Light up your life

The Arizona Republic - - Front Page - Wel­don B. John­son

The sim­ple bag of sand with a can­dle has un­der­gone some up­grades, but lu­mi­naria dis­plays re­main a part of Ari­zona’s warm hol­i­day tra­di­tion.

Lu­mi­nar­ias are among the sim­plest hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions, yet they’re among the most el­e­gant. Noth­ing says Christ­mas in the South­west quite like their gen­tle flick­er­ing glow.

The sim­ple bag of sand with a can­dle in­side has un­der­gone some up­grades to keep up with the times – some peo­ple use fire-re­sis­tant bags or bat­tery­pow­ered can­dles – but the lu­mi­naria re­mains a part of Ari­zona’s hol­i­day tra­di­tion.

Las Noches de las Lu­mi­nar­ias at Desert Botan­i­cal Gar­den in Phoenix is prob­a­bly the big­gest and best­known dis­play of lu­mi­nar­ias in Ari­zona, but there are other events through­out the state where you can get

in on the tra­di­tion.

Here are some of Ari­zona’s nicest lu­mi­naria dis­plays.

Phoenix: Las Noches de las Lu­mi­nar­ias

The Desert Botan­i­cal Gar­den will be il­lu­mi­nated up with more than 8,000 lu­mi­naria bags as guests walk along the path­ways and see the lights through­out the gar­den. Visitors also can take in the vi­brant “Elec­tric Desert: A Light and Sound Ex­pe­ri­ence by Klip Col­lec­tive.” There will be live per­for­mances and great photo op­por­tu­ni­ties.

De­tails: 5:30-9:30 p.m. Dec. 1-23 and 26-31. Desert Botan­i­cal Gar­den, 1201 N. Galvin Park­way, Phoenix. $34.95$39.95; $15.95 for ages 3-12; free for age 2 and younger. dbg.org/events.

Gil­bert: Ri­par­ian Af­ter Dark

Ex­pe­ri­ence the Ri­par­ian Pre­serve at Wa­ter Ranch af­ter dark, when about 800 lu­mi­nar­ias will line the walk­ways. There also will be live en­ter­tain­ment, re­fresh­ments and more dec­o­ra­tions. Each night Gil­bert part­ners with a lo­cal non­profit agency to help peo­ple in need, so do­na­tions are en­cour­aged. See the web­site for the part­ner or­ga­ni­za­tions and their needs for each night.

De­tails: 5:30-9 p.m. Dec. 8, 14-15 and 21-22. Ri­par­ian Pre­serve at Wa­ter Ranch Lake, 2757 E. Guadalupe Road, Gil­bert. Free. 480-503-6871, www.gilber­taz.gov.

Se­dona: Fes­ti­val of Lights

This lively hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tion fea­tures mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment, a visit from jolly St. Nick, free cider and 6,000 flick­er­ing lu­mi­nar­ias adorn­ing the court­yards and walk­ways of Tlaque­paque shop­ping vil­lage. Spe­cially des­ig­nated lu­mi­nar­ias to honor can­cer sur­vivors can be pur­chased in Pa­tio del Norte.

De­tails: 3-8 p.m. Satur­day, Dec. 8. Tlaque­paque Arts & Crafts Vil­lage, 336 State Route 179, Se­dona. Free. tlaq.com.

Tuc­son: Hol­i­day Nights at To­hono Chul

A mil­lion lights drape saguaros, ocotil­los and paloverde trees while lu­mi­nar­ias guide visitors along path­ways through the park. Sea­sonal mu­sic adds to the fes­tive at­mos­phere, food is served in the Gar­den Bistro and shops are open for those look­ing for spe­cial gift items.

De­tails: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 8, 14 and 15. To­hono Chul Botan­i­cal Gar­dens & Gallery, 7366 Paseo del Norte, Tuc­son. $16, $3 for age 12 and younger. 520-7426455, www.to­honochul­park.org.

Tuc­son: Lu­mi­naria Nights

Tuc­son Botan­i­cal Gar­dens will glow with more than 2,500 can­dle-lit lu­mi­nar­ias and more than 20 Korean lanterns. Enjoy mu­si­cal per­for­mances each night, and sam­ple sea­sonal food and drink at Cafe Botan­ica as well as at some of Tuc­son’s most pop­u­lar food trucks.

De­tails: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 8-9. Tuc­son Botan­i­cal Gar­dens, 2150 N. Alver­non Way. $18, $9 for chil­dren. tuc­son­b­otan­i­cal.org.

Tonto Na­tional Mon­u­ment

Hike along the Lower Cliff Dwelling trail as lu­mi­nar­ias flicker in the evening. Bring wa­ter and a head­lamp or flash­light. Wear sturdy shoes and warm clothes.

De­tails: 6-9 p.m. Satur­day, Dec. 15. Tonto Na­tional Mon­u­ment, 26260 State Route 188, Roo­sevelt. Free. 928467-2241, www.nps.gov/tont.

Flagstaff: Lu­mi­naria Stroll

The side­walks of charm­ing down­town Flagstaff will be lined with thou­sands of lu­mi­nar­ias for this third an­nual event. Members of the Master Cho­rale of Flagstaff will be out carol­ing.

De­tails: 5-8 p.m. Tues­day, Dec. 18. Down­town Flagstaff. Free. 928-2752655, www.down­town­flagstaff.org.

Lu­mi­naria Nights at Tuc­son Botan­i­cal Gar­dens. TUC­SON BOTAN­I­CAL GAR­DENS

Las Noches de las Lu­mi­nar­ias dis­play at Desert Botan­i­cal Gar­den in Phoenix.

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