Acker Night 2018!

Acker Night is TONIGHT and we are so excited!

For those who are not from Prescott and do not know what Acker Night is, here is a bit of history:

Acker Night is an event that was created to fulfill the wishes of Prescott resident and patron James S. Acker. Living from 1865 to 1955, James S. Acker stated, “All the residue of my estate… I give to the City of Prescott to be used for parks and for promotion of music, particularly for children.”

When Mr. Acker died in 1955, he wanted much of his estate to go towards supporting and promoting music with the youth, which is where Acker Night comes from and why it was created.

Not only did he donate his estate for music, but he also donated a good number of parcels of land he owned to the City of Prescott to be used for parks. Today, from his generosity, we have Acker Park, an 80 acre parcel of natural parkland near the downtown Prescott area. The park includes a one mile loop trail, picnic areas, restrooms with a mural on the outside of the building depicting the history of the land and the nature there, mosaic art walls, an amphitheater, geocaching spots, and more!

Due to Mr. Acker’s generosity – and to fulfill his wishes – we now have Acker Park and one of our favorite Prescott Christmas events; Acker Night!

From 5:30 to 8:30 tonight Acker Night will take place, an event produced solely by volunteers. A tradition continuing for thirty years now, there will be over 500 performers dispersed throughout the downtown area to sing, play instruments, and raise money for music programs and instruments for the youth in Prescott. Nearly every shop in the downtown area will have someone performing accompanied by complimentary hot cocoa, apple cider, and goodies to eat that they kindly provide free of charge for our delight.

You do not want to miss out on this time honored tradition that has such a beautiful history behind it. The courthouse will be lit up, there will be carolers and performers everywhere gracing us with their musical talents, there will be dancers performing in the streets, and do we need to mention the hot beverages and treats again? Bring your friends and family, and enjoy the show!

BUT, don’t forget your layers because after 5PM the temperature will drop below 50 degrees and will be almost below 40 degrees by 8PM! Grab that winter scarf, put on those wool socks and ear muffs, and snuggle up in your coziest jacket. Grip a complimentary hot beverage to warm your belly as you walk around engulfed in music and joy, and take in the Christmas season festivities.

Happy Acker Night to you all! Stay warm!

Hanukkah!

Yesterday, December 2nd, began the Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that last eight days, beings on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, usually falls in November or December, and commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C.

The word Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew and, according to history, it is when the Jews rose up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. As many know the object/symbol of the Menorah, the holiday is often called the Festival of Lights and is celebrated by lighting this object, as well as participating in eating traditional foods and games, and exchanging gifts.

Here is an account of the Hanukkah story and history from History.com:

“The events that inspired the Hanukkah holiday took place during a particularly turbulent phase of Jewish history. Around 200 B.C., Judea—also known as the Land of Israel—came under the control of Antiochus III, the Seleucid king of Syria, who allowed the Jews who lived there to continue practicing their religion. His son, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, proved less benevolent: Ancient sources recount that he outlawed the Jewish religion and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. In 168 B.C., his soldiers descended upon Jerusalem, massacring thousands of people and desecrating the city’s holy Second Temple by erecting an altar to Zeus and sacrificing pigs within its sacred walls. Led by the Jewish priest Mattathias and his five sons, a large-scale rebellion broke out against Antiochus and the Seleucid monarchy. When Matthathias died in 166 B.C., his son Judah, known as Judah Maccabee (“the Hammer”), took the helm; within two years the Jews had successfully driven the Syrians out of Jerusalem, relying largely on guerilla warfare tactics. Judah called on his followers to cleanse the Second Temple, rebuild its altar and light its menorah—the gold candelabrum that’s seven branches represented knowledge and creation and were meant to be kept burning every night. According to the Talmud, one of Judaism’s most central texts, Judah Maccabee and the other Jews who took part in the rededication of the Second Temple witnessed what they believed to be a miracle. Even though there was only enough untainted olive oil to keep the menorah’s candles burning for a single day, the flames continued flickering for eight nights, leaving them time to find a fresh supply. This wondrous event inspired the Jewish sages to proclaim a yearly eight-day festival. (The first Book of the Maccabees tells another version of the story, describing an eight-day celebration that followed the rededication but making no reference to the miracle of the oil).”

Some Hanukkah traditions include lighting a new branch of the menorah for every passing day of the eight day holiday and reciting blessings during the lighting, having your menorah displayed in the window for all to see and remember the miracle of the holiday; playing with dreidels, having all your foods fried in oil, and exchanging gifts.

Happy Hanukkah to all our friends out there who celebrate! We hope you have an amazing and blessed holiday!

The 64th Annual Yavapai County Courthouse Christmas Lighting!

Join us in downtown Prescott tomorrow for the 64th Courthouse lighting.

Arguably the main event of the season for Arizona’s Christmas city, it is a festivity you will not want to miss.

At 5PM there are musical groups performing Christmas songs followed by a reading of the nativity story from the Bible to bring joy and cheer, and a reminder of the reason for the season. The lighting of the courthouse is at 6PM where the entire downtown area is lit up in a spectacular show of Christmas lights and celebration.

Nearly every tree is wrapped in colorful lights, the gazebo is a beacon on display of Christmas radiance, and the courthouse building itself it aglow with Christmas lights and light up decorations to showcase its historic beauty.

Enjoy the lights, an awing sight to see, and hang around afterward to take it all in. With countless restaurants, coffee shops, bars, vintage shops, and so much more, you will have no trouble finding something to do with your friends and family after the lighting tomorrow night.

We hope you come out to see the show, to take in the Christmas season, and connect with your loved ones!

Thumb Butte

If you are from Prescott, or have visited before, it’s impossible to miss one of its most prolific landmarks standing tall and proud on the western horizon of the town: Thumb Butte. Standing at 6,500 feet tall, the well known landmark rises about 1,200 feet from the downtown Prescott area and is easily spotted from nearly anywhere in town. The derivative of its name is obvious enough with its thumb like appearance sticking out from the Sierra Prieta mountain range for all to see.

The Sierra Prieta mountain range spans fourteen miles long in central-northwest Arizona, creating a natural barrier to the western most point of the town of Prescott. Thumb Butte is held within that mountain range, a natural outcropping of rock that actually has some debate around it as to how it occurred geologically.

One theory is that it is a geological formation known as a volcanic plug. A volcanic plug is a configuration that occurs when a much larger volcano’s exterior erodes and deteriorates after millions of years, and what is left behind is that volcano’s hardened center.

A second theory that is supported by the evidence of the composition of the surrounding mountains and the composition of Thumb Butte itself, is that Thumb Butte is actually a major basalt flow. A basalt flow is really just a tall lava flow, which means that at one point millions of years ago, Thumb Butte was a point at which lava escaped, built upon itself, hardened, and eventually turned into the landmark we see today. Either way you spin it, at some point in time, Thumb Butte was a volcano.

From a recreational stand point, Thumb Butte and the Sierra Prieta mountain range are an outdoor enthusiasts dream. Rock climbing, mountain biking, and countless hiking trails, the park offers something for everyone and includes trails for both novice and the more experienced adventurer. Climbing to the top of Thumb Butte itself using trail #33, you are gifted with jaw-dropping views of all of Prescott, Prescott Valley, and even some of Williamson and Chino Valley. While hiking clockwise to the top can be steep at times and definitely gets one’s blood pumping, it is made easier with a paved trail of switchbacks including safety rails and plenty of benches for resting spots. If that feels to be a little outside of your abilities, no worries, you can head up the trail counter-clockwise, which is far easier and still brings you to the peak with all its amazing views. And, if you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can even climb the boulders to the very tip top of Thumb Butte, though caution is seriously recommended as this can be a treacherous trek.

Thumb Butte and the surrounding area is a site to be seen both from afar and up close. If you’re looking for a good day hike, or a good place to explore, the trails surrounding this mountain range should definitely be on your list if they aren’t already.