Visitors to Parowan and Brian Head Ski Resort over the Thanksgiving holidays will be able to participate in a unique old-fashioned Christmas in the country celebration Saturday in Parowan.

The highlight of the one-day event is the evening Candlelight Walking Parade in which residents and visitors, holding candles and singing Christmas carols, follow a live nativity cast of residents portraying Joseph and Mary up Main Street to the town square where a short program and official turning on of the city's Christmas lights takes place.The celebration begins in the morning at 11:30 a.m. with Santa's parade down Parowan's Main Street and will feature a number of floats, marching groups, motorized and equestrian entries.

A special guest appearance by Santa Claus at the parade is being coordinated by the Parowan Lions Club, which has asked Santa to take time out of his busy schedule to visit with all the children following the parade at the Iron County Fairgrounds Building, said Christmas Committee Co-chairwoman Sherry Krajca.

The Holiday Bazaar will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the fairgrounds building (entrance is approximately 40 North 300 East) and will feature gifts, crafts and homemade goodies.

"The new location is more spacious and will allow the public to move more freely through the various booths and to see Santa Claus," Krajca said.

From 1 to 4 p.m., several historical and traditionally decorated homes will be open for public tours as part of the Country Home Tour series. Home tour guide maps will be available at the holiday bazaar, Jesse N. Smith home and Rock Church museums.

The Candlelight Walking Parade will begin at 6 p.m. and will start at the Pit Stop Restaurant. "Everyone, young and old, is invited to bring a candle or flashlight and join the parade at the start or anywhere along the route," said Krajca, who added that parents should make sure that their child's candle is in a protective and safe container so that no one gets hurt.

The Candlelight Walking Parade will end at the town square, where a short nativity program will take place.

Following the program, Parowan City Mayor Dennis Stowell will turn on the city's Christmas lights - officially opening the Christmas season in Parowan.

"Another unique aspect of Parowan's celebration is that over two-thirds of the homes in town decorate early so that their lights can be turned on with the city's Christmas light," Krajca said.

Following the lighting ceremony, the Parowan Community Theater will present two old-time Melodramas beginning at 7:30 p.m. Admission will be charged.

"Last year the melodramas were a huge success and due to popular demand the performances were held over," said Krajca, who added that this year three evening performances are scheduled for Nov. 22-24. For more information contact the Parowan Community Theater at 477-8732.

A "Kick Up Your Country Heels" country-western dance will conclude the day's events. The dance will begin at 9 p.m. at the fairgrounds building and will feature the music of the Virgin River Band. Admission will be charged.

For more information about the celebration or accommodations in the Parowan area, contact Parowan City's Economic Development Office at 477-3331.