ST. GEORGE — The chill in the air isn’t the only thing putting Southern Utah residents in the holiday spirit.
All around Southern Utah, organizations are ringing in the holiday season with celebrations throughout the first week of December. From tree lighting ceremonies to fun runs and even a widely-known craft show, there’s a lot to do in the days leading up to Christmas Eve.
City of St. George Christmas Spectacular
The city of St. George is kicking off the first week of December with a tree lighting and fun run in Town Square Park.
The Monday event features local musicians who provide live music and entertainment while attendees participate in games, carousel rides, photos with Santa Claus and a 1-mile, Santa-themed fun run. Holiday snacks will also be available for people to enjoy, and donuts and hot chocolate are available for the first 500 people.
Throughout the night, there will also be a tree lighting ceremony and gingerbread house parade, and the Children’s Museum will be open for extended hours.
The event begins at 5 p.m. where runners can register for the Santa Dash if they didn’t already register online. The performances and ugly sweater contest begins at 6 p.m., and the festivities will continue until 6:55 p.m. when the crowd will gather to sing “Silent Night” before beginning the countdown to the tree lighting at 7 p.m.
After downtown St. George has come alive with Christmas lights strewn across the city, the crowd will sing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and welcome Santa Claus, the event’s special guest. Santa Claus will be available for pictures in front of the carousel beginning at 7:15 p.m., as the Santa Dash participants begin their first lap of Town Square.
The event is free to the public. Tickets for runners start at $5 and increase to $15 if participants would like a Santa suit.
Trailblazer Nation Tree Lighting Celebration
Later in the week, Dixie State University will host its second annual Trailblazer Nation Tree Lighting Celebration. The holiday event takes place on Dec. 9 next to the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons building on campus in the roundabout on Trailblazer Boulevard. The festivities will include the lighting of Dixie State’s 40-foot Christmas tree, which is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m.
Local groups and organizations will be performing. Santa and Mrs. Claus, The Grinch and Brooks the Bison are also expected to appear, and the event will include holiday games and activities, tractor rides around campus and holiday treats from local vendors. The event is free for students, faculty, staff and members of the community and begins at 5 p.m.
The tree will remain lit through the new year.
“We are excited to celebrate the holiday season with our community that we know and love,” Dixie State events and promotions coordinator Bailey Zimmerman said in a statement. “Joining together always brings that added holiday cheer and Dixie Spirit.”
Southern Utah Dickens Christmas Festival
Beginning Wednesday and rounding out the end of the week, the annual Southern Utah Dickens Festival makes its way back to the Dixie Convention Center. The event will run from Dec. 4 to Dec. 7 and include vendors from all over the state as well as live performances by local orchestra and choirs. Actors will also be performing “A Christmas Carol.”
Attendees are transported back to 19th century London in the blink of an eye, complete with old English shops, volunteers in period costumes, fortune tellers, orphans, royalty and an appearance by Father Christmas,
Participants can also write letters to Father Christmas, Scrooge, Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens and any other character at the show, and the postman will deliver the letters on his bicycle throughout the festival.
Tickets start at $6 for children from 4-12 years old and increase to $8 for adults. Residents 65-years-old or older can access the festival for a discounted rate of $7 and children 3-years-old or younger are free. Tickets can be purchased at the festival or online for the same prices.
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