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Next month in events: Light shows, festivals and festive fun for December

The State Press looks at events on and off campus for the month of December

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"Spark your calendars." Illustration published on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2018.  

Month-Long Events in December

  • CitySkate and Skate Westgate: Skate outdoors like you're at the Rockefeller Center for most of the month at these two venues located in downtown Phoenix and Glendale. Look at pricing for CitySkate here. Skate Westgate costs $15 including skate rentals.
  • Desert Botanical Garden: The garden will be hosting the Electric Desert and the Las Noches de las Luminarias event throughout the month. Witness the garden illuminated by lights and “more than 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags.” There will be various lights hung around the garden, all surrounded by live entertainment. 

  • Gilbert Art Walks: The Art Walk will be hosted from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can bring your pets, view photography, admire woodwork and listen to free music. This is a recurring event on Saturdays Dec. 1, Dec. 8, Dec. 15 and Dec. 22
  • Glendale Glitters: Out in the West Valley, Glendale Glitters is another holiday festival featuring many vendors, shows, light displays and other holiday entertainment recurring throughout the month. The event started on Friday, Nov. 23 and runs until Saturday, Jan. 12.
  • Holiday Lights: Located at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, this event will offer train rides through a rendition of a light display wonderland from Friday, Nov. 30 to Thursday, Jan. 6, at 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Illumination Symphony of Lights: Within Tempe at the Diablo Stadium, this light show will be open throughout the break. Traverse through this safari of 1.7 million lights to get you into the holiday spirit. 
  • Phoenix Art Museum: Spend the first Wednesday after finals week at the art museum near the downtown Phoenix campus checking out art. There is free admission every Wednesday of the month from 3 p.m to 9 p.m.
  • Scottsdale ArtWalk: Every Thursday of December in Old Town Scottsdale is the ArtWalk. Catch a free horse-drawn carriage and stroll through the galleries of Old Town.
  • ZooLights: Check out this year's display of the millions of lights strung about the animal exclosures at the Phoenix Zoo, as well as the famous lakeside light show accompanied by camel rides. The event started on Wednesday, Nov. 21 and will end on Thursday, Jan. 13.
  • 6th Street Market Festival: If you're at the Tempe campus, nearby is a weekly festival every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check out local musicians and artists in the streets of Tempe.

Friday, Nov. 30 to Sunday, Dec. 2

  • Phoenix Symphony Hall: Catch a festive show at Symphony Hall, such as "Holiday Pops," which will be running this weekend. There will also be a variety of other performances throughout the break, ranging from New Year’s concerts to blockbuster film scores.
  • Tempe Festival of the Arts: Extending over the weekend from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, experience several hundred artists lining the surrounding streets of ASU, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 7

  • Astronomy Evening:  Spend a night under the stars in Scottsdale. The event starts at 5:45 p.m., and registration is required by calling 480-312-0990.

  • First Friday: The monthly arts festival near the Downtown Phoenix campus will return. The event typically runs from 6 p.m to 10 p.m. on Roosevelt Row. 

Friday, Dec. 7 to Sunday, Dec. 9

  • Phoenix Festival of the Arts: This festival, located at Margaret T. Hance Park, will be full of local art, shopping, live performances and a variety of food trucks. The event takes place from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, Dec. 8

  • The Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade: Right in ASU’s backyard at Tempe Town Lake, this boat light show will host its 19th annual show starting at 7 p.m., but the area opens at 4 p.m. with live entertainment.

Saturday, Dec. 8 to Sunday, Dec. 9

  • All Breed Cat Show: This event at the Mesa Convention Center runs on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The entry fee will be $10 with a $1 coupon on the website. According to the website, a variety of "beautiful and competitive felines, both pedigreed cats and household pets” will be on display.
  • Mesa Arts Festival: Located in Old Town Mesa from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, find some great artistic gifts for Christmas, and discover a variety of musical talent performing nearby.

Thursday, Dec. 13 to Sunday, Dec. 16

  • Sweet Salvage: Fans of American Pickers know the thrill of hunting for rare collectibles and vintage items. This event lasts four days, which is all the time one needs to find the perfect gift.

Thursday, Dec. 13 to Thursday, Dec. 20

Friday, Dec. 14

  • City Lights Movie Nights: Located at CityScape Phoenix, any lovers of the big screen can catch classics "Home Alone" and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" on an outdoor movie screen in the heart of the city. There are also contests and other activities all from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 14 to Sunday, Dec. 23

  • Phoenix Ballet: Performances of the Nutcracker will occur throughout the break. Dates vary, but the first show offered will take place on Dec. 14, and the last will be on Dec. 23. The price for one ticket is a minimum of $25.

Wednesday Dec. 26 to Monday, Dec. 30

  • Holidays at the Heard: Come to the Heard Museum in central Phoenix and experience dance performances, an assortment of Native American music and talks from the Arizona Science Center representatives discussing the science of cold climates.

Reach the reporters at or and on Twitter @EthanG45 @avstatepress.

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