Holiday fun in Flagstaff
By Alyssa Tilley
Being away from family and friends during the holiday season can be tough for students. Fortunately, there are plenty of events happening around Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University (NAU), which will help spread the holiday cheer to students.
The “Winter Wonderland” is an event put on by the Flagstaff Parks and Recreation Services on Dec. 7. According to the Parks and Recreation Services website, the event starts with the lighting of the wreath on the Southside Downtown Tower at 6:15 p.m. Immediately following, Santa Claus and Mayor Nabours will arrive at Heritage Square at 6:30 p.m. to light up the tree. Children and cheery NAU students can visit with Santa and attend story-time in the Public Library, before enjoying the First Friday Art Walk.
“They’ll have free arts and crafts, hot cocoa, churros and cotton candy, to continue the holiday fun,” says Dillon Morrison, recreation leader for Flagstaff Parks and Recreation Services. All events are free and the holiday cheer will be plentiful.
The following day, the 14th Annual Parade of Lights is being put on by the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce. According to the Chamber of Commerce’s website, the parade will have dozens of twinkling floats and marching bands gliding through the downtown area. It will begin at 6 p.m. and last a little over an hour. While downtown, students can catch a bite to eat and shop for gifts for family and friends.
If looking to be entertained this season, there will also be several holiday performances occurring through the month. On Dec. 7 and Dec. 8, the Canyon Movement Company is presenting the 9th annual “Nutcracker Suite in Modern Bare Feet.” The show starts at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee at the Sinagua Middle School Auditorium on Saturday.
Gina Darlington, director of the Canyon Movement Company, states the performance is “in bare feet and modern style” and the “ethnic dances are authentic.” According to the company’s website, the show is a “21st century interpretation of the holiday classic.” The dancers range in age from seven years old to around 55 years old. The wide age range alone attracts a large audience. Darlington says around 1,200 people attend the event each year. Tickets are $9 when bought in advance and $12 at the door.
A concert of carols called “Christmas in the Mountains” is another holiday performance that will take place in the Ardrey Auditorium on Dec. 16. It features the Master Chorale of Flagstaff, the Arizona Mountain Chorale, the Children’s Chorale of Flagstaff and the Harold M. Harter Memorial Handbell Choir, and the carols will be performed with brass, percussion and organ. The show starts at 3 p.m. and student tickets are $8.
Another important aspect of the holiday season is giving back. The NAU club New Student Government (NSG) is pairing up with the Office of Student Life and the Salvation Army. Sally Barnes, senior secondary education Spanish major, is the NSG club adviser. Barnes’s goal for the club is to “give the opportunity of having a great holiday season to as many people as possible.”
Within the University Expansion, there is a tree filled with angel and mitten-shaped tags. Students and faculty can take a tag off the tree and purchase the gift described on it. The gifts on the angel tags needs can be dropped off at the ASNAU office; the gifts on the mitten-shaped tags can be taken to the Office of Student Life. All gifts need to be turned in by 5 p.m. on Dec. 6, because they will be dispersed to the families on Dec. 7.
Although the tags end on Dec. 6, Barnes also emphasizes NSG “appreciates any help this holiday season with helping families in need,” whether it be through the tags, volunteering with the Salvation Army for bell ringing, or donating to food/collection sites.
NAU students have plenty of options to join in on the holiday fun in Flagstaff and at NAU. Whether it be attending events or giving back to the community, students can choose to spend the holidays however they please.