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Merry Copa

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The fourth annual Merry Copa festival drew a crowd to Copper Sky on Saturday. See the growing gallery of photos (and send in your own at News@InMaricopa.com). A zone for kids included the snow slide and skating rink, ornament decorating and cookie decorating. Gingerbread houses were judged, and scores participated in the one-mile Santa Run around the lake.

The one-mile Santa Run is just one part of the fourth annual Merry Copa. Photo by Mason Callejas

Snow, a sleigh ride, luminaries, ornament decorating, gingerbread, cookies, hot chocolate, running Santas and, of course, a tree-lighting by the lake all bring Christmas to Maricopa in one big celebration.

Now in its fourth year, Merry Copa is set for Dec. 2 from 2 to 8 p.m. at Copper Sky Regional Park. Entry is free.

Niesha Whitman, special events manager for the City of Maricopa, said organizers decided to extend the hours of the event “to allow more opportunities for families to enjoy everything there is to do.”

New this year is a “sleigh ride,” which is actually a horse-and-carriage offering rides for $4. There will also be an informal “Ugly Christmas Sweater” contest, with the winner decided by audience applause and receiving a gift.

A new event leading up to Merry Copa has been Maricopa Rocks specifically decorated for Merry Copa. Kids who found the rocks can turn them in at the event for a free wristband in the Snow Zone.

The Snow Zone is a collection of wintertime fun such as a snow mound, “ice” rink and bounce houses. A wristband for children age 3 and up is $5.

Cookie decorating, ornament decorating (sponsored by Ace Hardware) and hot chocolate are all $1 each. Whitman said luminaries will also be part of the crafts this year.

Kids and adults will compete in the Gingerbread House Decorating Contest, with entries on display at the opening of Merry Copa and winners announced at 5:30 p.m. Grand prize is a $100 gift card.

The Santa Run, which debuted last year, returns but is shortened to a 1-mile fun run/walk. Participants receive one-size-fits-all Santa suits to compete in and create an entertaining visual effect for those cheering on the running Santas. The race is 4-6 p.m.

The mayor is expected to light the tree at 7 p.m.

A free shuttle to the venue is provided from several school parking lots and Ace Hardware.


This story appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.


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Merry Copa at Copper Sky will include the lighting of a Christmas tree and lots of holiday activities.

The third annual Merry Copa Holiday Festival is Dec. 3 at Copper Sky.

Popular features are back, like the Snow Zone, cookie decorating, a gingerbread house contest and live entertainment.

MFD Toy Drive at Merry Copa

For the first time City of Maricopa Fire and Medical will host its annual holiday toy drive in conjunction with the city’s Merry Copa holiday event.
The toy drive, to be held at the Copper Sky Recreation Complex, will take place on Saturday Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is set to precede the annual Merry Copa holiday festival, which will run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Toys will be collected by members of the fire department and will go to F.O.R. Maricopa for redistribution.
Those who contribute to the drive will be given the opportunity to take a ride on one of MFD’s firetrucks. 

“The Snow Zone will have inflatables and a bigger snow slide,” city events manager Neisha Whitman said. “We’ll have the synthetic ice rink again, too.”

Wristbands for the Snow Zone are $5.

Outside the snow zone, decorate holiday cookies and ornaments. Check out the gingerbread houses competing for a $100 gift card and a holiday ham. There will also be face-painting, a magic show, petting zoo, trackless train and entertainment by local groups.

Kids can also write letters to Santa. They even have a chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus.

In fact, there might be lots of Santas. A big addition to the festivities is a Santa Run. Participants can run a 5K version of the race or just try the 1-mile walk option. Registered runners will receive a one-size-fits-all Santa outfit to run in.

If You Go
What: Merry Copa Holiday Festival
When: Dec. 3, 2-6 p.m. (tree lighting approximately 5:45 p.m.)
Where: Copper Sky Regional Park, 45345 W. Martin Luther King Blvd.
How much: Free entry ($5 for Snow Zone; $1 for cookie decorating and hot chocolate; $5 for parking on location but free off-site parking with complimentary shuttle)
Info & Registration: Maricopa-AZ.gov/web/Merry-Copa and Maricopa-AZ.gov/web/Merrycopa-Santa-Run

“They may have to cut them up or roll them up, but they’ll fit everybody,” Whitman said.

The Santa Run is for ages 6 and up. Registration is $30 in advance and $40 the day of the event. The race is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

The “Santas” will run laps through the park. Anyone who beats “the Grinch” will receive a free hot chocolate.

Whitman said the Santa Run is scheduled to finish around the time Mayor Christian Price leads a countdown to light the Christmas tree beside the lake.

Parking for Merry Copa is $5 at Copper Sky. There is free parking at seven locations with a free shuttle to and from the event from 1:45 to 7 p.m. Those lots are at Santa Rosa Elementary, Santa Cruz Elementary, Maricopa Wells Middle School, Butterfield Elementary, Ace Hardware (ADA access), Saddleback Elementary and Maricopa Elementary.


This story appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.