PHOENIX — Mesa’s annual celebration of the holiday season that includes ice skating, a large Christmas tree and visits with Santa begins Friday and will last through Jan. 2.

Merry Main Street will kick off the festivities from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. in downtown Mesa at Main Street and Macdonald and feature an evening of music, food, lighting of the Christmas tree and, of course, an appearance from the big man himself.

A brief program and lighting ceremony of the four-story Christmas tree will begin at 5:45 p.m., along with Santa making his first appearance of the season.

Activities as part of this year’s Merry Main Street include the Winter Wonderland Ice Rink with more than 5,000 square feet of ice, Jack Frost’s Food Truck Forest, Merry Makers Marketplace, rides on the Mesa Polar Express and free visits with Santa.

Also new this year is Mesa’s 12-foot Menorah, which will have a light added nightly beginning Sunday through Dec. 6.

People on Friday can also take part in one of Mesa’s most beloved stories complete with musical performances and hosted by Mayor John Giles. “The Man Who Killed Santa Claus” will take place at 7 p.m. at the Mesa Arts Center.

Don’t worry, Santa will not be harmed in the presentation of the story and will be able to make his yearly journey around the world next month.

More information, including a calendar listing when each attraction will be open on the various days, can be found online.