By Sarah Nguyen
Not even a pandemic can stop the joys of the holiday season.
Moving into its fifth year, Scottsdazzle is back for another monthlong celebration from November 6 to December 21.
The holiday extravaganza will feature beloved annual events as well as new additions that will become new favorites of attendees.
Scottsdale’s director of tourism and events, Karen Churchard, says the festival was meticulously planned to evoke holiday cheer.
“Each event is designed to get guests into the spirit of the season in a purposeful way,” Churchard says.
Jackie Contaldo, the city’s downtown specialist of the tourism and events department, says the events were reimagined with social distancing in mind.
There will be quite a few surprises for those who are accustomed to the bustling crowds of prior years. The extravaganza will take steps to follow CDC and state health and safety guidelines.
“A majority of the events are limited to 50 guests or less and allow for social distancing between attendees,” Contaldo says.
Masks will be required when guests roam around the event space. They will not be required, however, when guests remain in their designated spot or space during an event.
For those who are still wary of attending public events, the city has shifted annual events to virtual formats, like the sing-along and the holiday tree lighting. Both will be free on November 28.
The Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market will have no admission fee. It’s held from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays during Scottsdazzle.
In addition to fresh local produce, guests can get holiday gift shopping done with various artisanal and craft products available. Holiday music will provide the soundtrack.
A few of the events will be ticketed due to the pandemic.
“This is due to limited spacing for each event,” Contaldo says. “Net proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Vista del Camino.”
Art lovers are encouraged to attend the unveiling of Canal Convergence, which runs from November 6 to November 15. Canal Convergence is a project dedicated to showcasing art installations that are dispersed throughout Old Town Scottsdale.
At the center of it is “Information Flow,” a piece created by Justin Winters and Walter Creations that will cover the expanse of the Arizona Canal at 200 feet. The installation will use interactive pressure pads that light up when activated. The glittering sight of lights reflected off the canal will remain a fixture throughout the entire duration of Scottsdazzle for guests to fully absorb and enjoy.
Small Business Saturday will be held November 28, when guests can enjoy various incentives that local restaurants and retailers are expected to offer.
Sip and savor the finest wines from participating wineries during the Santa Wine Around, a wine-tasting event on December 12. Attendees are encouraged to dress in holiday-themed attire or as their favorite holiday character. Due to the pandemic, there will be a limit on the number of guests.
Thursday, November 6, to Sunday, November 15
The city of Scottsdale and Scottsdale Public Art invite locals and visitors to get in the holiday spirit beginning as early as Thursday, November 6, with the unveiling of Canal Convergence, a project dedicated to amazing art installations located throughout Old Town information tower, where it is processed and redistributed through a light sequence performance.
Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market
8 a.m. to noon Saturdays from November 21 to December 19
The intersection of Brown Avenue and First Street becomes home to the weekly festive farmers market, featuring Scottsdazzle activities such as Letters to Santa and live holiday music to enjoy while shopping for artisan products, handmade gifts and crafts, and fresh produce.
Letters to Santa
Saturdays, November 21 and 28, December 5, and online
Even Santa is following contactless guidelines and getting techy by taking to the internet to receive children’s letters this holiday season. Parents and children can fill out and submit their letters to Santa via scottsdazzle.com anytime, or they can print their letter at home and “mail it” (no stamp required) at the Letters to Santa station at the Old Town Farmers Market on November 21 and 28 and December 5. Children will receive a letter back from Santa through the good old-fashioned mail.
6 to 9 p.m. Friday, November 27
The inaugural “Scottsdazzle Stroll” kicks off this year’s Scottsdazzle. Holiday revelers can usher in the season with a socially distanced stroll along the canal banks in Old Town Scottsdale to enjoy holiday vignettes, seasonal lighting, the Scottsdazzle tree, live entertainment and holiday characters. Before or after the stroll, attendees can drink and dine or start their holiday shopping.
Small Business Saturday
All day Saturday, November 28
On this day, residents and visitors are encouraged to Shop Scottsdale to help support independent businesses and boost the economy while also enjoying specials and sales.
Holiday Movie Night
Friday, December 4; Saturday, December 5; and Sunday, December 6
For three nights in a row, movie buffs can enjoy a favorite holiday hit—“The Santa Clause” on Friday, “Elf” on Saturday and “Home Alone” on Sunday. Held on the East Lawn at Scottsdale Civic Center, this new event allows groups of up to four their own designated space to enjoy festive flicks on a giant inflatable screen. By reservation for a nominal fee; groups of more than four must reserve additional spaces. Gate opens at 5 p.m.; movies begin at 6 p.m. Space is limited; online registration required.
Seasonal Charcuterie Teach & Taste
6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 9
Schmooze hosts this limited-attendance, socially distanced demonstration that showcases how to put together an artfully presented charcuterie board for intimate holiday gatherings at home this season. Attendees will receive their own prepackaged charcuterie kit to make at their table once seated as chef Tony Hamati demonstrates preparation and presentation tips. Patrons can purchase additional prepackaged charcuterie kits to take home or for gifts to friends. Parties will be seated together and spaced at least 6 feet apart from other guests. Space is limited; online registration required.
Gold Palette ArtWalk
6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, December 10
Scottsdale’s holiday-themed ArtWalk takes place throughout the Scottsdale Arts District, showcasing Old Town’s art galleries. Carolers and Santa visits are included.
The Dazzle of Historic Old Town
9 to 10 p.m. Saturday, December 12, and 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday, December 13
This new event will take participants back in time to explore the holiday traditions of Historic Old Town through the rediscovery of some of the area’s most beloved hidden gems. Following hour-long storytelling sessions, guests are encouraged to explore the map that will lead them to Old Town cherished treasures. Space is limited; online registration required.
Santa Wine Around
6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, December 12
This wine-tasting event returns with new safety guidelines and limited participants. Spirited attendees are encouraged to dress as their favorite holiday character and sip their way through Old Town Scottsdale’s participating wineries and tasting rooms at their own pace.
Merry Make & Take
11 a.m. to noon Saturday, December 12, and 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, December 13
The Mercantile of Scottsdale hosts two events including prepackaged supplies needed to create the craft along with a guided tutorial. During Saturday’s hour-long craft session guests will design and paint a wood ornament with which to “trim the tree,” and Sunday’s two-hour course leads attendees through making their own festive succulent terrarium. Space is limited; online registration required.
Festive Food Demonstration
2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, December 12
The Saguaro Scottsdale Hotel La Señora’s chef will lead guests through a demonstration on how to prepare elegant holiday food items featuring tips, tricks and recipes. Space is limited; online registration required.
8 to 9 a.m. Saturday, December 19, and Sunday, December 20
Rise and shine with two socially distanced Zen sessions on Marshall Way Bridge hosted by CorePower Yoga on Saturday and CA Yoga Barre on Sunday. Spaces are limited; online reservations required.
Sparkle & Spin ScavengerHunt
10 a.m. to noon Saturday, December 19, and Sunday, December 20
Participants must find objects as they spin their way through Old Town for this seasonal scavenger hunt and advance toward the finish line to submit their results. Participants must register online.
Holly Jolly Painting Party
1 to 4 p.m. Saturday December 19, and Sunday, December 20
This socially distanced painting party is on the Marshall Way Bridge. Hosted in partnership with The Brush Bar, participants will receive their own personal supply kit, used to create a fun holiday-themed painting to take home. Online preregistration is required.
Sun Salutations Yoga
11 a.m. to noon Monday, December 21
In honor of the 10th anniversary of the Soleri Bridge, The Foundry hosts a socially distanced serene yoga session that aligns with the Winter Solstice as the sun shines through the pylons on the Soleri Bridge Plaza. Registration required.