Winterhaven’s Last Year?


Lily Merritt, Opinion Editor

Tucson’s Winterhaven Festival of Lights first began in 1989 by CB Richards. Over the past 27 years, the Festival of Lights has become one of the most important events for Tucson’s Community Food Bank. Just last year, over $23,000 and 42,000 pounds of food were donated.

This year’s Winterhaven Festival could be the last, due to Tucson’s budget issues. For the past several years, the festival has been given grants from the city to cover safety and traffic costs; however, this funding was cut after last year. After several years of being a corporate sponsor of the festival, The Pascua Yaqui Tribe has withdrawn their support this year. This unexpected, and significant, decrease of funding will have a serious impact on the holiday celebration; without this money, the Winterhaven tradition may not last another year.

Each year, Winterhaven needs about $95,000 to pull everything off for the 200,000 annual attendees. Winterhaven resident, Jim Tofel states, “The barricades cost $20,000,  then we have insurance another $15,000, porta-johns, trash, there are a lot of things that go into it.” With no reimbursements for electric bills, there is no room for the neighborhood to dig into their own pockets to keep the tradition going.

This year’s Winterhaven will be taking place December 10-26th, from 6-10 PM. The Festival of Lights needs your support, so bring your donations and spirit this holiday season.