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Who says you can’t talk about Christmas in June?

The Sedona City Council did just that on June 27 as Parks and Recreation Manager Rachel Murdoch and Sedona Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff gave preliminary details of what’s planned for this holiday season.


For the past four years, almost everything that has taken place during the month of December has fallen under the umbrella of Holiday Central Sedona. It came about after Diamond Resorts’ announcement in the summer of 2013 that it would no longer be hosting Red Rock Fantasy.

This past December there were several changes to Holiday Central, including moving Tinsel Town from Posse Grounds to Tlaquepaque and the return of Red Rock Fantasy — mostly in name only.

But this year that’s all changing. Murdoch announced that due to the confusion of using Holiday Central, Tinsel Town and Red Rock Fantasy Returns, the three will no longer exist. Instead, the chamber will market Sedona as a holiday destination, but it’s yet to be determined if there will be a brand name.

In addition, the Sedona Arts Center is coming aboard to help with planning and fundraising, and finally, a signature event will be added this year. In essence, the changes will simplify the overall month’s worth of events.

“Every year we have done more — more decorating, more events and more community participation,” Murdoch said. “But we also know that getting better doesn’t always mean doing more but it means changing things up. Sometimes you have to be brave enough to make those changes and let go of what didn’t work.”

If all goes as planned, the highlight of this year’s events will be a light show just below Snoopy Rock in the Uptown area. This isn’t to be confused with a laser show that was proposed four years ago. Murdoch said this is a 3-D show that is customized for Sedona and that specific rock face.

She showed a short video of one that was designed and shown on Hoover Dam.

The plan calls for three shows nightly Dec. 14 through 17. Each would last 10 to 12 minutes and start at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. The show could be seen from numerous areas in Uptown.

The cost for the light show — depending upon the number of projectors needed — can range from $80,000 to $130,000 for the creation and display. They’re hoping to keep costs to $100,000 or less. Murdoch will be using $20,000 of her budget for this show while the chamber has approved another $30,000. The remaining balance will come from individual and business donations.

It was pointed out that when the laser show was proposed, several Uptown businesses had offered to donate $10,000 apiece. Murdoch and Wesselhoff are hoping that will be the case this year.

Wesselhoff said she envisions restaurants hosting three-course dinners that include the show or special viewing parties. Being that Sedona is one of a handful of cities in the world that has earned International Dark-Sky designation, it was asked whether or not a light show complies.

Murdoch said Keep Sedona Beautiful wrote in a letter that the organization has its concerns but has chosen to remain neutral on the idea. The city’s remaining holiday budget will be spent on a 10-foot-tall holiday decoration that proved to be popular, especially on social media as guests posed inside of it.

Other areas of the city including the roundabouts will also be decorated as in years past.

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