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The 72nd annual Winterhaven festival of lights returns to the Old Pueblo

Posted at 6:14 AM, Dec 10, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — One of the most cherished traditions in Tucson, the Winterhaven Festival of Lights, is back for its 72nd year. Last year, the festival was canceled due to the pandemic.

RELATED: It's back! Winterhaven Festival of Lights returns for 2021

The festival will run from December 11-26 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Decmeber 26, the last night of the festival, is the night where festival-goers will be able to drive through the neighborhood to see the lights.

Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona will have food donation bins stationed throughout the neighborhood and the festival chair John Lansdale said they ask that people donate food when they come to the festival.

There will be local food vendors and hayrides for people to enjoy while they see the lights. With help from Cox, Tucson Electric Power and volunteers from the University of Arizona, the neighborhood joined forces to set up the lights.

"Last year we were fairly upset that we didn’t have it, it’s outdoors so we were upset to not have it," Lansdale said. "But I think it’s a great opportunity to get outside and walk around and just enjoy the magic of the holiday season.”

The houses across the neighborhood are decorated with thousands of Christmas lights and decorations. The residents like Shirley Brown, who has lived in the neighborhood for many years, said they are thrilled to have the festival back this year.

Her yard's display features red, white and blue lights on the roof, and wreaths. The highlight of her yard is the collection of over 20 vintage Santas that Brown has collected over the past years. One of Santas holds a paint brush, which Brown said is in memory of her late husband.

She said she and her family are so excited to have people enjoy the lights this year.

"My display in the front window is a collection of over 20 santas that I've collected over the years, the last one being a santa with a paintbrush," she said. "People seem to be happy and want to get out and be happy, laugh and have some fun."

Lansdale said parking will be available outside of the neighborhood and taking a rideshare like Uber to the festival is always a good option.