Updated Nov 5, 2020

2020 Festival Cancelled

Dear Tucson Community,

The heartbreaking decision has been made, after careful consultation with the City of Tucson and the Pima County Health Department, to cancel this year’s Winterhaven Festival of Lights. We believe what is most important is the safety and wellbeing of our Tucson community during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and that holding our traditional event for the community would not serve to ensure that. We look forward to next year and the hope that we will be able to hold the festival safely for the 2021 holiday season.

To help make certain that the community is aware of the cancellation, and to minimize non-resident traffic in our neighborhood that might be caused by community members who do not realize that the event is cancelled, the City of Tucson will be providing some traffic control barricades and signage. We are thankful for this assistance that is made possible with the help of Council Member Paul Durham’s Ward 3 Council Office.

We would like to also thank our incredible Title Sponsor, Tucson Electric Power (TEP), for continuing to support us this year by helping us spread the news to the Tucson Community, and for always supporting the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Although we won’t be gathering throughout the streets of Winterhaven this year for the festival, we ask the Tucson community to please continue to support the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

We encourage families to follow the COVID-19 guidelines from the City of Tucson and the Pima County Health Department on how to keep safe and stay healthy while celebrating this holiday season. Posted below are helpful links with that information.

1. Wear a mask now

If we can squash this virus, we have a better chance of getting together and having the festival next year. Do it. We all want to enjoy the lights with some kettle corn and hot cocoa, don't you?

Pima County COVID Info

2. Donate to the Food Bank

Every year the community brings thousands of pounds and thousands of dollars for the Food Bank. This year they need our help even more. Let's join together to serve our community now.

Donate online now.

Check back here and our Facebook Page for the most recent news.

Made possible by TEP

Tucson Electric Power is the title sponsor of the Winterhaven Festival of Lights. With their generous support and partnership we are proud to present for the 70th year Tucson's favorite holiday tradition.

Please support the Community Food Bank

Though we aren't together, we can still support our community

Most needed items:
Peanut butter, oatmeal, cereal, granola bars, canned tomato products, canned tuna & chicken, canned soup, canned vegetables, canned fruit, rice & pasta, shelf stable milk

In 2018, the Tucson community donated $27,090 and 56,238 pounds of food to the Food Bank during the Festival of Lights.

Donate online
Help to make the season bright for families in Tucson!

> Donate to the Food Bank

Community Support

The festival is 100% supported by the community. There are two ways you can support the festival

Become a corporate sponsor

In return for your sponsorship, your company name will be prominently displayed on advertising associated with the event and on this website.

> Read more

Make a personal tax-deductible donation

Send a check to our PO Box, or make a credit card donation on-line.

> Donate Online

Our Sponsors

Without them the Festival would not be possible. Thank you!

Title Sponsor

TEP Tucson Electric Power

Supporting Sponsors


Festival History

In 1949 CB Richards created a cooperative water company and a modern residential development north of what was Tucson at the time. By 1957 all but 19 of the 257 original lots had been developed.

The Festival of Lights began in 1949. Mr. Richards was inspired to create the Festival after visiting a similar display in Beverly Hills, California in the 1930s. He purchased the first set of Christmas lights in 1949 and donated them to the neighborhood. He purchased the Aleppo pines from a local nursery that was going out of business. They were planted at regular intervals throughout the neighborhood and electrical connections were hooked up near each tree for the lights.

For the first few years of the festival Richards personally judged all the displays and the winner was awarded $100.00. After he moved to San Diego, Richards continued to visit Winterhaven for the Festival of Lights.

The Festival has been held continuously since 1949 except for one year during the 1970's energy crisis when the residents of Winterhaven voted to stay dark.

71st Annual Festival of Lights

This year would have been the 71st year for the Winterhaven Festival of Lights – one of the longest running festivals of its kind in the country.

The Festival of Lights celebrates the holiday season in Tucson and is visited by hundreds of thousands of people from all over southern Arizona. Moreover, the Festival is one the most important events for the Community Food Bank in Tucson. In 2018, $27,090 and 56,238 pounds of food were donated to the Food Bank through the Festival.

The subsidy from the City of Tucson that has been used to pay for safety and traffic control has been discontinued because of the City’s severe budget issues. Rather than cancel the Festival, we are turning to the Community for its support.