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YUMA, ARIZONA – Even as outside temperatures soar past the century mark here in the desert, the first structures of a sparkling Christmas Village set to rise at the Yuma Quartermaster Depot park in December are under construction.
Equally hot news this July is that the Christmas Village will boast a skating rink as a main attraction, thanks to a recently announced sponsorship by the City of Yuma. The holiday fantasyland will debut December 3 after the Dorothy Young Electric Light Parade and remain open through December 24 with daily entertainment and family activities, from cookie decorating classes to a Santa’s workshop where children can shop for gifts for friends and family (all items just $1-$3). The Christmas Village is a project of the Yuma Visitors Bureau, which will market it as a holiday attraction to families across Arizona and the border region. “The Christmas Village is going to be a magical experience for kids of all ages,” said Susan Sternitzke, YVB’s interim executive director. “Having ice skating will make it even more amazing – a completely unique attraction here in the desert.” Skates will be available to rent at the outdoor rink, which will be open to the general public as well as for church, family or office parties. “This was a unique opportunity to offer our citizens something that wouldn’t normally be available locally,” said City Administrator Greg Wilkinson. “We’re happy to be able give the Christmas Village a little boost in this first year, because we believe it’s going to be a big success that will grow over the years and draw a lot of new people to Yuma and the Quartermaster Depot.” Surrounding the rink throughout 10-acre park will be thousands of twinkling lights and a village of walk-in playhouses, including the miniature church that carpenter Bobby Lemmon had nearly complete by the 4th of July. Next on his list are a gingerbread house and the building that will serve as Santa’s workshop. It will take through the end of November to construct the initial buildings, with plans to add a few more structures to the village each year in the future. In addition to sponsors for village buildings, YVB is looking for service groups to provide decorating manpower by “adopting” one of more than 100 trees on the grounds to be draped with sparkling lights. YVB is also seeking groups or individuals to entertain on the Christmas Village stage and volunteers for a variety of tasks. Finally, businesses or groups are being welcomed to book holiday parties, both for the festive atmosphere the Christmas Village will provide and the chance to try out skating. For more information about any of these opportunities, contact Kristan Sheppeard at 928-376-0100. Sternitzke admits that YVB is getting an early start on Christmas. “You definitely need imagination to get excited about ice skating when it’s 110 degrees,” she laughs. “But this is a huge undertaking, so just like Santa, we have to be ‘making a list and checking it twice’ in order to pull this off.” YVB markets the Yuma area within the travel and tourism industry and to the general public. The nonprofit is funded in part by City of Yuma hospitality tax revenues. Direct travel spending in Yuma County totaled nearly $600 million in 2008 and supported nearly 6,000 jobs. Travel spending in the county also generated more than $36 million in state and local taxes. Contact Information Ann Walker, YVB Media Relations specialist: 928-376-0100 (office), 928-210-9044 (cell), or email firstname.lastname@example.org Visitor Information Center: 1-800-293-0071
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