- East Valley Holiday Events
Apache Junction Holiday Light Program and Parade
When: 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. event with 20 tons of snow, a petting zoo
and kids activities. 7 p.m. parade.
Where: The snow event is at the northwest corner of Apache Trail
and Phelps Drive. The parade is on Apache Trail from Phelps to
Chandler's Tumbleweed Tree Lighting
When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The event begins with entertainment and
Santa, a parade of lights at 7 p.m. and a tree lighting immediately
Where: Dr. A. J. Chandler Park, and the parade route is on Arizona
Avenue from Chicago Street to Arizona Avenue.
Gilbert Holiday Nights of Lights
When: 6-9 p.m. Dec. 9. The event includes lighting three pine
trees, lighted displays, entertainment and Santa.
Where: Gilbert Civic Center campus, 50 E. Civic Center Drive.
Downtown Mesa Holiday Festival
When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. The event includes kids
activities, Santa from 5-8 p.m., a community stage and tree
lighting at 5 p.m.
Where: Macdonald from Main Street to Pepper Place.
Queen Creek Holiday Festival and Parade
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The event includes the 10 a.m.
parade, floats, kids activities and is themed around favorite
Where: The parade is on Ellsworth Road from Sierra Park to the
Heritage Festival at the Queen Creek Library.
Tempe Fantasy of Lights and Boat Parade
When: The Fantasy of Lights Parade begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 10. The
boat portion starts at 5 p.m. with activities, Santa in Tempe Beach
Park at 6 p.m. and the boat parade at 7 p.m. Events continue until
Where: The parade begins at Mill Avenue and Third Street, ending at
Centerpoint Plaza with a tree lighting ceremony. The boat parade
can be viewed along Tempe Town Lake.
Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2011 4:36 pm
The Christmas lights at the Mesa Arizona Temple grounds are such
a spectacle that ABC's Good Morning America once named them one of
the top three holiday shows in the nation.
But when it comes to the city's holiday tradition, not even Mayor
Scott Smith can recall when - or if ever - Mesa put up an official
tree to raise holiday cheer.
He and the Downtown Mesa Association are working to change the
city's Grinch-like approach on Saturday as they hold an inaugural
downtown holiday tree lighting.
Smith said he hopes this begins a tradition that will become one of
downtown's larger events.
"Downtown never really did have an ongoing Christmas presence
because the Temple was just so really overwhelming. Now we're
recognizing we need to expand that and make the downtown lively,"
Smith said. "You go to the beautiful Temple gardens with their
hundreds of thousands or millions of lights and you'd go into the
dark downtown with no life at night or even a hint that it was
Mesa's new festival is 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, with a lighting
ceremony at 5 p.m. at the northeast corner of Main Street and
Downtown was once home to the popular weekend event called Merry
Main Street, but the city slashed special events funding in 2006.
DMA executive director David Short wasn't in Mesa at the time but
he heard pleas to revive it when he began his job here. The
sentiment was so strong that Short said he knew downtown needed
some kind of holiday tradition. He and Smith said they figure it
will take a few years to build the event's size and
"We knew it would be tough recreating Merry Main," Short said. "We
wanted to start fresh. This is the first step in that."
• Contact writer: (480) 898-6548 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, December 1, 2011 4:36 pm.