Town of Carefree Announces Adjustments to 2020 Memorial Day Tribute

Photo: Jennifer Lynn, Any Moment Photography

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, the country will remember those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of our nation. Last year, the Town of Carefree inaugurated a Memorial Day tribute in the Carefree-Cave Creek Cemetery to honor those men and women. This year, the challenges of the ongoing pandemic and associated CDC guidelines have caused the Town to modify its traditional morning of remembrance and honor.

This year, the Town of Carefree invites residents to spend part of their Memorial Day at the Carefree-Cave Creek Cemetery. (This is a pioneer cemetery. The wearing of close-toed shoes is a must.) However, the anticipated number of attendees, many of whom are of greater risk of serious illness, and the Town’s inability to offer recommended social distancing in the context of an organized program, has led them to adjust plans.

As in years past, the Tribute Riders will have marked the graves of the 41 veterans interred in the cemetery with the American flag. This year, “Taps” will be played at 8am and throughout the day guests are encouraged to walk the grounds, reflect, and pay respect to veterans. But this year, there will be no formal program. From 7:30am until 9am, face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer will be available near the entry gate, courtesy of American Legion Post 34 in Cave Creek. Guests are asked to comply with CDC guidelines.

The Town says, “It is easy to forget or take for granted those men and women who gave their lives or risked it all. Because of veterans and their selfless sacrifices, we live in prosperity and peace with liberty and freedom. To honor those veterans who have given their lives for country and to provide an appropriate opportunity for those who wish to respect our fallen veterans on Memorial Day in a setting that complies with CDC guidelines, the Town of Carefree is offering this modest, heartfelt tribute.”

For additional information, visit www.carefree.org.

Second Annual Carefree Community Block Party to be Held April 6

Area residents are invited to an afternoon of food, music, friendship and fun as the Town of Carefree hosts the Second Annual Community Block Party Saturday, April 6, 2–7pm, in Downtown Carefree along Easy Street and in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion.

“Everyone loved the Block Party last year and we have received many requests to make it an annual tradition” shared Mayor Les Peterson. “This event proved to be an excellent opportunity for Carefree residents to get together with friends, neighbors and area businesses before changing schedules for summer.”

Local business owners are invited to showcase their goods and services to area residents in a casual, neighborhood party style atmosphere. Highlights of the event will include the return of the popular Carefree Water Company dunk tank, cornhole tossing, putt-putt golf and fun activities for children of all ages. Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs will be available for purchase, as well as adult refreshments provided by Foothills Food Bank, and the always-popular Desert Foothills YMCA lemonade stand. The event rounds out with carnival-style treats, raffle prize giveaways from area businesses and much more.

For more information, call 480.488.3686 or go to www.visitcarefree.com.

Carefree Desert Gardens Announces Annual Photo Contest

Photo: 2018 First Place winner, “Waterfall” by Doreen Florence

The Town of Carefree is again holding its annual Carefree Desert Gardens Photo Contest, with submissions being accepted beginning Monday, April 1 in several location throughout the Town. Entries vie for the popular “Peoples’ Choice Award” as voted by the public, which will be presented in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion Friday, May 10, in conjunction with National Public Gardens Day.

“The Carefree Desert Gardens present a wide array of spectacular photographic opportunities,” shared Mayor Les Peterson. “Opportunities abound — from the exotic desert plants sprinkled throughout to magical sunrises and sunsets; from spectacular mountain vistas to the memorable people who stroll through the Gardens. Take your pick and let your imagination and photographic skills capture a masterpiece!”

Images must be taken within the Carefree Desert Gardens in the Carefree Town Center, with no time constraints on when the images were taken. Photographers are limited to a maximum of three image entries, and all entries must be received no later than Friday, April 26. Submissions will be reviewed by a judging panel, and 12 images will be selected to compete for the “Peoples’ Choice”, with voting taking place at the Desert Foothills Library from April 27–May 5.

Entries may be submitted at The UPS Store, 33689 North Tom Darlington Drive; CVS Photo Counter, 5400 East Carefree Highway.; and at Carefree Town Hall, 8 Sundial Circle, through Friday, April 26. Entry forms are available at each location or may be downloaded at http://www.carefree.org. Contest entry is free, and the winning entries will have their images used on future marketing and promotional materials by the Town. See contest entry form for complete rules and usage information.

For more information about the contest, call 480.488.3686 or visit www.carefree.org/230/garden-photo-contest.

Thunderbird Artists Gallery Opens in Carefree

Glass and metal chandelier by Carefree artist David Bennett.

After 37 years of producing award-winning, juried fine art and wine festivals, Thunderbird Artists is expanding to open its first fine

art gallery, Thunderbird Artists Gallery, in Carefree Thursday, Dec. 6. The new gallery, located at 99 Easy Street, Suite 235, will showcase and sell the works of renowned artists, including David BennettGuilloume, Jacinthe Dugal-Lacroix, Sandy and Dave Daniel, Valentine, Dan Hale and others.

“We’ve been partnering with the Town of Carefree and the Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce on our Carefree festivals for 26 years. It only makes sense that we would consider Carefree as our home base for an art gallery,” said Thunderbird Artists president Denise Colter.

A special ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at noon Dec, 6 with key Town and Chamber officials present. Guests to gallery will also enjoy refreshments throughout the afternoon.

One of the highlights of the new gallery will be a stunning, LED-illuminated, glass and metal chandelier that depicts figures in motion. The captivating piece was created by glass artist David Bennett, of Carefree.

Bennett spent 25 years working as a trial lawyer before finding his passion for sculpting glass. A native of Oregon, he was vacationing in Florida celebrating his 50th birthday when he met a glass blower who inspired him to learn more. Within two weeks, he was making paperweights and within the next year, he began studying with Robert Carlson and Petr Novotny at the Pilchuck Glass School.

Bennett is best known for his metal and glass animal and human figures in motion. Each piece includes 10 or more glass and metal pieces welded together. Bennett uses a proprietary method that protects the glass during the welding process.

While artisans have been blowing glass into metal forms for 2,000 years, Bennett said he and others are pushing the technique.

“We can make complex forms in glass and bronze that we could not do in either medium alone. As we’ve stretched the technical processes of blowing glass into metal, I’ve had more and more artistic freedom. Our figures can be lighter and wilder in their motions, and we’ve become able to manipulate the glass around its armatures in increasingly playful ways,” Bennett said, adding that the LED lights inside his glass sculptures often glow like embers in a fireplace, resulting in a warm, comforting feeling.

Located near the intersection of Ho Hum and East Streets in downtown Carefree, Thunderbird Artists Gallery will be open from 10am–5pm, Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, call 480.688.4960 or visit www.thunderbirdartistsgallery.com.

 

Carefree to Host Annual Veterans Day Honor

Veterans and residents of Carefree attend the 2017 event in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion. Photo courtesy of the Town of Carefree

In commemoration of their service, the Town of Carefree is privileged to host its 10th annual Veterans Day Honor and Celebration Sunday, Nov. 11, from 3–5pm, in the Carefree Desert Gardens, 101 Easy Street, at the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion stage.

This year’s celebration will reflect on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice ending World War I and honor those veterans who have participated in this event in previous years.

Speakers will include retired Army Maj. Arden Rowley, a Korean War veteran and POW who will share his wartime experiences. This year’s event will also feature a mixture of patriotic and military music, with a special rendition of “God Bless America” by Todd Knowles and the Main Event Swing Band, marking the 100th anniversary of the patriotic classic, as well as “The Last Post” on the bugle, followed by “Taps” performed on dueling bugles.

Barbara Hatch, founder of Veterans Heritage Project (VHP), will be in attendance with VHP chapter students from Cactus Shadows High School and Sonoran Trails Middle School. There will be a student exhibit, with books for sale at the event.

For more information, visit http://www.carefree.org or call 480.488.3686.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden Returns for Fourth Year

Enjoy live carving demonstrations and magical Halloween festivities

Visit Gourdy Gooligan and his Carefree Hooligans at this year’s Enchanted Pumpkin Garden. Photos courtesy of Villafane Studios

Halloween invades the Town of Carefree in the form of whimsical pumpkin carvings from master sculptor Ray Villafane and the Villafane Studios team for a fourth year. The Enchanted Pumpkin Garden, a free admission, one-of-a-kind fall festival celebrating the magic of the season, takes place Oct. 19–28, with the incredible artistry of Villafane Studios on display throughout the four-acre Carefree Desert Gardens in Downtown Carefree.

Voted “Best in the Valley” fall event in 2015 and 2016 by Phoenix Magazine, the event invites visitors to experience the many new mischievous pumpkin characters, artfully imagined and frolicking in their enchanted garden home. In addition to the playful pumpkins and holiday vignettes, Villafane and his team will carve 10 3-D pumpkin faces, which are preserved and displayed in tanks that resemble Saguaro cacti. Another popular attraction is the giant pumpkin on display for visitor photos, with Villafane handling the carving chores the second weekend of the event. Villafane’s team of carvers will create new offerings daily throughout the garden.

Highlights include two family-instructional carving nights with Villafane Oct. 25–26, sponsored by Desert Foothills YMCA. Costume contests for children, family/group and adults will be held Saturday, Oct. 27, and a pet costume contest will be held Sunday, Oct. 28, sponsored by Carefree Pet Resort. Other popular activities include the Bashas’ “Adopt a Pumpkin” patch; a pumpkin pie eating competition, with pies provided by Venues Café; a Harvest Market, featuring vendor goods and autumnal treats; a beer garden featuring craft beers provided by Four Peaks Brewery and wine; culinary food trucks; and a new weekend Haunted Happenings area, where for a $5 fee visitors will enjoy a petting zoo, pony rides, a haunted house, corn maze and other family-friendly attractions. Other special events will round out the week.

Based in Arizona, with a workshop and gallery, Villafane is an internationally acclaimed American sculptor who has travelled throughout the globe fashioning exceptional figures and scenes out of pumpkins, sand and snow. Villafane has been called, “the Michelangelo of pumpkin carving,” by Martha Stewart, carved for the president at the White House, and has appeared on numerous national TV programs as well as holding two entries in the Guinness Book of World Records. For information about Ray Villafane and Villafane Studios, visit www.villafanestudios.com.

For more information about the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden event, call 480.488.3686 or visit www.carefreepumpkingarden.com.

Kiwanis Splash Park Is Open For Summer Fun

The Town of Carefree opened the Kiwanis Splash Park for its third season April 1. Located in the Carefree Desert Gardens, the Kiwanis Club of Carefree donated the funds so that local families and their children could have a place to escape the heat while enjoying the beautiful surrounding views of Carefree. In keeping with the Carefree Desert Garden theme, the park has an artfully designed scorpion centered within the splash pad named “KIWANI,” which is an exciting one-of-a-kind feature. When guests least expect it, the scorpion sprays its jets, creating a magical, nature-inspired play environment.

Families are encouraged to make a day of it and visit the boutique shops and restaurants in the Carefree downtown area, then are welcome to cool-off in the Kiwanis Splash Park. In addition to the Splash Park, on the west side of the Garden, families can enjoy a covered playground area featuring another one-of-a-kind Gila monster slide just across from the Carefree “Little Free Library.”

The Splash Park is open 9am–7pm and admission is free. The park will remain open through October 15. For more information, visit www.visitcarefree.com.

Join Your Neighbors For Food, Music & Fun

The Town of Carefree, in the spirit of friendship and celebration, will hold its inaugural Community Block Party Saturday, April 7, from 3pm to 7pm. The Block Party will take place in Downtown Carefree along Easy Street and the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion.

Carefree residents, Foothills neighbors, businesses and nonprofits of the Town are all invited to join in on the food, music, activities and fun for all ages. Entrance is free. The cost for a meal ticket is $6 and includes a hamburger, hotdog, chili, various side dishes and one non-alcoholic drink. There will be other items for purchase such as ice cream.

A highlight of the day will be the Town’s first official hot dog eating competition, which is scheduled for 4pm and will feature Nathan’s Famous hot dogs.

“Carefree isn’t a stranger to food eating contests even though this is our first hot dog competition. For the past three years, our pumpkin pie eating contests are heavily attended at the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden Festival. Most people think they can eat a lot but when it comes down to doing it, most eager eaters get sick or withdraw,” shares Director of Marketing, Gina Kaegi. “We thank Nathan’s for their generous hot dog donation that will be featured in the event and look forward to crowning our first Carefree top dog winner with an official trophy and the notoriety that comes with it.”

In addition to the hot dog eating contest, guests can enjoy a dunk tank, Corn Hole Tournament, a beer and wine garden, plus the grilling of hamburgers and hotdogs. The Kiwanis Splash Pad will also be open along with other activities such as free face painting, a music DJ, Zumba, karate, mini putt golf, kid’s lemonade stand by the Desert Foothills YMCA, raffle prizes/baskets and more.

“This will be a good time to reminisce with friends, meet new neighbors and enjoy our downtown business district. We hope this becomes an annual tradition,” said Les Peterson, mayor of Carefree.

Sponsors of the event include 4CMedical Group, Edward Jones, Tyrol Title, Liberty Utilities, Ted Phillip Denton Contemporary Art and Happy Fitness with Patricia. Participating local restaurants include Corrado’s Italiana Cucina, Carefree Coffee Roastery, The Meat Market, Black Mountain Coffee Shop and Café and Venues Café. Nonprofits and partners also benefiting include Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce, Carefree Water Company, Desert Foothills Foodbank, Desert Foothills YMCA and Foothills Caring Corps.

RSVP’s are suggested; send an email to events@carefree.org. Local businesses that want to attend and/or volunteer, should send an email to vicki@carefree.org or call 480.488.3686.

Christmas In Carefree

Twenty-Three Days Of Seasonal Celebrations

This year, the Town of Carefree is building upon the decade-long tradition of the Carefree Christmas Festival—and expanding the holiday season, while also furthering community and business involvement.

Preserving the sense of community for locals while also showcasing all the color and beauty of Carefree to new visitors will be the focal point of the expanded Carefree Christmas Festival. The seasonal celebration is set to run from December 1 through 23, and will include highlights of an official tree lighting at the iconic Carefree Sundial, Carefree Snow Village (featuring real snow), an open-air Christmas Market, concerts, a comedy show, arts and crafts, gingerbread build-off, Luminaria Tribute in the Garden, and a new daytime community parade by the Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce, just to name a few.

“The expanded footprint will allow for even more visitors to enjoy the festivities over an extended period,” said Carefree Mayor Les Peterson. “This will complement typical business hours and also provide a platform for nonprofits from all over the desert foothills area to engage with the community and showcase their cause.”

Evenings in the enchanting, four-acre Carefree Desert Gardens will be adorned with a professional holiday light display. Meanwhile, the daytime hours will be better positioned for the community parade December 9—while also allowing for more community involvement, reduced safety risks and enhanced exposure of Carefree’s pedestrian-friendly business district. There will also be special appearances by Beatles Tribute Band, Marmalade Skies, singer-songwriter Ryan Sims and comedian-actor Jill Kimmel, who is the younger sister of the late-night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel will pay tribute to veterans and first responders by performing a comedy show just for them. Admission will be an unwrapped toy for the annual toy drive, which supports children of a family selected by the Foothills Food Bank. All toys will be delivered by the Carefree Rural Metro Fire Department. The Cave Creek Unified School District will also include performances from the Cactus Shadows High School Jazz Band as well as various elementary and middle school choirs in addition to the bell ringers and choir from the local Presbyterian church.

It all adds up to an enchanting expansion of the Carefree Christmas Festival—and the sign of even more exceptional things to come.

“We anticipate this event becoming one of the most-attended and revered holiday traditions in the North East Valley,” said Peterson. “We look forward to seeing it grow and evolve, year after year.”

For more information, visit www.christmasincarefree.com.

Click here for a Christmas in Carefree Calendar of Events and Information!

 

Carefree To Honor Veterans At Annual Community Event

The Town of Carefree will host its ninth annual Veterans Day presentation and musical tribute Saturday, November 11, 3–5 pm, in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion, located in the Carefree Desert Gardens, 101 Easy Street, in Downtown Carefree.

The event will feature a mixture of patriotic and military music by Todd Knowles and his Main Event Swing Band. World War II veteran Colonel Blaine Keith, U.S. Marine Corps retired, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Special speakers will include veterans of the armed forces, including World War II veteran, Captain Lew Jenkins, U.S. Army, who will share their experiences from the past. This year the program will include a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace.” And, by popular request, the finale will once again include the bugle call, “The Last Post,” followed by “taps” on dueling bugles.

Barbara Hatch, founder of Veterans Heritage Project (VHP), will be in attendance with students from Cactus Shadows High School (CSHS) and Sonoran Trails Middle School (STMS), whose VHP chapters are now in the capable hands of two volunteer adviser/teachers: Bret Lineburg (CSHS history teacher), and Shannon Griffith (STMS English teacher). Their exhibit and books will be on display and for sale. Hatch is one of the recent recipients of the Hon Kachina Award for “improving the lives of others in her community.” Veterans Heritage Project students can now be found interviewing in 27 schools in Arizona, as well as one in Hatch’s Illinois hometown and a pilot program in Niceville, Florida. VHP will publish six editions of Since You Asked this year.

The Sonoran Arts League will share information about its Veteran Art Program. The Desert Foothills YMCA will discuss their veteran support programs. The Association of the United States Army will have a representative available to assist any veterans with questions. The Carefree Kiwanis Club will provide light refreshments and coffee from the Carefree Coffee Roastery with assistance from the Black Mountain Foothills Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

All area residents are invited to attend and enjoy the special presentations and join in the opportunity to honor those who have sacrificed for all. For more information, visit www.carefree.org or call 480.488.3686.

%d bloggers like this: