Glendale Glitters by David H Smith

Arizona Lights Up the Holidays 2018

By: Arizona Office of Tourism

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November 15, 2018

Arizona’s holiday season gets a shiny boost with an array of lighting festivals and twinkling displays to delight individuals and families of all ages.

About the author

Arizona Office of Tourism

These articles are brought to you by the staff of the Arizona Office of Tourism, and occasionally local tourism organizations around the state.

Greater Phoenix Area


Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade, Tempe – Nov. 23
Since 1999, the Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade at Tempe Town Lake features as many as 50 festively lighted boats of all sizes. After dark, more than a thousand luminarias brighten the sidewalks and paths of Tempe Beach Park. Following the parade, the annual tree lighting ceremony starts at Centerpoint Plaza with special guest Santa, who is later available for photos. Free. downtowntempe.com/events/opening-night-parade

25th Annual Glendale Glitters Spectacular Weekend, Glendale – Nov. 24 – Jan. 6
The nighttime sky over Murphy Park will light up with 1.6 million twinkling lights as part of this annual tradition. Opening night activities on November 24 include holiday entertainment, food, crafts, children's wonderland and snow, and horse-drawn carriage rides. The display remains lit nightly through January 6 from 5-11 p.m. Free. visitglendale.com


31st Annual Festival of Lights, Globe-Miami – Dec. 1
Held at Besh-Ba-Gowah Archeological Park, this annual festival features 2,800 glowing luminaries atop ancient ruin walls to light the way for visitors to celebrate the magic of the season. The festival will offer performances by the famed Yellow Bird Dance Group as well as other cultural entertainment. Free. globeaz.gov/visitors/besh-ba-gowah

40th Annual Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix – Dec. 1-31
Each night of Luminaria, the Desert Botanical Gardens come to life with the soft glow from more than 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags, thousands of white twinkle lights, and unexpected views of familiar spaces. Walk along the garden paths and be entertained by the sights and sounds of nine entertainment ensembles. Admission fee. dbg.org

Lights of the World, Phoenix – Dec. 6 – Feb. 3, 2019
The largest light and lantern festival in North America combines age-old Chinese tradition of lanterns with cutting-edge technology and lights. More than 60 lantern displays extend from 18 feet to 60 feet, showcasing features of different cultures and civilizations around the globe. There are also free carnival rides, games, and daily acrobat performances or sea lions shows. $20 (discounts through Food City stores). Parking is $10. phoenix.lightsoftheworldus.com

North Central Arizona


18th Annual Electric Light Parade, Payson – Dec. 1
This annual event travels down Historic Main Street, as a variety of businesses and families decorate floats, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles, and more to wish everyone happy holidays. This year's theme is "Frosty Christmas." Free. paysonrimcountry.com/event-calendar

64th Annual Courthouse Lighting & Ceremony, Prescott – Dec. 1
Arizona's official Christmas City, kicks off the season with a parade at 1 p.m., followed by multiple seasonal activities and the lighting ceremony to cap off the evening at 6 p.m. Activities include the Frontier Christmas Open House at Sharlot Hall Museum, the Christmas Indian Art Market at Smoki Museum, and a Jingle Bell 5K run. Ceremonies are free. Activities may have a fee to participate. visit-prescott.com

10th Annual Candlelight Tours, Fort Verde State Historic Park – Dec. 7-8 and Dec. 14-15
Enjoy the celebration of a Victorian Christmas with traditional candlelight tours. Re-enactors dressed in period clothing provide guided tours with hot chocolate and light refreshments. $4-7. azstateparks.com/fort-verde

Sedona Northern Lights – Dec. 13-16
Celebrate Sedona's beauty, arts, dark skies and stunning landscapes with the largest 3D mapping project ever done on a natural canvas: Camelhead Rock. Sedona Northern Lights will be visible from all of Uptown Sedona and Gallery Row, with shows at the top of each hour. Bring the whole family and join us for this fun, festive and awe-inspiring light painting experience. Free. visitsedona.com/events-calendar/sedona-northern-lights

Southern Arizona


Lights of the World, Tucson – Nov. 8 – Jan. 2, 2019
Like its counterpart in Phoenix, this light and lantern festival showcases more than 40 lantern displays highlighting different cultures and civilizations around the globe. Carnival rides, games, and daily acrobat performances or sea lions shows are included in admission. $25 (discounts through Food City stores). Parking is $6. tucson.lightsoftheworldus.com

Luminaria Nights, Tubac – Dec. 7-8
During Tubac’s annual celebration of the holiday season, the streets are lined with luminarias and the stores stay open late. Arrive at sunset for great homemade food, music, and Santa Claus. Free. tubacaz.com/events

Winterhaven Festival of Lights, Tucson – Dec. 8-26
The central Tucson neighborhood of Winterhaven adorns itself each holiday season with lavish lights and holiday décor. Tour the lights on a hayride wagon, bus trolley, a pedal-powered group bike, or on foot. The festival is free to attend, but donations are requested for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. winterhavenfestival.org

Western Arizona


36th Annual Boat Parade of Lights, Lake Havasu City – Dec. 1
Decorated boats dolled up in their holiday best cruise through the Bridgewater Channel from Thompson Bay north, under the historic London Bridge, and back again. Spectators will gather along the channel to enjoy a night of bonfires and fun, the only time you'll see the Channel packed full of boats and boats in winter gear at night. Free. golakehavasu.com/event/lake-havasu-boat-parade-of-lights/2018-12-01

16th Annual Dorothy Young Memorial Electric Light Parade: Celebrating Yuma Agriculture – Dec. 8
Yuma's favorite holiday tradition is back! This all-ages event features marching bands, floats and vehicles decorated with beautiful Christmas lights. Free. visityuma.com/event/dorothy-young-memorial-electric-light-parade

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