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5:31 PM Wed, Dec. 12th

Acker Night turns 30; Hundreds of performers set to perform

Summer’s Dance Works perform during the 29th annual Acker Musical Showcase in downtown Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

Summer’s Dance Works perform during the 29th annual Acker Musical Showcase in downtown Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

It all started in 1988 years ago with eight groups and eight businesses and on Friday, Dec. 7, 30 years later, the annual Acker Musical Showcase will feature about 145 groups and more than 600 people at about 140 businesses, said J.S. Acker Music Park Association President Scott Currey.

For anyone coming to the event who has never been to the Acker Musical Showcase, they’ve never experienced anything like it, Currey said. In fact, some journalists from the United Kingdom are expected to be there seeing what goes on, he said.

“We’ve always said that we don’t know of another place in the United States that does it quite like us. Well it might be the world,” Currey said. “It’s so unique.”

The opening ceremony with comments by Mayor Greg Mengarelli starts at 5 p.m. on the Gurley street side of courthouse plaza. Mengarelli is followed by the Prescott High School Chamber Singers, Central Arizona Pipes & Drums and the community singing of the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Then the performers begin from the intersection of Cortez Street and Sheldon Street and the intersection of Willis Street and Montezuma Street to the Prescott Wedding Chapel at 105 W. Carleton St.

This year sees the likes of Summer’s DanceWorks on Montezuma Street, Tiffany Fortney in Scarlett’s Curated Collection, The Gladhearts at Hotel Vendome, Greg & the Gringos at BloomTree Realty, Bill Williams at Lone Spur Café, Sugar & the Mint at the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center and the return of Road One South in the lobby of Country Bank.

“No matter where you park on the outskirts of (downtown), when you walk in, you’re going to be passing music groups,” Currey said. “You might not even make it to downtown.”

Esteban and his daughter, Teresa Joy were also recently confirmed to be joining the festivities and are planned to be in Bashford Courts, he said.

Photo opportunities are also available with Santa Claus in a tent on Gurley Street and Wells Fargo on Montezuma Street, Currey said. Additionally, Wildflower and Starbucks are coming with pie, hot chocolate and coffee and Calvary Chapel is selling hot chocolate on Montezuma Street with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the J. S. Acker Music Park Association.

Last year, thanks to donations, the Acker Musical Showcase gave $5,000 to each school district’s music program and enough for 65 private scholarships for students to continue studying music, Currey said. Of that amount, Fancy That! raised $10,000 by selling Acker Night scarves for $10, he said. Scarves will be on sale again this year starting at noon on Friday at Fancy That!, 124 S. Granite St. where Greg Miesel will perform for the event.

For donations, tip bags will be in every store and kids from Prescott High School will be in uniform with tip bags at strategic locations, Currey said. It would be nice to raise about $30,000 this year, he said.

It’s a six month endeavor with a group of nine volunteers, the City of Prescott and Yavapai County to get the Acker Musical Showcase together but it always works out in the end, Currey said. The event goes on rain or shine.

For more information about the 30th annual Acker Musical Showcase, or a full program containing the list of performers and their locations, visit www.ackernight.com. Programs are also available at the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, 117 W. Goodwin St.