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Winterhaven Festival of Lights canceled for 2020

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Posted at 8:25 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 12:01:02-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Winterhaven Festival of Lights in Tucson has been canceled for 2020.

In a statement, organizers said they made the "heartbreaking" decision, after consultation with the City of Tucson and the Pima County Health Department.

"We believe what is most important is the safety and wellbeing of our Tucson community during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and that holding our traditional event for the community would not serve to ensure that," the statement said. "We look forward to next year and hope that we will be able to hold the festival safely for the 2021 holiday season."

The Winterhaven festival is just another hallmark Tucson event to be canceled this year, along with Nightfall at Old Tucson Studios, El Tour de Tucson and the All Souls Procession that went virtual this year.

The cancellation also comes as COVID-19 cases are surging across the country and here in Arizona. On Thursday, Arizona reported more than 2,000 cases in a single day for the first time since early August.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Latest updates, cases in Arizona

Read the full statement from Winterhaven organizers:

Dear Tucson Community,

The heartbreaking decision has been made, after careful consultation with the City of Tucson and the Pima County Health Department, to cancel this year’s Winterhaven Festival of Lights. We believe what is most important is the safety and wellbeing of our Tucson community during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and that holding our traditional event for the community would not serve to ensure that. We look forward to next year and the hope that we will be able to hold the festival safely for the 2021
holiday season.

To help make certain that the community is aware of the cancellation, and to minimize non-resident traffic in our neighborhood that might be caused by community members who do not realize that the event is cancelled, the City of Tucson will be providing some traffic control barricades and signage. We are thankful for this assistance that is made possible with the help of Council Member Paul Durham’s Ward 3 Council Office.

We would like to also thank our incredible Title Sponsor, Tucson Electric Power (TEP), for continuing to support us this year by helping us spread the news to the Tucson Community, and for always supporting the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Although we won’t be gathering throughout the streets of Winterhaven this year for the festival, we ask the Tucson community to please continue to support the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. We encourage families to follow the COVID-19 guidelines from the City of Tucson and the Pima County Health Department on how to keep safe and stay healthy while celebrating this holiday season. Posted below are helpful links with that information.

M. Hall, Winterhaven Festival of Lights Chairperson

Here's a statement from Norma Cable of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona:

The Community Food Bank supports the difficult decision made to cancel this year’s Winterhaven Festival of Lights, putting the health and safety of our community first during this pandemic. “We will miss this festive holiday tradition, and the food drive that accompanies it,” said Michael McDonald, CEO of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. “As we continue to see job losses and families struggling in this economy, we do encourage people to donate online or to sign up to volunteer and help distribute food this holiday season at communityfoodbank.org. We join the Winterhaven neighborhood in the hope of healthier and brighter times ahead.” Visitors to last year’s Winterhaven Festival of Lights donated nearly 50,000 pounds of food and nearly $25,000 to fight hunger in our area.