Did you know this is the 18th year for the Festival of Lights Wine and Beer Tasting, Silent Auction and Golf Tournament on June 1 at the Foothills Golf Club?

Most of you will answer yes, though do you know why this event is so important to our community?

Hint: it has to do with those beautiful lights that decorate the cacti and trees during the winter holiday season on Chandler Boulevard in the Foothills.

“Those brilliant white lights covering the cactus and trees down Chandler Boulevard in the Foothills began over 20 years ago as an advertisement by the developer Del Webb to sell homes in the Foothills. Once Del Webb sold the homes the white lights display was no longer a part of our neighborhood,” said longtime board member and resident Susan Anderton. “It was missed so much that a group of ladies from Club West and the Foothills got together and organized the Festival of Lights Non-Profit Organization. Originally, residents volunteered and installed, took down and stored the lights. As the trees and cactus grew, the job grew and it was turned over to experts.”

Anderton added: “Without the Festival of Lights event we would not be able to pay for the lights which can run up to $100,000 per year. There is help from The Club West Homeowners Association and the Foothills Homeowners Association, who each donate funds to help offset the costs.”

Once this now three-year Tukee resident and Foothills real estate agent learned this, I signed up to volunteer and found out that they need lots of volunteers, silent auction items to make this year a continued success.

According to board president David Sominski, “We need volunteers to take on all kinds of tasks. We meet two nights a month on Thursday from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the YMCA. Anyone is welcome to attend and lend support wherever they can. We also put up volunteer sign information on our folaz.org website in May to solicit volunteers for the day of the event and to work the event itself.”

Now you know why the Festival of Lights event on June 1 is so important to our community. Oh, and I didn’t even mention the dedicated board members, restaurants involved, the sponsors, service clubs, the wine and beer, the kick-off party with Santa, and the first night the lights are turned on. Whew. Little did Del Webb know when he created a clever campaign to sell homes that he also created The Festival of Lights. A brilliant tradition that will truly be carried on another 20 years.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Donna Leeds is a real estate agent with Stone Path Real Estate in the Foothills near the lights. She is accepting silent auction items for the event and can be reached at www.bestagentkw@aol.com or (949) 310-5673. Items can also be dropped off through May 27 at Stone Path, 1238 E. Chandler Blvd., Suite 102.

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