It’s a miracle! Desert Foothills Christmas Pageant returns

November 19, 2008

First weekend in December

CAVE CREEK – Washed out last year by torrential downpours in one of the most intense storms of the season, it looked like the Desert Foothills Christmas Pageant was a goner. The staging area was flooded and the sets were wiped out. The Pageant was cancelled because, not only was it raining, but Cave Creek was running too high and fast for organizers and spectators to cross to get to the Pageant site.

Unwilling to let that be the end of the 54-year local tradition, Pageant organizer Toby Payne, and his dedicated band of volunteers and the Kiwanis of Carefree have been working at Spur Cross on and off for weeks, building stone walls and sets in order to present the traditional Christmas Pageant this year.

“We’d especially like to thank Bill Boyton for designing and building the sets and Linda Garvin for directing the Pageant” says Payne. “This is Linda’s last year, so if someone is interested in taking over next year, please call the Foothills Community Foundation and leave your name and contact information.”

The Desert Foothills Christmas Pageant will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 6 and 7, at the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area in Cave Creek. Bob Hutson, who has been a popular narrator for many years, returns to tell the Christmas story with beautiful musical accompaniment provided by the Pageant choir lead by music director Steve Norris. Local teens, rehearsed by pageant director Linda Garvin, enact the roles of Mary, Joseph, infant Jesus, angel, townspeople, shepherds, and Kings.

The crèche scene critters are real because the Christmas Pageant was started in 1952 by the local 4-H Club in Cave Creek as a re-enactment of the Christmas story showcasing their animals. There is a live, occasionally stubborn, donkey for Mary and the Three Kings really do travel on horseback.

“Thank you, Evelyn Holbrook, for your many years of wrangling the Kings and their horses,” Payne says, “not to mention the burro!” Evelyn says she’s still looking for steady horses with good riders to take the parts of the Kings, “They can be girls, men, boys or women as long as it’s a reliable horse and rider. Call me if you’re interested: (602) 689-2528.”

Admission to the Pageant and parking are free. Bring a blanket to sit up close on the ground, or a portable chair if you’d like to sit more comfortably. Remember to wear warm clothes because it will be chilly.

“The pageant is purely the work of volunteers with the support of the Foothills Community Foundation” says Payne. “We couldn’t do it without them and folks like RSC equipment who provided the generator. What could be better than to watch the pageant with your family or friends and know you helped make it happen!”

For information about the Pageant, contact the Foothills Community Foundation at
(480) 488-1090.