Chandler hosts the 46th annual Tumbleweed Tree Lighting Ceremony and what may be the city’s largest Parade of Lights beginning at 4:30 p.m. today downtown.
Live entertainment will begin festivities at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, 3 S. Arizona Ave., said city recreation coordinator Kristen Oaklief. Children’s groups, including The Sunshine Generation, F-Troop, Talent Teen of Chandler and Panache, will sing or dance to holiday music. Oaklief said the Arizona Brass Quartet will tour the parade route.
Oaklief said this year will feature the largest Parade of Lights in Chandler history with 56 parade entries. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. and will travel north on Arizona Avenue from Chicago Street to Buffalo Street. Arizona Avenue will be closed between Chandler Boulevard and Frye Road 4 to 9 p.m.
The tree-lighting ceremony begins immediately after the parade in the park in front of the San Marcos Hotel. Members of the parks crew gathered more than 2,000 tumbleweeds to attach to a 40-foot chicken wire frame. The tumbleweeds were painted with 150 gallons of white paint, flame retardant and covered in 150 pounds of silver glitter. Lights complete the tree.
Santa’s House also will be open in the park so children can visit with Santa and have free photos taken with him. Vendors will be selling food and Christmas-related items, said Dave Bigos, the city’s public information officer.
"It’s a wonderful family event," Bigos said. "If anyone is having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit, this will certainly get the season jump started for you."
Free parking is available in the two parking garages on the east side of Arizona Avenue on Buffalo and Boston and in the vacant lot south of Boston Street on the west side of Arizona Avenue.
For more information, call (480) 782-2735.