Polarfest, San Tan Valley Holiday Parade, a favorite winter tradition in the making - East Valley Tribune: Queen Creek & San Tan Valley

Polarfest, San Tan Valley Holiday Parade, a favorite winter tradition in the making

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Bridgette Crosby is a San Tan Valley resident.

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 11:37 pm | Updated: 9:42 am, Thu Nov 1, 2012.

When people think of a ‘White Christmas’, they usually don’t think about snow in San Tan Valley, unless you also mention one of the area’s favorite holiday traditions.

Polarfest was created by San Tan Valley resident Janet Anderson. Anderson wanted to create a winter festival during the holidays that also helped the local community. For the past 10 years, Anderson has done all the planning, advertising and logistics for one winter event or another, eventually morphing her efforts into Polarfest.

This year, Polarfest and the San Tan Valley Holiday Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8. Polarfest will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The parade will start at 9:30 a.m. on Johnson Ranch Blvd. near Walgreen’s and will end at Walker Butte Elementary School, 29697 N. Desert Willow Blvd. in San Tan Valley.

Anderson is the type of person who really believes in and is excited by the idea of positive community events. Her enthusiasm carries over into her conversations and her excitement is contagious.

Anderson is originally from Montana and one can’t help but wonder if she is a little homesick for snow, especially when she smiles with sparkling eyes and states, “This year we are adding a giant snow sledding hill and we are also having a snowman making contest! Kids of all ages may participate as long as they bring snowman decorating items from home.”

Other fun things planned for this year’s event include helicopter rides, bounce houses, carnival games, pony rides, music, and AZ Grind, an indoor skate park in Mesa, will be bringing out their half pipe for skaters, BMX, scooters and shredders.

Anderson said that sponsors are needed this year in order to help pay for the snow. Any sponsor willing to donate $1,000 will have a large banner on the sledding hill, which will be seen by the 5,000 or more people who attend the event.

“It’s really not about making money,” Anderson said. “It’s about doing something good for and with the community.”

Anderson networks with local businesses and non-profit groups and invites them to participate. Businesses can set up a booth and showcase their services for only $75. Nonprofits and schools are free and they keep all the money they make during the event. In past years, over 17 different nonprofits in the community have benefitted from Polarfest.

For residents, many services will be available on-site as well. Pinal County Attorney’s Office will be bringing a giant shredding machine, Pinal County Sheriff's Office will be collecting old cell phones, which they will then reprogram for “911” phones for the elderly in the community. The San Tan Regional Chamber will be collecting toys for the Holiday Toy Drive.

Space is still available for sponsors, vendors, nonprofits, schools, clubs, and other organizations. For more information, contact Janet Anderson at (480) 251-1966 or visit www.polarfest.net.

• Bridgette Crosby is a writer who lives in and loves the Queen Creek/San Tan Valley area. Reach her at bridgette@crosbycountry.com.

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