Fifth Annual Carefree Christmas Festival: December 7-9

Beautiful Downtown Carefree will transform into a lighted Christmas winter wonderland experience with the Fifth Annual Carefree Christmas Festival December 7-9.

“In just five years, our little Christmas festival has become one of the most popular and well attended holiday events in the Valley,” says event founder Jo Gemmill, a Carefree resident and owner of the English Rose Tea Room. “This year we expect nearly 30,000 visitors to attend the festival throughout the weekend, which is quite a feat, considering the population our community is just 3,400 residents.”

Gemmill says the festival was created so that every child could experience the beauty of a holiday winter wonderland. The three-day holiday event will feature an electric light parade, fireworks, real snow, live music, carolers, Christmas gift and food market and more. All events are family-friendly, free and open to the public.

The Electric Light Parade begins at 6pm on Saturday, December 8 with more than 60 lighted entries. Immediately following the parade, enjoy the Holiday Fireworks extravaganza at 8pm. Parade attendees are encouraged to arrive early and bring lawn chairs to get a prime viewing spot.

This year, the Foothills Caring Corps organization will act as the grand marshal of the parade. Volunteers, staff and recipients of the organization, referred to as neighbors, will lead the parade, which is expected to draw nearly 10,000 people.

Real snow, a real treat for most Arizonans, and Santa are the highlights of the Kid’s Zone at the festival. More than 25 tons of snow, a snow slide, bounce house and other activities are available for children of all ages.

Additional activities include a Friday night holiday street party with DJ Sarah Birkett from 5-9pm, the Main Event Swing Time Band from 3:30-6pm on Sunday, and other free concerts, caroling, horse-drawn carriage rides and a North Pole mailbox throughout the weekend.

Sunday is pet day with a Pet Parade from 9am-12:30pm, and also animal adoptions, a doggie market and free pet photos with Santa. Attendees are encouraged to bring their pets dressed up in their holiday finest.

The Carefree Christmas Gift Market will feature more than 100 gift vendors all weekend. The festival runs 10am-9pm on Friday and Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday along Easy Street in Downtown Carefree. For information and full schedule of events, visit

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