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Nightly temperatures are dipping into the 40s and Christmas lights are adorning the hillsides. Aside from these being a reminder that you really have to get started on that holiday shopping, it also means holiday festivals and events will be filling the calendars!

This weekend will see the Oro Valley Festival of the Arts & Holiday Tree Lighting. The event, sponsored by the Town of Oro Valley and the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance, is a two-day holiday festival that will allow people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds to celebrate the arts.  

The festival includes a variety of arts, live performances and a tree lighting celebration. Starting on Saturday, Dec. 4, the festival will have food trucks, photos with Santa and the Golder Ranch Fire Truck, caroling, and local artists selling their crafts.  

Performers on the main stage at the Oro Valley Marketplace include Oro Valley Team Dance, the Ironwood Ridge High School Jazz Band, the Wilson Elementary Choir, Saguaro Stompers Clog Dance Company, DJs playing holiday favorites, Cross Middle School Jazz Combo and more. The mission of the Festival of the Arts is to “connect art and the community by presenting an annual arts festival and by promoting the arts in the Southern Arizona community,” according to Oro Valley officials. 

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday Dec. 4, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, at 12155 N. Oracle Road. Admission is free. 

Marana is once again celebrating the most wonderful time of the year with a Holiday Festival and Christmas Tree Lighting on Saturday, Dec. 4.  

And unlike 2020’s drive-thru event, this year’s festival includes a variety vendors and food trucks. The free annual event will include appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus along with live music, snacks and drinks, games and the lighting of a 25-foot-tall Christmas tree just after sunset. 

Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive at 3 p.m. accompanied by the Marana High marching band and Marana cheerleaders. 

Dozens of vendors will also be on hand for a holiday artisan marketplace, making it an ideal opportunity to support local artists while whittling away at your gift-buying list. 

The performance schedule includes the Marana Children’s Choir, Desert Dance Collective, Kevin Pakulis, Marana High School Chamber Orchestra, Mountain View High School Dance and more. That way, there’s music and entertainment for every taste.  

There will also be plenty for kids to do, besides presenting their wish list to Santa. Lucky Cat Social Art will help kids create ornaments for the Christmas tree.  

Those 10 and under can hit a bounce zone, while those 10 and over can have fun at an inflatable zone. In addition, there will games, a holiday kiddie train and a foam snow dance party (which will leave the kids wet, so bring a change of clothes). How lucky are we in Southern Arizona, that winter snow is a treat, not a hassle.  

Family Joint Pizzeria, Jake’s Donuts, Tucson Kona Ice, Meatball Madness, Smokin’ Monster and dozens of other food trucks will be on hand. 

The festival kicks off at 3 p.m. in downtown Marana at 11555 W. Civic Center Drive. The tree will light up at 6 p.m.  

Parking is in all the surrounding lots (MMC and MHC Healthcare), including marked dirt lots. The tree show plays every night, Dec 5-31, on the hour every hour from 5 to 8 p.m.


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