GLENDALE, Ariz. - Glendale is replacing a long holiday tradition with a new one, as a much smaller event is being held in place of Glendale Glitters.
In April 2021, the Glendale City Council decided to pivot away from massive events like Glendale Glitters, and for 2021's holiday season, a more downsized event called Murphy Park Lights is taking over. The event features lights at Murphy Park, along with a giant snowman and a Christmas tree. The event is set to kick off at 6:00 p.m. on Nov. 19.
"We’re experimenting with performance activities here in the park to get more foot traffic in Downtown, so they can visit all of the Downtown and be here all throughout the year and not just be here for one specific weekend or period of time," said Jim Burke, Director of Public Facilities with City of Glendale's Recreation and Special Events Department.
That decision, however, may have an impact on some local businesses.
Business owners have mixed reaction to new event
For over two decades, the twinkling lights of Glendale Glitters have attracted hundreds of families during the holidays.
"We get families and we have folks that come in when they were babies, and now they have babies," said Coit Burner, who owns a business in the area called Bears & More.
Some business owners in the area say they have seen Glendale Glitters evolve. They enjoyed the holiday spirit it has brought over the years, as well as the increased foot traffic.
With the newer, smaller event, some say they are concerned. That’s the case with Danica Coral, who has owned Pink House Boutique for 16 years.
"With the changes that have come in, we are concerned with how many people are going to return, come out, but we definitely rely on Glendale Glitters and the festival to bring in foot traffic," said Coral.
However, Justin Piazza, who owns La Piazza Al Forno, says he believes the scaled-down event will actually help his restaurant.
"When the lights are up, people are going to come. When they have food trucks out there, people have options. When they don’t, people, when they come down here, they have to eat at the local shop, which I think is better," said Piazza.
Burner, who has owned Bears & More for almost 30 years, said he was sad to hear his neighborhood would not be lit up this yea,r so he did it himself. He decorated over 130 trees in a three-block area.
"We’re all small businesses down here, and it makes a big difference when they come down, and if they can come down during Christmastime and if they enjoy the lights -- I've had comments of people who live in this neighborhood who say they like to walk this neighborhood because of the lights, so it makes you feel good," said Burner.
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