You may have noticed the holiday lights are on in Downtown Chandler as they were lit during Chandler Rock the Block. However, the official holiday kick off happens Saturday December 6th as the 25th annual Parade of Lights comes down Arizona Avenue and the 58th annual lighting of the Tumbleweed Tree take place.
Tumbleweed Tree Lighting
More than 12,000 people are expected to join in the festivities that start at 4:30pm. There will be a variety of musical and dance performances as well as inflatables and other other activities for children including pony rides and visists with Santa Claus. Add this year is an Ugly Sweater contest for individuals, couples and families.
The pageantry of the Parade of Lights begins at 7 p.m. and the parade route will start at the corner of Arizona Avenue and Frye Road. The festive floats and other entries will move north on Arizona Avenue, past Chandler City Hall and continue through the downtown area. As it reaches the north end of Dr. A.J. Chandler Park the procession will turn right on Buffalo Street, followed by another right turn onto Arizona Place. After moving along the east side of Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, the parade will end at the corner of Boston Street and Arizona Place.
At the conclusion of the parade (approximately 8 p.m.), guests are invited to gather in the center of the park on the west side of Arizona Avenue for the Tumbleweed Tree lighting ceremony.
You can find more information here.
PARKING AND TRAFFIC RESTRICTIONS
Guests attending the event are strongly encouraged to arrive early to find parking. There are multiple locations with free parking, including two parking garages on the east side of Arizona Avenue, and several surface lots.
Residents are reminded that Arizona Avenue will be closed between Chandler Boulevard and Frye Road from 3:30-10 p.m. Frye Road will also be restricted from Arizona Avenue east to Delaware Street from 3:30 – 10:00pm Several other smaller streets in the downtown area will also be closed or restricted during the festivities.
A map showing street closures and parking options, including parking for the disabled, is online at www.chandleraz.gov/special-events.
4:30 p.m. – 4:50 p.m. Stacy J Dancing
5:00 p.m. – 5:20 p.m. The Dance Loft
5:30 p.m. – 5:50 p.m. Talent Team Perfoming Arts
6:00 p.m. – 6:20 p.m. Ugly Sweater Contest
7:00 p.m. Parade
8:00 p.m. (approx.) Tree Lighting Ceremony with Mayor Jay Tibshraeny
8:40 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy
HISTORY OF CHANDLER’S TUMBLEWEED TREE
A Community Tradition
This unique Chandler tradition began in 1957, when Chandler resident Earl Barnum raised the idea of a tumbleweed tree after he saw a similar one in Indiana built out of cone-shaped chicken wire with pine boughs stuck in the holes. Many members of the community helped create the first tree in Chandler using tumbleweeds that they gathered from around town. Little did these folks know that they were the first to do such a thing and that it would continue as an annual Christmas tradition from then on. In fact, Chandler is the only city in the southwestern United States that has such a tree.
How is it done?
First, members of the City’s Park Operations Division gather tumbleweeds from the outskirts of the City. With Chandler’s rapid growth and development, fewer stretches of empty land are within the City limits, which makes it harder to find tumbleweeds in large quantities. So, the Park crews must start collecting the tumbleweeds earlier each year. Nearly 1,000 tumbling tumbleweeds are collected each year and are used to adorn a 25-foot tall wire frame.
Then, the tumbleweeds are sprayed with 25 gallons of white paint, 20 gallons of flame retardant and dusted with 65 pounds of glitter. The tree is later adorned with approximately 1,200 holiday lights that give it a spectacular look, day or night. The lighting of the Tumbleweed Tree draws a large crowd, with more than 12,000 expected to watch the Mayor and members of the City Council flip the switch to light this magnificent sight. The Tumbleweed Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Parade of Lights (starting at 7 p.m.) help to bring our community together to kick-off the holidays.