15 Must-See Holiday Light Displays in Metro Phoenix in 2015
Some of the longest nights of the whole year happen during the yuletide season, and the upshot is that there's more time to check out all the bright holiday lights that pop up all around our big city. During the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, there's an overwhelming excess of festive lighting that's on public display pretty much anywhere and everywhere you could possibly imagine.
That includes millions of homes across the Valley, which local folks adorn with joyous illuminated displays of all shapes and sizes. Some keep it simple with a few dozen strings of colorful bulbs. Others channel the spirit of Clark W. Griswold and cover their entire property in enough lights, inflatables, and motorized attractions to keep APS in the black for the next decade.
You'll find many of the latter examples in the following list of the best, biggest, brightest, and most unique light displays found throughout metro Phoenix, including a few that are as charming as one of the many specials you'll see on TV this time of year.
Read on and gain some illumination of where to find the holiday lights you don't want to miss.
1146 N. Quail Lane, Gilbert
Call us sentimental, but the innocence and heartwarming nature of the holiday season will forever be associated in our minds with the Peanuts gang, owing the fact we were weaned on 1965 animated special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s one of the reasons why this charming Peanuts-themed display located in Gilbert stole our hearts. Laid out like an airport, complete with a runway and control tower, it features an inflatable version of Snoopy as a World War I ace bringing his Sopwith Camel in for a landing, while cutouts of Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Linus, Lucy, and other characters are waiting to greet him. It's playful, amiable, and fun, just like classic comic strip itself.
Dates & Times: On display nightly from 5 p.m. until midnight through January 1.
Candy Cane Lane
2801 E. Pinchot Ave.
Every holiday season since 1988, the two-block stretch of Pinchot Avenue between 26th and 28th streets transforms into a glittery wonderland that comes alive with color and illumination after dark. Neighborhood residents adorn the towering palm trees that line this quiet side street north of Thomas Road with more than three-dozen different candy cane-shaped multicolored light displays. Meanwhile, a glowing star and peace symbol both hang from the tree canopy overhead. Stop by the street on certain weekend nights and you might encounter Pinchot Avenue homeowners holding a street party of sorts, including outdoor screenings of holiday movies or giving visitors rides on a motorized cart wrapped in lights.
Dates & Times: On display nightly through January 1, starting at 5 p.m.
Emilio Palacio's South Park Tribute
7734 N. 41st Ave.
It isn't hard to figure out the cartoon of choice at Emilio Palacio's house after spying his monument to South Park dominating the front of his West Valley home near Northern and 43rd avenues. Close to 100 different characters from multiple seasons of the Comedy Central show are recreated in cutout form (which is true to the toon's animation style) and that rests upon a field of white lights.
There are many favorites present, such as Big Gay Al, Mrs. Crabtree, Terrance and Phillip, Uncle Jimbo, Timmy, Jimmy, Officer Barbrady, and the Satan-worshiping Woodland Christmas Critters. In a nice touch, Cartman's alter-ego The Coon and his faux superhero sidekicks are perched along the edge of the roof while Jesus and Santa Claus are posed at the very top of the house, which hearkens back to South Park's origins as a short entitled The Spirit of Christmas. A mix of audio clips from the show and songs from the album Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics play over a sound system, albeit in heavily edited form, probably because not everyone in Palacio's neighborhood shares his appreciation for the profane cartoon.
Dates & Times: On display nightly through January 1 starting at dusk.
541 E. Mountain Sky Ave., Ahwahtukee
Tucked away in the shadow of South Mountain, this quaint and kitschy display in the front yard of Frank and Dianne Polimene’s Ahwatukee foothills home features a 1/6-scale train operated by Santa Claus himself that scoots along an 80-foot-long track, dispenses candy canes to visitors, and is as cute as all get out. It’s the centerpiece of the couple’s annual Christmas display in the Valley for the past 25 years and also includes an illuminated volcano, a rooftop display with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer trying to hoist Santa up to the chimney using a rope and pulley, a Ferris wheel with stuffed animals as passengers, a candy cane carousel, and a life-sized interactive Saint Nicholas that sings and dances.
Dates & Times: Operates nightly, 6 to 11 p.m., through January 1.
Christmas in Scottsdale
8543 E. Avalon Dr., Scottsdale
This beautiful animated display created each year by married couple John Slade and Caroline Leon at their Scottsdale home — which features more than 50,000 LED lights, a 25-foot-tall tree, and a singing snowman and Santa Claus — is a collaborative effort between the two. He programs the hour-long sequence of swirling, flickering and flashing lights that’s set to a series of amusing holiday parody songs that she picks out and edits. The result is a delight for the senses with its mesmerizing visuals, joyful tunes, and the aroma of fresh-baked cookies wafting through the air from inside the house. Plus, they’ve also got free hot chocolate and candy canes to boot. Your inner child will have a blast.
Dates & Times: Sunday through Thursday, 6 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 6 to 11 p.m. through January 3.
Chickie Sirakis’ Superhero Display
6060 W. Charter Oak Rd., Glendale
Christmas is sort of a big thing in the Sirakis family. Siblings and Arizona residents Joe, Chickie, and Roy spend countless hours during the buildup to each holiday season creating and hand-painting colorful and cartoonish wooden cutouts of various fictional characters to adorn each of their front yards. And each family member does his or her own thing. Joe, for instance, is more into Disney and recreated Olaf from Frozen and all the emotions from of Inside Out at his home in Peoria. Chickie went in an even geekier direction with her display, which includes a retinue of legendary comic book characters that currently stand guard outside of her Glendale residence. Both the Marvel and DC universes are represented, as it includes Batman, Superman, Wolverine, and Spider-Man, among others. There's also most of the characters from summer blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron as well, including the titular villain and fantastic-looking version of Iron Man’s Hulkbuster Armor.
She says her son Derek, a fan of superheroes, inspired her choice for this year's display “He's always been into superheroes and he really likes Iron Man and asked me to do the Hulkbuster Armor and I had no idea what that was until he showed me,” Chickie says. “So I made it for him and then it sort of grew from there.” It isn't entirely a male-centric affair, as Sirakis also included one of the more iconic superheroines in comic book history. “I also made Wonder Woman for me,” she says.
Dates & Times: Monday to Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday to Sunday, 5 to 11 p.m. through January 4.Next Page
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