Ahwatukee Easter Parade

The Ahwatukee Foothills News and the 'Tukee Trio want to give a special thank you to San Tan Ford of Gilbert for loaning them a convertible Mustang for the 39th Annual Kiwanis Ahwatukee Easter Parade on April 4.

You likely have noticed that “The Season” is almost at an end in Ahwatukee.

Soon, many organizations will be slowing down for the long desert summer as their members and the general public hunker down inside their air-conditioned homes or seek relief from the brutal heat at summer getaways.

Even though this native Easterner has been in Arizona nearly two decades, I continue to be fascinated by that rhythm.

Having grown up in areas where April brought many organizations and fundraisers to life, I find it kind of sad that we in the Valley look at April as the glorious climax of six months of festivities and outdoor gathering, many of which are aimed at raising money for good causes or calling attention to others.

Yes, May will bring graduations and a few other events, but we all know that The Season is winding down. The charity runs are coming at us full throttle because in about six weeks it will become too hot to draw many participants. The golf tournaments likewise are coming on strong, even though a few will be played in June for the hardy souls. And many groups that meet weekly or monthly will suspend those sessions until September.

For now, though, April is bringing a couple of community events that Ahwatukee residents might want to keep in mind.

As you might have noted elsewhere in today’s AFN, you’ve already missed the 11th annual Ahwatukee Dog Show.

But if you enjoy dogs – or even if you just want to help people who care for abused and neglected canines – there’s the second annual Bags & Wags Cornhole Festival noon-7 p.m. Saturday at the Ahwatukee Swim and Tennis Center at 4700 E. Warner Road.

For five bucks, you can spend a day outside listening to music, play games and party a lot more cheaply than at Country Thunder. Besides helping dogs, you’ll also be helping veterans, since the festival supports efforts to help homeless veterans keep their pets – dogs that in many cases offer their only consistent source of comfort.

The whole family can look forward to the Ahwatukee Kiwanis Club’s 41st annual Easter Parade on April 15 that will wind down 48th Street from Warner Road to Elliot Road, followed by the group’s Spring Fling fundraiser.

Keep in mind something important about the Ahwatukee Kiwanis Club: It does not count many people as members. Unlike the Ahwatukee Rotary that disbanded years ago for lack of members, though, the Ahwatukee Kiwanians are a fiercely dedicated bunch of men and women.

They meet at 7:30 p.m. every Thursday at Biscuits Restaurant, try to have a guest speaker every week discussing something of interest to Ahwatukee and spend the rest of their time figuring out ways they can help people – particularly foster kids in group homes.

The two events combined offer something for almost every age group – whether it be kids who thrill to the sight of the parade’s giant Easter Bunny or the fun in the still-kind sun at the Spring Fling.

And again, if you attend the Spring Fling, you’ll be having fun while helping others.

Another big event comes at the end of April when the Festival of Lights holds its Wine and Beer Tasting Festival at Rawhide.

In some ways, the April 29 event can be considered a chance for Ahwatukee adults to bid farewell to The Season with a giant party that will offer dancing, music and a great opportunity to mingle with your neighbors.

The festival is one of the lights organization’s two big fundraisers of the year. Together with the Kick-Off Party held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, proceeds help the group pay for the brilliant lights that grace Chandler Boulevard during December.

And like Bags & Wags and the Easter Parade-Spring Fling, the group that puts this together isn’t that big.

But what the Festival of Lights Committee might lack in numbers, members make up for it in community spirit.

There’s no selfish reason I can see as to why a group of people would spend weeks planning two big community parties every year just to raise enough money for a third way to delight Ahwatukee residents. By the way, the group could use some volunteers with setting up and tearing down the festival, so feel free to raise your hand.

For Bags & Wags and the Easter Parade-Spring Fling, all you need to do is show up. For tickets to the Wine and Beer Tasting Festival or to volunteer, go to folaz.org.

And with our desert spring and The Season coming to a close, party on and help someone in the process.

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