The Town of Marana’s annual holiday festival is changing gears this year, but there will still be activities leading up to Christmas. Instead of a full festival, the town is hosting a Christmas Cruise on Saturday, Dec. 5, which allows residents to drive down Marana’s Main Street, enjoy a preview of the Christmas tree light show, and wave hello to Santa Claus. While the Christmas Cruise is planned for December 5, the Christmas tree light show at the Marana Municipal Complex will play every night through Dec. 31.
The drive-through route centers around the Marana Municipal Complex, with cars heading east on Bill Gaudette Drive, before turning right on Main Street toward the Municipal Complex. Once traffic circles around the lit-up Christmas tree, they will continue north on Main Street toward Grier Road. Participants can tune into 89.5 FM to listen to holiday music. The event emcee will be local radio host Buzz Jackson, from 99.5 FM: Tucson’s Country Favorites.
The Town of Marana has indicated that the far-right lane is the event line, and use of multiple lines and the center lane is not permitted. Lines may be long and traffic may be slow, but you wouldn’t want to go fast, because Main Street near the Municipal Complex will feature Santa Claus and costumed characters handing out goodie bags to children.
While children won’t be able to sit with Santa, they can drop off their letters when cars pass by his station near the central tree. You can also get a response back by including a self-addressed stamped envelope, and can download official event stationary at maranaaz.gov.
In a normal year, the Town of Marana’s holiday festival gathers thousands to view Christmas lights, participate in crafts, and features wintertime activities, artists and vendors. The decision to switch to a drive-through event was decided by the Town Council in October, after taking Pima County Health Department recommendations and Arizona COVID numbers into account.
Due to COVID, the Town of Marana requires that members of the public not exit their vehicles while traveling through the event, and walk-up attendees are not permitted. The costumed characters handing out goodies will be wearing protective equipment, and they ask you wear masks when in close proximity to Santa and Town staff.
The Town of Marana Christmas Cruise takes place 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, around the Marana Municipal Complex at Main Street & Civic Center Drive. For more information, visit maranaaz.gov.