Tempe is the place to be this holiday season


Glittering holiday parade
Enjoy the beauty of the season amid the lights of the Mill Avenue District at the 2012 Fantasy of Lights Opening Night Parade. More than 50,000 people are expected to attend this free annual event, which starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24.
The parade steps off at Third Street and Mill Avenue, and proceeds south to Seventh Street, ending at the Centerpoint Plaza, where a festively decorated tree awaits ceremonial lighting. The parade includes as many as 40 units, including floats, balloons, clowns, marching bands, and the arrival of Santa Claus. Following the parade, Santa takes a seat to hear gift requests and take photos. Families, neighborhoods and groups are invited to enter the parade with floats, bands, marching units, equestrian units and other novelty marching units. For more information, visit www.downtowntempe.com and click on Fantasy of Lights under the Events tab.

Unique holiday gifts
Arizona’s finest art and craft show and a Valley tradition for 44 years, the Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts will welcome nearly 400 artisans and more than 200,000 visitors during its fall run on Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe. The festival will be Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free.
Attendees can enjoy live entertainment, kids’ activities, street entertainers, great food and wine and microbrewery specialties. Visit the festival information booth at Fifth Street and Mill Avenue for a complete vendor listing and festival map. For more information, visit www.tempefestivalofthearts.com.
Festive vessels
Light up the night and be dazzled at the Valley’s most unique holiday event: the Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade Presented by SRP at Tempe Town Lake. Head to Tempe Beach Park, at Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway, on Saturday, Dec. 8. Admission is free for spectators. The event opens at 5 p.m., while Santa Claus arrives at 6 p.m. and the parade begins at 7 p.m. Begun in 1999, the Boat Parade will feature as many as 50 festively lit boats of all sizes. After dark, more than 1,000 luminarias will illuminate the sidewalks and paths of Tempe Beach Park in a special display provided by Tempe South Rotary. Fireworks will conclude the light-filled night. For more information, visit www.downtowntempe.com and click on Fantasy of Lights under the Events tab.

Stay up-to-date on street restrictions and bus detours
Now that the cooler weather is here, Tempe comes alive with special events and football games, which have impacts on traffic flows and bus routes. In addition, crews regularly work on repairing and improving streets and water lines. That’s why Tempe encourages residents and visitors to get up-to-date information about major street restrictions/closures and bus detours within Tempe. You can get information by:
• Signing up to receive emails at www.tempe.gov/enews
• Following us on Twitter or Facebook
• Checking our web site at www.tempe.gov/streetclosures

Before you head out the door, plan ahead by checking these resources and you can get where you’re going faster and easier.

Call for 2013 Neighbor of the Year Award nominations
Tempe is full of residents, civic organizations and businesses that help strengthen the community through neighborhood outreach and involvement. Now is your chance to publicly recognize and thank them. The annual Neighborhood Awards presents the perfect opportunity to honor: residents who put the “neighbor” in our neighborhoods; properties that contribute to neighborhoods through renovations, improvement projects, impeccable maintenance or holiday décor; and residents who recognize alleys behind their homes are their responsibility and keep them neat and tidy.
Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. Dec. 3. For more information or to obtain a nomination form, visit www.tempe.gov/neighborhoods or contact the city’s Neighborhood Services Division at 480-350-8234 or neighborhoods@tempe.gov.
The Neighbor of the Year Awards will be presented by Mayor and Council at the start of the 2013 Neighborhood Workshop, a free morning event to be held April 13, 2013, at the Tempe History Museum, 809 E. Southern Ave. from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Save the date and look for additional workshop details in an upcoming issue of Tempe Today.

Tempe offers professional counseling
For more than 25 years, Tempe residents have been able to seek help for everything from depression and grief to domestic violence and relationship problems by taking advantage of the city’s counseling program. Tempe employs licensed professional counselors and Master’s level counselors for this confidential service.
Services are available for individuals, couples and families who are not eligible for counseling through their health insurance or AHCCCS. Fees are $5 to $40 per session based on family size and income. The program’s offices are on the second floor of the Tempe Public Library, 3500 S. Rural Rd. For more information or to make an appointment, call Social Services at 480-350-5400.


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