After dinner we went to see the Winterhaven Christmas lights. They have three nights a season where you can drive through the neighborhood and see all the houses light up with lights and displays of the Christmas season. Some of the homes were really into the displays and had put a lot of money and time into their decorations.
They open the neighborhood up for drive through times 3 times each season. This was the first night and they will be open twice after Christmas. It was unbelievable the number of vehicles that lined up to drive through. They had two entrances to the area and we were backed up for blocks waiting to actually get to the lights. It took almost 1 1/2 hours of stop and go traffic and once you were in the neighborhood it was bumper to bumper with vehicles. In addition, there were thousands of people walking the streets also. Chaos!
It was a cheerful time and everyone waited and took their turn and we didn't see any incidents. It was mostly family groups in the area and that probably helped keep the rowdies out. Gerry took a number of pictures and rather than show a lot of them I am including a collage of a small percentage of what she took.
Over 50 years of History
CB Richards was the founding father of Winterhaven Water & Development Company. In 1949 he 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. CB 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 allepo 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.
CB personally judged all the displays in those first festival contests and the winner was awarded $100.00. After CB Richards moved to San Diego, he 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.
I can't imagine the pain of having all those people and cars taking over the neighborhood for all evening. Traffic was worse than getting out of any football game I've been to over the years. Steve drove and that was great for me. I usually drive and have to watch for all the kiddies and crazy drivers, so it was a relaxing trip for me. Thanks Steve.
It was a great way to start the Christmas season and since all the cards and presents are in the mail we can enjoy the rest of the year.