TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in downtown Tucson.
Thousands lined the streets Saturday night for the 24th Annual Parade of Lights and Festival as it rolled through the core of downtown.
“We came early this year so that we didn’t have to deal with the traffic and so we weren’t sitting behind everybody this year,” said Danielle McPherson, who claimed her spot with her sister on a street corner about an hour before the parade began.
McPherson said the parade has been a nearly twenty year tradition during the holiday season.
“I’ve come in the wind, I’ve come when it was freezing," said McPherson. "Yes. If I can be here, I’m here.”
The fun started in the afternoon as families filled Jacome Plaza for a festival full of food, music and snow. Yes, snow in the downtown Tucson.
“We’re desert rats out here so when it snows, everybody hurries up and goes to Mt. Lemon," said Paulina Roque. “It’s nice that they brought it out here.”
Roque’s eight-year-old son, Anthony, was enjoying a snowball fight as other children waited in line to sled down a small snow hill, thanks to the Tucson Roadrunners.
While the tradition has been going on for more than two decades, this was just the second year the route went through the core of the buildings and businesses.
Some spots usually closed on Saturdays, like Ike’s Cafe in the Pioneer Building, opted to open. Other businesses along the course, like Borderlands Brewing Company, prepared for the crowds. Others along the course, were ready for crowds.
“It’s great for business," said Courtney Fey, the general manager at the brewery on Toole Avenue. "Our bartenders love it. They love being busy and meeting people and we love to meet new people. It’s really exciting to see maybe someone who normally wouldn’t come downtown, they get to try our beer and maybe they are a lifelong customer. So, it’s awesome.”