Sugarland debut downtown kicks of holiday season here - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Sugarland debut downtown kicks of holiday season here

November 22nd, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Sugarland debut downtown kicks of holiday season here

By Ken Sain
Managing Editor

Downtown Chandler is known for its bars and restaurants, filling the night air with live music and fun. There are other businesses, however.

The new executive director of the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership said Sugarland is for them, offering giant treats as a lure to help retail and service businesses.

“Our tagline is going to be, ‘Give Authentic, Shop Local,’ highlighting more retail service and experience,” said Rebecca Hill, partnership executive director and president. “We spend a lot of time highlighting the bars and restaurants. We want to give the other businesses some love too.”

Hill is only a couple of months into her new job. She previously was the executive director for Power Ranch HOA in Gilbert, a community with 20,000 residents.

She said they timed the debut of this year’s Sugarland for Small Business Saturday On Nov. 26 to encourage residents to do some holiday shopping downtown.

Hill said she was surprised by the number of service businesses there are downtown, including barbers, salons and a gym.

Sugarland is just the first of a number of holiday events. Chandler’s Parade of Lights is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3.

Last year the parade returned after being shut down because of the pandemic. Hermelinda Llamas, Chandler’s special events coordinator, said there were a lot of smiles.

“They were ecstatic they were able to get out there and be around other people,” Llamas said. “The community was just that, a community. They realized that they missed it.”

Last year there were fewer floats, about three dozen. This year 44 floats are expected to dazzle fans.

The parade starts at 6:45 p.m. The lighting ceremony for the Tumbleweed Christmas Tree is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Llamas said there is one new wrinkle to the holidays this year. They have made a slight change to Santa’s house, which will allow more family members to get into the photo.

Previously, only a child or two could have their photo taken with Santa. With the change they made they say most of the immediate family should be able to take their photo together with Saint Nick.

There will be entertainment for people who arrive early to get the best seats for the parade. Three dancing and singing groups are scheduled to perform starting at 4:30 p.m.

Llamas advises residents to check the road closure maps, arrive early, and use any of the parking garages in the area.

She said the city does work with the partnership on Sugarland, helping coordinate where the interactive candy displays go and providing them with whatever resources they need.

Hill said she expects some special guests for the Sugarland debut on Nov. 26.

“We’re just hoping to grow bigger and better each year and make it enjoyable for the kids,” Hill said. “You know, the parade and the lighting of the Christmas tree can get a bit hectic with thousands and thousands. This is more of an intimate, fun way to kick off the holiday season.”