Holidays in Our Hometown Verrado

Related Categories: Community Amenities | Special Events

Snowball“Honey, smile for the camera! No wait, look out behind you!” Snowball fight!! Is this really happening in Buckeye, AZ?

Sure is! Hometown Holidays events in Verrado are a coveted tradition families looks forward to every year. It’s like celebrating the holidays with all your friends and neighbors in one place, and nobody has to clean their house. Having had all of their holidays in the Phoenix area, I’m not sure my kids would know what a white Christmas was if it wasn’t for the tradition of Summit Community Church bringing in the Snow Summit every year for the kids to build their snowmen in Verrado. Frosty is no longer a figment of their imagination, he is our frozen friend.

On the first night of our month long Hometown Holidays, we welcome December by lighting an amazing town tree that makes the holidays come alive, we roast marshmallows for s’mores in the heart of town square, take a tractor pulled, festive hayride, ride a pony, give our wish list to Santa, collect special gifts from local merchants, catch performances by our resident talent, and play reindeer games all while sipping on delicious hot chocolate. Cuz Baby, it’s cold outside (well, sometimes it is here in December).

Verrado’s Community Engagement Manager, Jaime Gonzales, has been coordinating this tradition for us since its inception. When the snow settled, I got a moment to ask her what these more than ten years has meant to her:

“The Tree Lighting Celebration is one of our most charming nights in Verrado, as the entire community gathers together to celebrate the magic of the holiday season. Children and adults, alike, join in holiday traditions and partake in tasty treats, while greeting and exchanging pleasantries amongst our dedicated businesses and organizations who offer memorable all-ages experiences along our lit-up Main Street and Village Green park. After more than 10 years, we must be approaching a total of 15,000 cups of hot chocolate and marshmallows consumed on this one night. The buzz in the air may not just be from the joy and spirit of community; perhaps a little sugar helps too!”

While snowbirds flock to Verrado to escape their “other” home’s blustery winters, our children run excitedly into the 15 tons of snow hosted by Summit Community Church. Our talented hometown directors at Anderson Institute of Music and Performing Arts and their students, along with our school choirs and bands perform seasonal sing-along, toe-tapping favorites from the stage. Each year, a special group who has made a difference in our community is selected to flip the switch and ceremonially light the big tree for the first time each season. It’s my favorite moment of the night – as I hold my breath hoping the tree lights up without hesitation, as well as waiting for the roar of the “oohs and ahs” from the thousands of attendees staring and smiling in wonder at our 40-foot tree all dressed up for the occasion.

It’s been pure joy to be a part of the collective team that has helped turned this event into a holiday season tradition. Happy holidays to you and yours!

This December-long hometown tradition wouldn’t be Very Verrado if it didn’t involve giving back as well. Each year, day two of our Hometown Holidays brings residents to the Verrado Golf Club bearing gifts for Buckeye children in need. Piles of toys, diapers, clothes and food from Verrado neighbors fill the ballroom and surround the tree while we listen to the beautiful sounds of holiday choir music, munch on donuts and hot chocolate, make sure Santa is double checking his list, and decorate our own special ornament.

Our family tree now has ten of these special ornaments, and we look forward to increasing that number every year our family grows up here. This is the magical stuff that memories are made of!

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