Getting Lit

Light. As far as modifiers go, it's far from our favorite: light Miracle Whip, light rock and -- heaven help us -- light beer. But as a plural noun, light can be rather nice, especially around holiday time. In fact, the season's lights displays set our hearts glowing with the kind of warm buzz normally requiring four or five beers (seven if they're light).

The Arizona Celebration of Lights may be the best of the brightest -- two miles, five million lights, 350 themed displays. Lightseers start at the Community of Joy Campus, 75th Avenue and Loop 101 in Glendale; admission is $12 per carload, with discounts given for food and toy donations.

At Wildlife World Zoo, 16501 West Northern in Litchfield Park, half a million lights fashion 60 larger-than-life creatures, and various animal exhibits are lighted after dark. Admission is $6.

ZooLights, the annual animal attraction at the Phoenix Zoo, 455 North Galvin Parkway, combines two million lights with nightly activities, music and animated displays. Admission is $7, $6 in advance.

Glendale Glitters indeed, with nearly one million lights illuminating 12 blocks of Historic Downtown, including Old Towne and the shops of Catlin Court. Enchanted Evenings, Friday and Saturday, December 20 and 21, bring live entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides and family fun.

The Valley's light list also includes Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe, site of the APS Fantasy of Lights, and Scottsdale's McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, 7301 East Indian Bend, brightened by 60,000 bulbs. The Ahwatukee Festival of Lights stretches from 24th Street to Desert Foothills Parkway on Chandler Boulevard, and hundreds of luminarias encircle Fountain Hills' famed fountain.

Downtown Phoenix's bright spots include Historic Heritage Square at Seventh Street and Washington, and the Arizona Center, Third Street and Van Buren.

In the East Valley, a glow rises from the Arizona Temple, 525 East Main in Mesa, where 600,000 lights blanket the gardens. And Gilbert's light shines at Val Vista Lakes Community Association, 1600 East Lakeside, where 500,000 lights are strung in a holiday mountain theme.

Check Calendar listings for specific hours and dates. Admission is free unless otherwise noted.

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Jill Koch
Contact: Jill Koch