NOVEMBER 21, 2012
Parade Grand Marshals are the Foothills Caring Corps volunteers and neighbors
CAREFREE – The town of Carefree, Arizona will host the 5th Annual Carefree Christmas Festival from Friday, December 7 through Sunday, December 9, 2012.
The three-day holiday event has grown to become one of the largest Christmas events in the Valley, and will feature an electric light parade, fireworks, real snow, live music, carolers, a Christmas gift and food market and more. All events are family friendly, free and open to the public.
The Electric Light Parade will take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday and feature more than sixty lighted entries. Immediately following the parade, those in attendance will be treated to the holiday fireworks extravaganza at 8 p.m. Parade attendees are encouraged to arrive early and bring lawn chairs to get a prime viewing spot.
This year, the Foothills Caring Corps organization will act as the grand marshal of the parade. The non-profit organization is based in Carefree provides services for the elderly throughout the greater NE Valley. Volunteers, staff and recipients of the organization who are referred to as neighbors, will lead the parade that is expected to draw nearly 10,000 people.
Real snow, a real treat for most Arizonans, and Santa are the highlights of the Kid’s Zone at the festival. More than 25 tons of snow, a snow slide, bounce house and other activities are available for children of all ages. Santa will be available for photos throughout the event.
Additional activities include a Friday night holiday street party with DJ Sarah Birkett starting from 5 – 9 p.m., the Main Event Swing Time Band from 3:30 – 6 p.m. on Sunday, and other free concerts, a pet parade, caroling, horse-drawn carriage rides, a North Pole mailbox throughout the weekend.
Sunday is pet day with a Pet Parade that takes place from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., and animal adoptions, a doggie market and free pet photos with Santa. Attendees are encouraged to bring their pets dressed up in their holiday finest.
The Carefree Christmas Gift Market will take place throughout the weekend and will feature more than 100 gift vendors, alit with holiday lights and decorations, offering a wide array of holiday gift shopping options and seasonal food and drink favorites.
Hours for the Carefree Christmas Festival are 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday. The fun-filled weekend will take place along Easy Street in downtown Carefree.
“In just five years, our little Christmas festival has become one of the most popular and well attended holiday events in the Valley,” said event founder Jo Gemmill, a Carefree resident and owner of the English Rose Tea Room. “This year we expect nearly 30,000 visitors to attend the festival throughout the weekend, which is quite a feat, considering the population our community is just 3,400 residents,” she said.
For information and a full schedule of events, visit www.carefreechristmasfestival.com.