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Tucson is putting on the holidays

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Tucson with old traditions back for more and new ones trying to emerge.

The 72nd Winterhaven Festival of Lights will be open to pedestrians daily between Dec. 11 and 25 between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.  Front yards of the neighborhood (bordered by North Tucson Avenue, North Country Club Road, East Fort Lowell Road and East Prince Road) will again be resplendent in Christmas decorations. 

The holiday festival draws more than 100,000 visitors a year and this year is sponsored by Tucson Electric Power and the Winterhaven Neighborhood Association. TEP crews will also be hanging decorations.

The festival will be open to pedestrian visitors daily, while it runs, with vehicle traffic allowed only on Dec. 26. 

The event was canceled last year do to the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019, attendees donated more than $22,000 and 46,470 pounds of food to the food bank during the Festival of Lights.

Downtown festivities

"Desert Nights, Downtown Lights," powered by the city of Tucson and Pima County, will bring festivities to the city center. 

During the five weeks of the holiday season, Downtown will be lit up by 60 illuminated buildings, 139 trees tightly wrapped with LED lights and dozens of decorated storefronts. There will also be hundreds of events, programs and specials.

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A 25-foot community Christmas tree will glow at Jácome Plaza, 101 N. Stone Ave. The tree is adorned with hundreds of white LED lights and  ornaments. The park hours run 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

There's also Tucson Holiday Ice, on weekends between Nov. 20 and  Jan. 9,  at a temporary skating rink in front of the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave. 

Planned Downtown events range from a fruit cocktail lounge, performances by Jane Kaiser's Jazz Lab and the Reveille Men's Chorus, and a lot more listed on the Downtown Events Calendar.

Christmas, historic-ranch-style

South of Green Valley at the historic Canoa Ranch, organizers are tyring to start their own Christmas tradition with the help of Pima County.

Volunteers have decorated the ranch with thousands of lights and other holiday ornaments. The centerpiece is a 10-foot Christmas tree donated by Friends of the Canoa Parks.

To allow visitors to see the lights, the ranch will remain open until 8:30 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday night during the month of December. During these extended hours, the ranch’s historic buildings will be available to the public.

There will also be live musical performances by members of the Green Valley Concert Band and the Green Valley Community Chorus on the first three Saturdays of the month: Dec. 4, 11, and 18.

The first Christmas at Canoa event was held in 2019, and a smaller-scale lights show was on display last December.

Admission to all events is free, but visitors are encouraged to bring a canned good to put under the Christmas tree for the local food bank.

For more information about Historic Canoa Ranch, including details about how to volunteer or take a tour of the grounds, visit www.pima.gov/canoaranch.

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Tucson Electric Power

Winterhaven Festival of Lights returns to highlight Tucson's holiday events.