Chino Valley envisions a holiday village
About 200 attend town’s first Christmas event
Chino Valley staged its first Christmas event on Saturday, Dec. 10, that was relatively small in its scale, but the organizers have a bigger vision for the future.
Todd League, who is chairperson of the town’s Park & Recreation Advisory Board, said they would like to do something that isn’t already being done in the region: A small Christmas village set up in Memory Park.
“We want it to grow from here, we’re looking at a little Christmas village,” League said Saturday. “We’ll see where it grows to. Right now, our wish is just to build this community.”
For its first event, the town decorated and lit a 14-foot tall spruce tree. Darryl Croft, who was due to be sworn in as mayor on Tuesday, Dec. 13, read ‘T’was the Night Before Christmas;’ and Santa Claus sat in the gazebo listening to the what Chino Valley youth want for Christmas. There was holiday music playing on a loud speaker, and hot drinks available in the Senior Center.
The town asked people to bring their own ornaments to hang on the tree (knowing that they wouldn’t be returned). For children who did not bring their own, a table was set up with ornaments they could choose from and then hang them on the tree.
In the center of the park were two strings of light hung through the trees. According to multiple sources, that is where they hope to erect a winter wonderland village for people to tour. The plan is to start small, and then add to it every year.
“I think it’s great, great for the community,” said Mark Garcia, a 27-year resident of Chino Valley. Garcia was standing in line with his son, who was trying to work up the courage to sit on Santa’s lap and ask him for a bicycle. “It’s nice to see the town getting together for Christmas.”
“I like it a lot, I think it’s going to be a good little tradition,” said Lindsay Martinez, a five-year resident of Chino Valley. “I think it’s going to grow and get bigger each year.”
Katie Cornelius, the town’s recreation coordinator, said they’ve had volunteers to hang all the lights they have for free next year. She said the town is accepting donations of LED only lights so that they’ll be able to light up more trees next winter.
Cornelius said they estimated 200 people attended the tree lighting event.
“Santa Claus is a huge hit, the line got long the minute he walked in,” League said.
Chino Family Christmas
Earlier in the day Saturday, the Chino Valley Area Chamber of Commerce held its Chino Family Christmas event at Heritage Middle School.
The event had a makeover from previous years where it was called Chino Hometown Christmas. Live music acts were the most noticeable change.
“Turnout was excellent, way better than we expected,” said Arlene Alen, the director of the Chamber. She estimated about 1,000 people attended the event Saturday.
The public was able to vote on which Christmas tree decoration they liked the most. There were three winners, one in each category.
Chino Valley Quilters ‘A Quilted Christmas,’ was the top pick in the nonprofit category. Tom’s Print & Sign ‘Christmas Fun with Advertising’ was the winner in the commercial group. And Territorial Early Childhood Center’s ‘Recycled Tree,’ which was cans of food for the Food Bank, won the school’s category.