Winterhaven

The annual Festival of Lights is back at Winterhaven celebrating its 65th year, and the Brown family is just one of the many families that take part in the festival every year. This year is extra special for the Brown’s–marking there 50th year of decorating.

“The remarkable thing about it…it’s a myth people think when you move in here you sign a contract….no you don’t. You are voluntarily decorating when you want,” Jeffrey Brown said.

Each year, for 50 years, the Brown family has come up with a new theme for decorating, and have compiled photographs of these themes for keepsake.

Shirley Brown remembered one year where the family put up decorations honoring the military.

“…A lady had lost her husband but she felt that she had to bring her children to enjoy it,” Shirley said. “It’s things like that where we can make someone happy or relieve them a little bit.”

This year, the Brown family plans to string golden lights around the house and set up portraits to represent each year–in honor of the 50 golden years they’ve spent decorating to bring joy to the community.

“You can touch someone’s life. You can do this. You can bring this home with you—this concept—and you can celebrate living and life and the joy of being alive…uhm with your friends and neighbors. You know, putting up some lights.”

Every year the community votes on a house to win the CB Richards Grand Prize Award for best decorated house, and the Brown family has won 19 times.

“It’s an incredible sense of community,” Jordan Brown said.
The Browns were not the only family decorating and preparing for the festival. Outside, many families could be spotted decorating. In fact, the streets were already filled with lights but people said that it was just the groundwork for what’s to come next week.
The festival will begin at 6PM on Saturday and will continue until the 27th. There will be hayrides, trolleys, party bikes, and thousands upon thousands of lights.

Reporter Shannon Lilly
smlilly@email.arizona.edu

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