The 22nd Very Merry Parade of Lights kicks off the Christmas season Saturday

Many children like those on the right enjoyed the Very Merry Parade of Lights in downtown Kingman.

Miner/file

Many children like those on the right enjoyed the Very Merry Parade of Lights in downtown Kingman.

Gather up the kids, a few lawn chairs and some blankets and head downtown Saturday evening for the spectacular Very Merry Parade of Lights that kicks off the Christmas holiday season.

It’s a 22-year Kingman tradition that’s been picked up again by the Kingman Downtown Merchants Association, featuring brilliantly lighted floats, marching bands, candy for the kids and a visit from Santa Claus, if you’ve been good.

The parade starts at 7 p.m. at Locomotive Park and proceeds down Beale Street to Fifth Street. Staging takes place in Lee Williams High School parking lot.

This is a Christmas parade where the community comes together to have fun and soak in the sights and sounds of the holiday season.

“It’s to get everybody in the Christmas spirit and to shop local,” said Billie Jo Perkins, parade chairwoman for the Kingman Downtown Merchants Association. “The streets were lined with people last year.”

She has more than 40 entries for this year’s parade, including the Kingman Middle School band, Boys and Girls Club, Kingsmen and rodeo royalty, and floats by Pioneer Title and House of Hops.

Floats must reflect the theme of the parade and all things Christmas, and the parade committee determines the criteria.

There will be no advertising, slogans, signs, banners, flyers or other displays deemed to be in violation of the rules.

Floats must be self-propelled or towed by a lighted vehicle or a person or animal. They can’t be more than 30 feet high, 40 feet long and 8 feet wide. Past parades have featured about 30 floats.

The Downtown Merchants Association passed the parade over to the Route 66 Trailblazers Rotaract Club in 2014, but has taken it back the past few years. It costs about $1,000 to sponsor the parade.

The association’s goal is to promote businesses in downtown Kingman, many of which have been there for years providing a variety of goods and services.

Tree lighting

Immediately after the parade, the City of Kingman will hold its 10th annual Christmas Tree Lighting at City Hall, corner of Fourth and Oak streets, just off the parade route. Warm up with hot cocoa, make a Christmas card for a wounded veteran, enjoy live music and count down the tree lighting.

Christmas sing-along

Before the parade, stop by Mohave Museum of History and Arts, 400 W. Beale St., at 2 p.m. for the 37th annual “Old Fashion Christmas Carol Sing-a-Long Gathering.”

Bring all the little ones and join Paul Carson, who will be featured on the Austin Pipe Organ, playing your favorite carols.

Also, Beale Street Theatre, a group of local performers, will share a special Christmas performance at the museum gathering.

Admission is free and light refreshments are provided.

Hualapai Wonderland

Take a trip to Hualapai Mountain Park for Santa’s Hualapai Wonderland on Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. Take a picture of the kids with Santa Claus, go on an old-fashioned hayride, drink hot cocoa, eat cookies and roast marshmallows.

It’s a cool setting among the pine country with elevations up to 8,400 feet, so dress warmly.

Admission is $7 a vehicle. The park is at 6520 Hualapai Mountain Road.

Festival of Trees

Downtown businesses are participating in the first “Festival of Trees,” a tree-decorating contest to display the Christmas spirit and bring more foot traffic to stores.

Each business will decorate their tree with ornaments of their choice, which may be sold as a fundraiser. Store owners are asked to turn on their lights in unison with the city’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

People can vote on their favorite trees for the Best of Show grand prize.

Country Faire

Caring Hearts for Horses presents a “Country Faire” from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at Castle Rock Event Center, 3743 N. Highway 93 in Golden Valley.

There will be seasonal baked goods, crafts and gift items, food specials, entertainment, dancing, Grinch dunk tank, rodeo queens with Santa for pictures, live and silent auctions and full bar inside.

It’s all part of Caring Hearts for Horses Yuletide event. Call 928-303-3378 or email ramona.ault@gmail.com for more information.

MCC Shines

Bring your camera for a picture with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus at Mohave Community College’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Mohave Community College’s Neal Campus in Kingman, 1971 Jagerson Ave. Bring one item of nonperishable food.