By Lisa Larson

Like a jewel glittering against a majestic red rock backdrop, Tuacahn is once again opening its heart to share the Christmas season with the community. Illuminated with more than 250,000 twinkling lights and a variety of new video projections, Tuacahn’s already impressive natural beauty is turned up a notch during the holiday season, thanks to Christmas in the Canyon.

Like someone wrapped a bow around the entire canyon, Tuacahn CEO, Kevin Smith says he hopes everyone will take the opportunity to enjoy this “gift to the community,” a gift that includes four main events: Christmas in the Canyon Light Display, the Live Nativity in the outdoor amphitheatre, synthetic ice skating under the stars, and a production of “Fairy Tale Christmas” in the indoor Hafen Theatre.

In addition, patrons can take a ride on the Old Salty Train, visit with Santa Claus, and enjoy hot chocolate and other treats around an open fire, or slip inside Chef Hog’s Café for a delicious meal.

And if you’re looking for the perfect gift, you will likely find it inside the beautifully decorated Tuacahn Gift Gallery.

“We want to have offerings that build on the family memories people create when they come to Tuacahn,” Smith said.

For many, those memories are steeped in experiences with the Live Nativity every year.

Featuring live animals, beautiful music, and a volunteer cast that changes each night, members of the community have the chance to participate in, as well as view, the story of the Nativity from the Bible, reminding them of the reason Christmas is celebrated.

“It’s just a neat experience to remember what the holiday is all about,” said Heidi Anderson who coordinates the volunteer nativity cast. “It turns into a bonding experience for everyone.”

For some, Christmas is about creating new experiences, like ice skating in the shadow of Tuacahn’s impressive red rock cliffs.

Back for the second year, Tuacahn offers ice skating in a place unlike any other, gliding on special synthetic ice that allows even beginners to keep their footing.

“It’s real ice skates on a polyurethane surface,” saed Smith, “It’s not the same as real ice, but it’s still a great experience.”

Because the surface is slightly less slippery than traditional ice, experienced skaters may get a better workout going around the rink, while newcomers to the sport last year noted they were more successful taking their turn on the ice. Either way, it’s in “as beautiful a setting as you can imagine,” Smith said.

Christmas in the Canyon takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. November 23, 24, 29-30, and December 1, 3, 7-8, 10, 12-15, 17, 19-22. There are two Live Nativity performances each night at 7 and 8 p.m. Tickets to the Live Nativity are $3 per person, or $20 for a family of 10. Log onto www.tuacahn.org or call 435-652-3300 for more details.

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