Printer Friendly Version

Carefree Christmas Festival brings winter wonderland to town


CAREFREE – Wishing for a white Christmas? Visit the 8th Annual Carefree Christmas Festival and enjoy real snow.

The festival’s Kids’ Zone will include 35 tons of real snow for visitors to enjoy. The festival will offer a southwest winter wonderland, Dec. 11-13, in the Carefree Desert Gardens.

The festival will include the signature Electric Light Parade, set for 6 p.m. that Saturday night. Other spotlight events include a dazzling evening fireworks display. In addition to the snow, the Kids’ Zone will have a snow slide, Santa’s Grotto, train rides, night time carriage rides, and other amusements. 

This year’s event features live music performances by the Salvation Army Brass Band, Kelso Brothers holiday jazz group, Dickens Carolers, as well as community church choirs. Other performances include theater acts from the Desert Foothills Theater, including a traditional live nativity scene where families are invited to have their photos taken with the cast of “The Holy Night,” including Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus, and Pepper the Donkey.

Throughout the weekend, local dance troupes will take center stage at the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion. Choreographed productions will be performed by the Adage Dance Company, AZ Dance Group, and the Desert Cactus Kickers.

On Sunday, attendees are invited to dress their pets in their holiday best and participate in the pet parade and pictures with Santa. Hosted by Foothills Animal Rescue, pet adoptions will be available on site.

All activities are centrally located in the Carefree Desert Gardens, 100 Easy St., from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 11 and 12, and 10 a .m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 13.

For information, visit or call (480) 488-2051.


Carefree Christmas Festival Highlights:

Friday, Dec. 11

10 a.m.-9 p.m.: Gift Market and Holiday Food Court
10 a.m.-noon: Kevin Glenn Chorus
Noon-2 p.m.: Salvation Army Brass Band
2:30-3:30 p.m.: Dickens Carolers, Christmas Around the World
3:30-5:30p.m.: Rock the Holidays -performers from local school district
4 p.m.-9 p.m.: Kids’ Zone with real snow
5:45-6:45 p.m.: Kelso Brothers – Holiday jazz music
6-9 p.m.: Lighted Carriage Rides around Carefree
7-8 p.m.: Community choirs from local churches


Saturday, Dec. 12

10 a.m.-9 p.m.: Gift Market and Holiday Food Court
10 a.m.-9 p.m.: Kids’ Zone with real snow
10-11 a.m.: Adage Dance Company, “Jingle Bells Jingle Bells Dancing all the Way"
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.: Desert Foothills Theater, Medley of Theater Performances
1:15-2 p.m.: Storytime with Mrs. Claus
2-3:30 p.m.: Kevin Glenn Singers present “Sing, Sleigh Bells Ring”
3:30-4:30 p.m.: Desert Hills Presbyterian Church present, Nativity Story, & Community Sing-Along
5-9 p.m.: Holiday Party with DJ Robin Sherman
6 p.m.: Electric Light Parade and Fireworks Extravaganza, sponsored by APS


Sunday, Dec. 13

9 a.m.-noon: Pet Parade – presented Foothills Animal Rescue (FAR)
10 a.m.-noon: Pet photos with Santa
10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Gift Market and Holiday Food Court
10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Kids’ Zone with real snow
11 a.m.-3 p.m.: Kiddie train rides
12:30-2 p.m.: Desert Cactus Kickers and AZ Dance Group
2:15-3:15 p.m.: “Elf on the Shelf” Arizona Dance Artistry
3:30-5 p.m.: “Nutcracker Excerpts” Phoenix Youth Ballet Theatre