Holiday Happenings Near Eastmark 2022
The weather has cooled off around the Valley and holiday events are just around the corner! This year, there are several new events and of course, the holiday mainstays that your family can enjoy near Eastmark to ring in the holiday spirit.
Holiday and Light Spectaculars:
The first of the new events will take place right near Eastmark at Bell Bank Park. The Pratt Brothers Christmas and Holiday Spectacular will kick off on November 18 and run through January 1. This event, formally put on by the Pratt Brothers at their family home in Scottsdale since 2015, have decided to relocate to Bell Bank Park this year to expand and realize their dream of spreading Christmas joy and holiday happiness to all families in Arizona. The brothers’ light display has been featured on Good Morning America and The Great Christmas Light Fight on ABC. The new holiday celebration will still feature the Pratt’s signature light display of nearly six million lights and unique attractions such as a three-story gingerbread house, a magical snowfall, a Santa experience, the Miracle Market, and an interactive train ride through Sweet Street Station. Tickets can be purchased online.
A Mesa holiday staple is back again this year. Merry Main Street in Downtown Mesa will begin on November 25 at 5pm with the Tree Lighting Ceremony. The four-story tree located on Main Street and Macdonald will light up the night sky around 6pm and the evening will continue with music, food, and fun. The 5,000 square foot Winter Wonderland Ice Rink will be open at the Plaza at Mesa City Center, as well as the Jack Frost Food Truck Forest and visits with Santa, which continue each Friday and Saturday until Christmas Day. Mesa’s official Menorah will also be lit each night of Hanukkah starting on December 19. New this year is an interactive feature called Gnome on the Roam, where families can follow @CityofMesa on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see where the roaming Gnome is hiding, with chances at winning prizes. This event is free and free parking is available in the surrounding lots and on street parking in the downtown area.
Another new event for 2022, the sElf-guided Reindeer Roll and Stroll will be held in Downtown Mesa throughout the Merry Main Street area on December 3 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. This is a free event where participants will explore Downtown Mesa in a festive scavenger hunt for a chance to win prizes, including a new bicycle. They will also receive a free treat from Novel Ice Cream and a free bicycle helmet (while supplies last). The event is self-guided, meaning participants can set their own pace, route, and order of the tasks to complete. All ages and abilities are welcome to compete either as a team or individually. Holiday sweaters or costumes are encouraged! Registering online will help ensure participants receive the giveaway items since quantities are limited.
Queen Creek will be hosting its annual Holiday Festival and Parade on December 3 from 2pm to 7pm. This annual community event will feature craft vendors, food vendors, live local entertainment, activities, photos with Santa, and a parade! The parade will begin at 3:30pm and the tree lighting ceremony will be at 6pm. The event is free to attend.
In Chandler, the annual Tumbleweed Tree Lighting ceremony will also be on December 3 in Downtown Chandler from 4:30pm and 9:00pm. The iconic Arizona tree lighting ceremony will be accompanied by entertainment and food vendors and a Parade of Lights that starts at 6:45pm.
The Town of Gilbert will be lighting up the Water Tower in Downtown Gilbert for the holiday season. Beginning with a celebration on Monday, November 28 from 6:00pm to 8:30pm, the Water Tower lighting ceremony will have live holiday music provided by Ryan Ralston, food trucks, plus free family friendly features like a horse and carriage ride, inflatables, and photo opportunities. Then, the Water Tower will be lit with its holiday décor at 7pm and every night thereafter until January 2. The Tower is synchronized with its lights and music every night on every half hour from 5:30pm to 10:00pm.
Christmas at Schnepf Farms in Mesa will run each Thursday to Sunday starting November 25 through 27 from 5:00pm to 10:00pm. The winter wonderland will feature many attractions like the World of Illumination Express train ride through a lighted area, a hayride to visit Rudolph, or a visit with Santa at his magical workshop. They also will have the world’s largest inflatable obstacle course, cookie decorating, snow globe mini-golf, and Christmas bonfires, in addition to a beer and wine garden and holiday eats and treats. Tickets are available online and are $23 for general admission or $19 for “twilight” entry after 7:30pm. Illumination train ride tickets are $10 additional, and they also offer a season pass for $80.
Arizona’s Largest walk-through Christmas light display, Lights at the Farm at Vertuccio Farms in Mesa, is set to kick off on November 23 and run through December 30. Santa will even be making a special visit on the weekends of December 10 and 11 and December 16 through 23. The light show is open each night from 5:30pm to 10:00pm. The farm features a skating rink made out of an NHL grade synthetic surface, as well as a special red, white, and blue tribute to honor active duty, retired, and fallen military personnel. Tickets can be purchased online and are $18 per person for entry on Fridays and Saturdays and $15 for entry Sunday through Thursday. The skating rink is an additional $10.
Another Mesa tradition that had taken 5 years off is returning again this year! The Mesa Temple Christmas Lights will be back at the renovated north lawn of the Mesa Arizona Temple from November 25 to December 31. The lights are on each night from 5:00pm to 10:00pm and the area will also feature more than 100 nativity displays from all over the world. The lights take a team of about 100 volunteers from the surrounding Mormon temples to install, and they are excited to bring back this beloved community tradition. Free parking is available nearby.
In Gilbert, Riparian After Dark will take place from December 9 to December 20 from 5:30pm to 9:00pm. Here, you’ll be able to take a walk through the Riparian Preserve’s paths where thousands of holiday lights and displays will be seen. Local food and drink vendors will also be on site. Tickets are required to attend the event and they are currently on sale for $2 per person and will rise to $5 per person after December 8. The event is also taking donations of dog food, new dog blankets, dog beds, and dog toys for various Maricopa County animal rescues each night.
Just outside of the East Valley area, there are also some family friendly events in the Tempe, Phoenix, and Scottsdale areas. In Scottsdale, a light spectacular at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick will run starting November 25 through January 1 from about 4:30pm to 10:30pm. The special event is called Enchant and is presented by Hallmark Channel. There are several fun attractions here including a scavenger hunt Maze, ice skating, The Village full of shops, vendors, crafts, and boutiques, holiday treats and beverages, an ice bar, visits with Santa, and a special Hallmark holiday movie area. Tickets can be purchased online for $34 for adults and $20 for children, and on select Wednesday nights you can get one children’s ticket free with the purchase of an adult entry. Add-ons to the tickets are also available for the ice skating ($18 per person), VIP passes ($25 on top of regular entry), and a VIP Elf Guide ticket to experience all the fun with a special host. Parking options are also available online.
World of Illumination, the world’s largest animated drive-through light show, is also back this year with locations in Tempe, North Phoenix, and Glendale. Each of the locations features a mile-long trip though millions of colorful lights and music. The theme at the Tempe Diablo Stadium is Candy Rush and will be open from November 16 to January 1 from 6:00pm to 10:00pm. In North Phoenix at Hurricane Harbor, the theme is Rockin’ Christmas, open from November 16 to January 1 from 6:00pm to 10:00pm, and in Glendale at the Desert Diamond Casino the theme is Enchanted Safari, open from November 23 to January 1 from 6:00pm to 10:00pm. Tickets can be purchased online for all locations for $49 per carload.
ZooLights has been a Phoenix mainstay at the Phoenix Zoo during the holiday season and the event will be running this year from November 23 to January 15 from 5:30pm to 10:30pm. This year promises to be better than ever, with new animal lanterns and light displays as well as an enhanced Santa experience, and a brand-new music and light show that will take you around the world. There will also be a surprise “snow” strom at the end of each Lake Lights show. Entry to ZooLights also includes admission to Dinosaurs in the Desert. Tickets can be purchased online for $30 or $25 for zoo members. Prices go up $5 for in-person tickets and children 2 and under are free. They also offer sensory friendly nights throughout the run of the event.
Other Upcoming Festive Events:
The Mesa Turkey Trot 10k and 5k , a Mesa tradition and one of Arizona’s oldest running events, will take place on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, at Red Mountain Park starting at 8:00am. The event requires advanced registration and proceeds from the race benefit Sequoia School for the Deaf, Mountain View Wrestling Club, Boy Scout Troop 451, United Food Bank, Merry Main Street, Mesa Polar Express, Love your Friend, Arizona Celebration of Freedom, and other local organizations. Register online for $35 for the 10k and 5k races and $15 for a new 1 mile, family-friendly fun run and walk. Each participant will receive a custom finisher’s medal and t-shirt.
Bell Bank Park will also be hosting a holiday race on December 10 from 8:00am to 12:30pm. The Legacy Cares Santa Run 5k and Holiday Festival is a family-friendly event with a 5k run/walk around the grounds of Bell Bank Park as well as a free Toddler Trot. After the run/walk, more holiday fun will be held on Championship Field with food, DJs, kid’s activities, crafts, and vendors. Registration fees help support the mission of the Legacy Cares foundation, helping to empower underprivileged youth. All participants will receive a t-shirt and medal and runners 21+ will receive a coupon for a free beer or seltzer.
The Downtown Chandler, the Sippin’ Santas Pub Crawl will take over the Downtown area on December 10. The self-guided pub crawl is offered at two times, a “Nice List” time of noon to 3:00pm or a “Naughty List” time from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. The pub crawl features more than two dozen Downtown Chandler hotspots, where participants can partake in $4 drink specials, food, and more. Tickets can be purchased online for individuals 21+.
There will also be several holiday markets coming up. First is the Holiday Market at Bell Bank Park, which will be November 25 and November 26 from 10:00am to 4:00pm. This market will feature 200+ vendors, live music, and a kids zone. Admission is $5 and free parking is included. The Made with Love Market Holiday Street Fair will be take place on weekends in December (December 2-4, December 9-11, and 16-18) at the SanTan Village Marketplace from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
Another fun upcoming event at Bell Bank Park is the world-famous Zoppe Circus. The circus will kick off on December 16 and run through January 2. Here, you will be able to see acrobatic feats, equestrian showmanship, canine capers, and clowning, with plenty of audience participation too. There are several show times available, starting at 6pm throughout the week and from 1:00pm, 4:00pm and 7:00pm on various weekend days. Tickets can be purchased online for $25 for standard admission and $45 for VIP admission. Children 3 and under are free.
In Downtown Phoenix, the City Skate outdoor ice skating rink will be open from November 28 to January 1. The rink is open for 90-minute sessions from 4:00pm to 11:30pm at Patriot’s Park inside CityScape on Washington Street. Ticket and skate rentals are purchased in person at the event. General admission is $20 per person, children 8-3 are $13 per person, children 3 and under are free.
The Fairmont Princess Scottsdale will be putting on its Christmas at the Princess event again this yar. It will run from November 18 to January 2. The areas will feature ice skating, a colorful light show, a smore’s station, Santa visits, and a fun train ride. The festivities run weekdays from 5:00pm to 10:00pm and weekends 4:00pm to 11:00pm. Tickets are included with an overnight stay at the hotel and can also be purchased for the event a la cart. General Admission ranges from $80 to $120 for up to 4 wristbands with parking and $20 for a ticket with no parking. There are other specialty packages that can be added as well.
May you and your family enjoy both the community and holiday spirit that comes from this exciting time of year!