After 17 years in Ahwatukee Foothills the Annual Festival of Lights Kick-Off Party only continues to grow.

This year there will be more rides and more entertainment than ever during the Kick-Off Party on Saturday, Nov. 24, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Thunder Mountain Sports will be hosting a beach volleyball tournament, Holiday Smash, for local teams on the volleyball courts next to the beer garden. Residents are welcome to come out, watch, and cheer on the players.

The Logistics Group Inc. is sponsoring the entertainment. Dr. Ron and the Painkillers and Mogollon will perform. Mogollon will take the stage at 5 p.m. as Santa arrives with the Harley Parade. Dr. Ron and the Painkillers will close out the night with special guest Mexican Moonshine Tequila. Throughout the day there will be performances from local dance groups, choirs and theater groups.

Restaurant Row will have food from vendors like Florencia Pizza Bistro, My Big Fat Greek restaurant, My Wine Cellar, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Yoasis Yogurt, Jamba Juice and more. Marketplace Square is near capacity with more than 100 vendors ready to showcase their businesses and products.

Last year Festival of Lights organizers introduced an ice skating rink to the Kick-Off Party. This year the rink will be even bigger. There will also be new bouncies and rides for the kids.

The Harley Parade will begin at 6 p.m. and feature more than 100 riders from the local Harley-Davidson Club. Riders will meet between 4:45 and 5:15 p.m. at Foothills Baptist Church, 15450 S. 21st St., and follow a police escort down Chandler Boulevard and into the park.

Parking at Desert Foothills Park is limited so organizers have set up a free shuttle from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Riders can hop on at Kyrene Altadeña Middle School, 14620 S. Desert Foothills Parkway, or at the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA, 1030 E. Liberty Lane.

Admission to the event is free, but rides and food will cost money. Wristbands for all-day rides can be purchased for $20, while individuals tickets for rides will cost 50 cents.

“It’s about community spirit,” said David Smolinski, Festival of Lights president. “It’s the start of the holiday season. When I see the lights go up, that whole month before hand it just puts me in a great mood. I just enjoy seeing the lights and having everyone come out to the community events. It’s going to be a really good time at the Saturday Kick-Off Party and we hope everyone comes out.”

The Festival of Lights is a 501 c-3 nonprofit. For more information, visit or call (480) 270-4365.


Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or

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