/ Modified jan 6, 2014 8:31 a.m.

Winterhaven: Tucson Holiday Tradition for 63 Years

Festival of Lights through Dec. 28 allows residents to share seasonal spirit with community; food donations sought.

(VIDEO: AZPM)

The Winterhaven Festival of Lights is open for public viewing for the 63rd holiday season.

The festival opened last weekend and will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night through Dec. 28. Drive-through viewing will be allowed on Dec. 27 and 28.

The festival was originated by C.B. Richards, who developed Winterhaven on Tucson's near north side.

Richards' donation of a string of outdoor Christmas lights and several Aleppo pine trees purchased from a local nursery in 1949 became the basis for the annual celebration.

Only once did the residents of Winterhaven vote to cancel the December lighting displays, in response to the national energy crisis in the 1970s.

Visitors to the festival are asked to bring a nonperishable food item or cash to donate to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Last year, the food bank reported donations of more than $20,000 and 33,000 pounds of food from visitors to the Festival of Lights.

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