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Downtown Tempe Cancels 2020 Fantasy of Lights Parades, Modified Tempe Festival of the Arts Will Continue
By Lisa Padilla - Wednesday Oct 14, 2020
The Downtown Tempe Authority is reinventing the holiday season in downtown Tempe.

"Unfortunately, changes to our fall and winter events are inevitable considering the ongoing pandemic. It saddens us to announce that our 2020 Fantasy of Lights Opening Night Parade and Boat Parade are cancelled. While we know these events are important to the community, these decisions were made with an abundance of caution as the parades do not allow for a free-flowing atmosphere and do not encourage social distancing. "

“We are disheartened by the cancellation of these beautiful parades and realize this will impact our downtown merchants,” Kate Borders, Executive Director of the Downtown Tempe Authority, said. “But this decision was not taken lightly as we know how important these parades are to the community. We only want to produce events that demonstrate our commitment to quality safety.”

"We fully expect to bring back these holiday parades in 2021."

Downtown Tempe Live!

Never fret, the holiday cheer will go on! Mill Avenue is lit up and decked out for the season and we are excited to announce the NEW “Downtown Tempe Holiday Special,” sponsored by Edward Jones.

This live-streamed event invites viewers to tune into Facebook Live on Thanksgiving night at 7 p.m. to enjoy holiday tunes and warm messages from Tempe Mayor Corey Woods, Tempe City Council members, a special guest from the North Pole, and a wonderful surprise we are sure the community will enjoy!

Follow the official Downtown Tempe Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages for updates and notifications.

During this holiday special and continually on the website, there will be a special link for viewers to donate to the Tempe Community Action Agency. The organization hopes to raise $10,000 for their hunger relief program. It is our responsibility to give back to our community during hard times and especially this holiday season.

Tempe Festival of the Arts

On Dec. 4-6, downtown Tempe will host a modified version of the 52nd Annual Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts.

This festival will look different from previous years but the focus will remain on providing a variety of quality art and food in a socially distant environment. As the event takes over the entirety of downtown Tempe, there is an abundance of room for social distancing in the 10 block footprint.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue with this fall’s festival,” Borders said. “With the support of the City, we are working around the clock to ensure this festival is as safe and enjoyable as possible.”

'In addition to our 300 artists, there will be dozens of food options scattered through the downtown area. Food remains one of the most popular features of the event! This year, we will have options such as Dole Whip, steamed buns, a Mediterranean food truck, kettle corn and so much more!'

Changes to the Festival

Wine or beer vendors will not be featured on the street this year. All attendees are encouraged to visit our downtown Tempe merchants for drinks and eats as they can use all the support they can get during these difficult times.

Additionally, there will be no programming elements such as the Kid’s Block activation, Young Artists Exhibition or have any live entertainment, including local performers, face painting, or balloon artists.

This is an open-air event and takes place in an extremely large footprint. In addition, the vendor tents will be spread out to at least 6 ft. apart, allowing for increased social distancing between artists and attendees.

Patrons will still have access to a limited number of tables and chairs. There will be a dedicated staff member present to clean and sanitize all tables and chairs after they are used.

Over the course of all three days, all staff members, artists, vendors and security are encouraged to check their temperature and health before coming to the festival. Furthermore, DTA will be taking daily temperature checks for all participants and will be issuing colored wristbands per day to identify those that have complied with safety protocols.

All vendors are required to have hand sanitizer in their booths and are encouraging all vendors to clean and sanitize their booths frequently and ensure physical distancing in their spaces. For attendees, there will be multiple hand sanitizing stations throughout the festival footprint.

The mask mandate by the City of Tempe and Maricopa County will be enforced and masks will be available for those without one at the Information Booth, located at 4th Street and Mill Avenue.

All health authority and agency guidelines will be followed for all downtown Tempe events. Please note, every local regulating body may be determining protocols differently than other neighboring authorities. Please visit, for more detailed guidelines and precautions as they relate to the Tempe Festival of the Arts.

Provided by Jazmine Reyes