LIST: Arizona cities celebrate tree lightings, Christmas lightshows – kicking off holiday fun

We have the latest happenings around Arizona and in the Phoenix area to make your holiday wishes come true and to help you check off your holiday to-do list for the 2021 season.

APS Light Parade in Phoenix on Dec. 4

The APS Light Parade is Saturday, Dec. 4 and it will look a little different this year.

Organizers are limiting entries to just floats, so there will not be marching bands or performing groups this year as a COVID-19 precaution.

The parade runs down Central Avenue, from Montebello Avenue to Camelback Road. Then it goes down Camelback Road to 7th Street, to Indian School Road.

You're advised to bring a blanket since it could get cold, and of course, some holiday cheer! Parade-goers are asked to wear masks and social distance.

Scottsdazzle

Scottsdale is aglow on the night of Nov. 27 as the city lit its Christmas tree. A sing-along and a tree lighting ceremony was held at the Marshall Way Bridge on the canal waterfront.

The weeks-long event, known as Scottsdazzle, includes a variety of festive holiday events every night.

Learn more about the festivities here.

City Skate

After taking a hiatus in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ice skating is finally back in Downtown Phoenix, as CitySkate kicked off on Nov. 26, thus kicking off the holiday season.

"Christmas shopping, ice skating, we are going to eat, it will be a great time," said one person.

This year, CitySkate will be different, as it has been moved to Patriots Park at Cityscape due to light rail construction.

Regardless of where the ice rink is located, one of the real reasons it is so special is because everyone is enjoying the ice, while also taking in the perfect desert weather.

"We are just lucky. It is amazing what it is. Like to have sunshine and ice skating. It is awesome with music and everything," said another person.

CitySkate takes place every night from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission for adults is $18.

Fantasy of Lights Parade

Meanwhile, the holiday tree in Downtown Tempe was lit up, and the annual Fantasy of Lights holiday parade was back on. Like CitySkate, the event was on hiatus in 2020 due to COVID-19.

The parade featured kids and adults decked out in holiday costumes, as well as Christmas lights. Some furry friends also joined in on the festive celebrations.

"I just like the floats!" said one child.

"I like it because of all the lights. It just feels like Christmas, and I like Christmas!" said another child.

The Carter Family and their friends have made the parade their holiday tradition for the past ten years

"We camp out every year a little bit earlier," said Ali Carter. "We get food, hang out and the kids run around and play football, and then we watch the parade."

The family, like many others, missed the parade in 2020 due to COVID-19, and that is why they are extra excited to be back for 2021.

"We like to be out, and it's a great thing to come to," said Melissa Robichaub.

The kids anxiously watched as each float passed them by, until the big man himself showed up, eventually helping to light up the tree.

‘Merry Main Street’ in Mesa

Holiday Lights at Salt River Fields

The Salt River Fields in Scottsdale kicked off the holiday season on Nov. 24 with its drive-thru light show.

Lighted displays, Christmas trees, and tunnels with five million lights have been placed around Salt River Fields where the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies play their spring training games.

Tickets are $35-$50 per car and prices increase on holidays and on dates closer to Christmas. The event runs through Jan. 1.

More information can be found here.

Holiday Tree Lighting and First Snowfall in Tempe

The Tempe Marketplace Christmas Tree sparkled in all its glory on the night of Wednesday, Nov. 24 as dozens gathered for the annual event which was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

"I think it's cool and I love how they decorated everything, including the stars," said Anessa, who watched the lighting.

The event also featured candy handouts from Mrs. Claus herself, Christmas caroling, an ice skating show and even some snow.

Seven-year-old Aiden says he has two favorite parts of the evening – the 60-foot tree and the candy.

The bustling crowds are a stark contrast to last year at this time. "Unfortunately last year we did not put it on because of COVID, so we are super excited to bring it back this year," said Alexa Mayer, marketing manager at Tempe Marketplace.

Event-goers agree it's good to be back enjoying the holidays together.

"A lot different from the last two years, so I am so ready for things to go back to normal, so this kind of thing is good," Vicente Olivas said.

The event continues through Dec. 31.

More information can be found here.

Westgate Tree Lighting

Those in Glendale are got into the holiday spirit ahead of December as the Westgate Tree Lighting ceremony kicked off on the night of Nov. 23.

Those who watched the west Valley become a little brighter when the tree was lit also were able to enjoy photos with Santa, or the Grinch, make and take crafts, ice skating and more holiday festivities.

"It is so special. It is the highlight of the season for the west Valley. Community members come join us and Santa makes his official arrival He will take photos with the crowd and the Grinch as well. We have ornament making, we also have a star-studded entertainment line up, a drumline and storybook characters and an awesome mariachi band," said Jessica Kubicki, director of marketing at Westgate.

More information can be found here.

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