September 20, 2021
Winterhaven is very pleased to announce that we are again planning to have the Festival of Lights this year. The dates will be December 11 to the 26th with the Drive Through Night is scheduled for December 26th. As you all know, last year the City denied our permit for the festival due to problems and concerns over the Covid-19 Pandemic. Although Covid-19 variants are still around we, and the city, feel that risks of spreading the disease are minimal during this outdoor event. Although it is still possible that our local government may restrict events such as these in the future, at this time, we are going ahead with all planning for the event.
We want to assure you all that we will do everything in our powers to follow city guidelines and to make sure this event is held in the safest possible manner. We will continue to update the community as the planning process continues and will advise all residents if any changes in city regulations force us to alter our plans in any way. I hope you all are as excited as us that this great event is back on the calendar. We will do our best to make it the best Festival ever. Please start planning your holiday decorations and let’s all work together to make this a safe and festive event.
Tucson Electric Power is the title sponsor of the Winterhaven Festival of Lights. With their generous support and partnership we are proud to present for the 70th year Tucson's favorite holiday tradition.
The Festival is free to attend.
We ask everyone to bring a donation of food or money for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
Most needed items:
Peanut butter, oatmeal, cereal, granola bars, canned tomato products, canned tuna & chicken, canned soup, canned vegetables, canned fruit, rice & pasta, shelf stable milk
In 2019, the Tucson community donated $22,015 and 46,474 pounds of food to the Food Bank during the Festival of Lights.
Help to make the season bright for families in Tucson!
The festival is 100% supported by the community. There are two ways you can support the festival
In return for your sponsorship, your company name will be prominently displayed on advertising associated with the event and on this website.> Read more
In 1949 CB Richards created a cooperative water company and a modern residential development north of what was Tucson at the time. By 1957 all but 19 of the 257 original lots had been developed.
The Festival of Lights began in 1949. Mr. Richards was inspired to create the Festival after visiting a similar display in Beverly Hills, California in the 1930s. He purchased the first set of Christmas lights in 1949 and donated them to the neighborhood. He purchased the Aleppo pines from a local nursery that was going out of business. They were planted at regular intervals throughout the neighborhood and electrical connections were hooked up near each tree for the lights.
For the first few years of the festival Richards personally judged all the displays and the winner was awarded $100.00. After he moved to San Diego, Richards continued to visit Winterhaven for the Festival of Lights.
The Festival has been held continuously since 1949 except for one year during the 1970's energy crisis when the residents of Winterhaven voted to stay dark.
This year would have been the 71st year for the Winterhaven Festival of Lights – one of the longest running festivals of its kind in the country.
The Festival of Lights celebrates the holiday season in Tucson and is visited by hundreds of thousands of people from all over southern Arizona. Moreover, the Festival is one the most important events for the Community Food Bank in Tucson. In 2019, $22,015 and 46,474 pounds of food were donated to the Food Bank through the Festival.
The subsidy from the City of Tucson that has been used to pay for safety and traffic control has been discontinued because of the City’s severe budget issues. Rather than cancel the Festival, we are turning to the Community for its support.
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