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KINGMAN - It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Kingman as the community flooded downtown in awe as the Kingman Downtown Merchants Association held their Annual Very Merry Parade of Lights and the City of Kingman tree lighting took place Saturday, December 1.

The lighted parade, themed “Magical Beginnings,” had a record 61 entries composed of walking groups, equestrians, vehicles, and floats.

The parade route ran backwards this year, starting at the corner of Oak St. and 5th St. ending at Beale St. and 1st St., to accommodate the City of Kingman's annual Tree Lighting ceremony. The Tree Lighting ceremony, formerly at the City Complex, was held at Locomotive Park located on Beale St. between 1st St. and Grandview. Several trees in addition to the locomotive engine were lit with lights donated by the community. Scott McCoy spearheaded ‘Light Locomotive Park’ in conjunction with the City of Kingman-Parks Dept., approximately 50 strands of lights were donated.

Despite the freezing temperatures and unruly winds, the community showed up in large numbers as they lined either sides of Beale Street supporting the festivities and patronizing the local businesses.

There was free hot cocoa, live music from the Kingman Middle School Bobcat band, fire trucks streamed with beautiful lights and children passing out candies on the backs of beautifully lit floats.

“The very Merry Creative Lights is our largest parade yet. We have over 55 entries. We titled it “Magical Beginnings” because of a few reasons. So there was a lady by the name of Jamie Taylor, she was in sales marketing at the time for Kingman Regional Medical Center and was the Current Chairman for the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce. She decided to see what we could do to pull the community into the sandbox and play together. Sandbox wasn’t really a great name so we kind of renamed it CARE (Citizen Alliance for Revitalization and Economics) Aka Sandbox. So that kind of got the ball rolling on our community making some major changes. So we have a lot of different players in that group. So the next year, a lady by the name of Lynn Peterson, stepped in as the president of the board. The following year she took it to a different level which was GENK and it expanded, or changed, or took a different direction and they also started the initiative of Main Street. There is a group which is the Kingman Downtown Merchants Association, wanted to assist in revitalizing Downtown Kingman. So the gentleman by the name of Matthew Wanner, who is the president of Kingman Downtown Merchants Association, lobbied to create an entertainment zone in downtown Kingman. From there, Downtown has kicked off with Rickety Cricket, Diana’s Cellar Door and others. Within all of those things, plus City Council putting in a new city manager and two brand new economic positions. So with all those rolling and rolling, Kingman now has some new beginnings and we are starting to see some massive and major changes in our community. Hence this years theme of the parade is called ‘Magical Beginnings’. The largest parade will be kicking off the Christmas Season, shop local, shop downtown,” says Joni Millin, KDMA parade chairman.

The 2019 Very Merry Parade of Lights and Tree Lighting ceremony are slated for December 7, 2019. For more information about the parade or other events in Downtown Kingman contact KDMA at 928-753-1143. For more information on or to donate to the Tree Lighting ceremony contact the City of Kingman-Parks Dept. at 928-753-5561.

-Jasmine Duhon and Bradlee Mackin

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