head,” Mead said.
KZMU is partnering with Moab Bike Party, a local group that promotes sustainable transportation and community engagement by hosting monthly bike/dance celebrations in town.
“The float will be totally bike-powered,” Mead said.
Mead said KZMU staff will lead the bike “cyclone,” wearing light-up sandwich boards. Behind them, an entourage of ‘bike partiers’ will be pedaling their rides wearing costumes or accessories with radio or extraterrestrial themes. Mead will be trailing the bike party solar-powered mobile speaker, broadcasting DJ-selected tunes.
Mead still isn’t sure what kind of costume she’ll have.
“We’re going to have to dress really warm because it’s usually really cold, and we won’t be able to bike hard enough and fast enough to warm up,” she said, adding that she would be sporting many layers.
“Maybe I’ll be the ‘Abominable Music Man,’ or something like that,” she joked.
The Moab Valley Fire Department is preparing one of their old engines to join the procession and will invite Santa on the ride. The Moab Giants Dinosaur Park will pull trailers with large model dinosaurs, including an animated T-rex that roars and waves its head and tail. City Market staff will enter a float, and the Bureau of Land Management will drive one of their large fire engines bedazzled with LED lights, stars, and dinosaurs.
Moab Mayor Emily Niehaus said she is grateful to the Chamber for producing the electric light parade each year, and to the Moab City staff and local students for decorating Moab’s tree.
“It’s electrifying!” Niehaus said.
After the parade, take a break from the cold by stopping into Moonflower Market’s Winter Sun free Winter Community Dinner. The Datura Deli, located inside the store, will be serving soups, curry, bread and cookies, along with Moonflower tea. There will be vegan and gluten-free options. The cash registers will be open as well if you’d like to buy a treat that’s not on the menu.
“It’s always packed,” store manager Derek Whitworth said. “Last year the line went out the door and down the street.”
Two years ago, the success of the dinner had Moonflower chefs scrambling to make sure everyone was fed.
“We’ll be sure we won’t run out of food this year,” Whitworth said.
He sees the community dinner as a way of giving back to the customers who support the store year-round.
“We feel like it’s kind of a thank-you to and appreciation of the locals,” he said. “Typically at that time of year, it’s just locals here.”