This past Friday was the kickoff to the holiday season here in Phoenix. Not an official kickoff with ribbons and hoopla and hullabaloo, but a kickoff in the grand scheme of over seven million twinkling LED Christmas lights celebrating the wonderful season that truly commences this Thursday.
Twinkling, glowing, flashing, dancing, and blinking in over a one mile maze of wonder for children to gaze their eyes upon each and every holiday season are beautiful Christmas lights. In the west Valley of Phoenix metro is a local farm that hosts these now eco-friendly LED beauties to share in the spirit of the holiday season and to give back to the community on a truly astounding level. Â Friday night was the official opening night for the Arizona Celebration of Lights for the VIP members of the media here in Phoenix and I was so thrilled to attend as a member to be among the staff of 12News and AZCentral. Not only to share the Christmas lights with my kids, but to also here more about how the Arizona Celebration of Lights has touched our community.
Thanks to generous sponsors like Sheely Farms who give up their farm for the wonderful production of glowing lights and the drive through traffic to enjoy the joyous event. Other generous sponsors such as PostNet, 12News, Channel 3, 99.9 KEZ, Holiday Inn Suites and Holiday Inn Express, Jamba Juice and Chik-Fil-A to name a few. With the help of the sponsors, proceeds from visiting the Arizona Celebration of Lights park where admission is $15 per vehicle Monday through Thursday 6-9pm and $20 Friday through Sunday 6-10pm, go to heartfelt organizations such as Salvation Army, St. Mary’s Food Bank, and Ronald McDonald House of Phoenix. Get $2 off as well by bringing in a bag, with a minimum of (3), canned goods to be donated to the food bank and families in need.
While listening to the presentation about the 14 year history here in Arizona I was pleased to hear about all the organizations that will receive proceeds from the event. The boost in local economy is tremendous in a devastating recession, but the truth is that these organizations are in great need as are the people they serve and as we come into the spirit of sharing, gratitude, and giving we should remember to give where we can. I was tweeting up a storm on Twitter that night in order to retain all the information to memory about how our non-profits will profit our local families and community members. This year alone St. Mary’s Food Bank of Arizona donated over 400,000 food boxes to local families in need, that is over 72 million pounds of food! Where in years past they doled out only half that, and this year is the first year the food bank has seen a decline in donations. So now even more we should give , if just for the receipt of a small discount while driving through the park, every little bit helps to donate to the food banks to help local families who are not as fortunate.
Moreover are the families of the children who travel to be at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for care and sought treatment and their families sought refuge and relief with Ronald McDonald house while in the care of the loving staff of Phoenix Children’sÂ Hospital, where Ronald McDonald House Charities housed over 1900 families so far this year and the year is not yet over!
Everyone enjoys beautiful, seasonal Christmas lights and we should love them even more knowing that the lights help our local communities and families like ours each day the park is open this holiday season.
My kids were loving the event on top of me getting my philanthropic fill of goodness to make me want to do more. They were antsy and chomping at the bit to get back in the car and see all the lights. But in the meantime we took photos next to the tree, and with the Chik-Fil-A cow! When we arrived at the park we were immediately greeted by a glowing tunnel of beauty and the cool evening air where we rolled down the windows to really take in the spirit of the season and the magic this time of year brings. Christmas music playing across the pretuned radio station as we drove along the path to Santa’s Village where the kids could get out and play.
How can so much fun be so rewarding on so many levels. If you have the opportunity, the drive is well worth seeing the fun the kids will partake with seeing the lights and taking at pit stop at Santa’s Village, and to share in the season of giving and sharing with your family and other families. If coming from the east valley, head over to I-10 and head West to 99th Avenue exit and go right for about a mile and a half and you will see all the signs and lights. But if you cannot get out that way, view a few of the videos on You Tube of the fun lights on display, or “like” the Arizona Celebration of Lights page on Facebook where you can see other great videos and photos.
Animated Christmas Lights Display Arizona Celebration of Lights
Wishing everyone the happiest and safe holiday season.
Big thanks to the staff at AZCentral for the photos and an ever generous and speechless thank you to the folks at Miller Davis Agency who put together and promoted a wonderful event, the generosity and kindness of Mike Miller, thank you for you time that evening Mike, and affording me and my family the opportunity to get a sneak peak before the park opened to the public and to share what the Arizona Celebration of Lights is all about.