60-year tradition continues December 1-2

Pageant Keeps Cave Creek History Alive

By Curtis Riggs – Cave Creek history comes to life December 1-2 with the 60th Annual Cave Creek Christmas Pageant. Held at the entrance of the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, the pageant started in 1952 by the Cave Creek 4-H Club as a re-enactment of the Christmas story, showcasing Club members’ animals. Longtime Cave Creeker Toby Payne heads the event and says he’s helped produce 25 pageants put on by the Kiwanis Club of Carefree.

“There wouldn’t be a Pageant without the volunteer crews, local youth and adults in the cast and choir, animal owners and Kiwanis Key Club ‘angels’ who place and the light the five-plus miles of beautiful luminaria leading to the pageant site.”

The pageant is free. It will start at 7pm on both nights. People should dress warmly and bring a chair or blanket to sit on. |CST


  1. Robert Quinton says:

    For Toby Payne’s education, the pageant was not put on by the Kiwanis Club until very recently. The pageant was put on by the Cave Creek Improvement Committee until the early 2000s. I grew up in Cave Creek, moving there when I was six in 1959. I was a part of the pageant for years. Newcomers to town have no idea of the community effort taken to put on the pageant in the 1950s and 1960s when Cave Creek was a rural community of about 500 people. Back then, it was put on as a gift to the area, including the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas. That was the reason for the luminarias. So that people visiting from out of town to see the pageant could find the “pageant grounds” as they were referred to by locals. The name “Tse Bonita” for the pageant grounds was attached to it in the 1970s. The pageant was also originally performed not only as a gift to the area, but to present the Gospel to the audience. There were no speaking parts, only the narration from the Scripture. The choir, except the children’s angel choir, was behind the scenes invisible to the audience, not highlighted as they are now.

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