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Nov. 29, 2016

Parade of Lights and Tumbleweed Tree Lighting this Saturday, Dec. 3

Mayor Jay Tibshraeny and the Chandler City Council will officially kick off the 2016 holiday season in downtown Chandler on Saturday, Dec. 3, with the 20th annual Parade of Lights, followed by the lighting of the 60th Tumbleweed Tree. More than 12,000 people are expected to join in celebrating Chandler’s unique southwestern holiday tradition that dates back to 1957.
 
The festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. in Dr. A.J. Chandler Park with a variety of musical and dance entertainment, including performances by the Chandler Symphony Orchestra Quintet and visits with Santa Claus.
 
The pageantry of the Parade of Lights featuring festive floats and other entries begins at 7 p.m. along Arizona Avenue between Frye Road and Chandler Boulevard. 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. Members of the Barnum family, the originators of Chandler’s Tumbleweed Tree tradition, will participate in the tree lighting ceremony.
 
More information on these activities, plus a complete entertainment schedule, is available online at www.chandleraz.gov/tumbleweedtree.
 
PARKING AND TRAFFIC RESTRICTIONS
 
Guests attending the event are 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.
 
Guests requiring disabled parking can use the lot located on the corner of Boston Street and San Marcos Place. Additional disabled parking can be found in other downtown lots and parking garages.
 
Residents are reminded that Arizona Avenue will be closed between Chandler Boulevard and Frye Road from 3-10 p.m.  Frye Road also will be restricted from Arizona Avenue east to Delaware Street from 6:30- 8:30 p.m. Several other smaller streets in the downtown area also will be closed or restricted during the festivities. A parade overview map showing street closures and parking options is online at www.chandleraz.gov/tumbleweedtree.
 
ENTERTAINMENT SCHEDULE
 
4:30 p.m.          Santa's House Opens
4:30-4:50 p.m.  Stacy J Dancing
5-5:20 p.m.       Arizona Dance Studio
5:30-5:50 p.m.  The Dance Loft
6-6:20 p.m.       Learning Foundation and Performing Arts- Warner Campus
6:30 p.m.          Santa's House Closes
8:15 p.m.          Santa's House Re-Opens
8:40-9 p.m.       Singer Rinsley
 
WEATHER CONDITIONS
 
While no extreme weather is currently in the forecast, conditions could change and affect the event. If rain is predicted, residents can call the Special Events Hotline at 480-782-2735 throughout the day Saturday for updates.
 
HISTORY OF CHANDLER'S TUMBLEWEED TREE
 
A Community Tradition

This unique Chandler tradition began in 1957, when Chandler resident Earle 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. Other Tumbleweed Tree Fun Facts can be found on Chandler’s YouTube Channel, https://youtu.be/drTkwEi-E2A.
 
How is it done?

For the 60th Tumbleweed Tree, the Park crews started collecting tumbleweeds in early October. Nearly 1,000 tumbling tumbleweeds were collected and 600-800 were used to adorn a wire frame connected to a metal center pole. Then, the tumbleweeds were shaped then sprayed with 50 gallons of flame retardant and 45 gallons of gloss white paint. While the paint is wet, the crew dusted the tumbleweeds with 70 pounds of glitter. Next, the tree was adorned with approximately 1,200 holiday lights that give it a spectacular look, day or night. A large crowd gathers 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 bring the community together to kick off the holidays.