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  • 🎅 Experience the Magic of the Holidays at Vertuccio Farms' Light Extravaganza, and More!

🎅 Experience the Magic of the Holidays at Vertuccio Farms' Light Extravaganza, and More!

Issue #66 - December 18, 2023

🎅 Experience the Magic of the Holidays at Vertuccio Farms' Light Extravaganza

🚆 ADOT's Passenger Rail Revival Plan Omits Gilbert Stop, Focuses on Other Valley Cities

💰 Funding Dilemma: Gilbert Weighs Options for $1 Billion in Capital Projects

🎈 Discover Local Events Coming Soon

And more…

Experience the Magic of the Holidays at Vertuccio Farms' Light Extravaganza

In December, Vertuccio Farms in Mesa becomes a hub of holiday festivities with its "Lights at the Farm" event, now in its sixth year. Located at 4011 S. Power Road, the 10-acre farm transforms into a vibrant holiday destination, illuminated by five million synchronized lights, set to the tunes of classic seasonal songs.

Cono Vertuccio, the Chief Farming Officer, emphasizes that the event is more than just a light show; it's an experience filled with magic and memories for visitors of all ages. The farm features Santa Claus, who will be available from December 15-23 for family photos, letter sharing, and participating in holiday crafts. Additional attractions include a petting zoo, s'mores, skating on a 4,000-square-foot synthetic NHL-grade ice-like surface, hot cocoa, and other farm-style fun activities.

The light display is accompanied by a concert-level audio system with 85 speakers, creating a fully immersive holiday atmosphere. The farm offers a range of activities, including a dazzling light tunnel, giant ornaments, a display themed around the 12 Days of Christmas, and various other festive decorations.

Beyond the lights, visitors can enjoy numerous activities such as a holiday craft barn, a patriotic salute to America and Nativity displays, a giant tire climb, petting zoo, ping pong, miniature golf, cornhole, giant Jenga, pony rides, and fire pits. For those seeking treats and warm beverages, over 75 vendors at the Candy Cane Lane and Sweet shops will cater to all cravings.

"Lights at the Farm" is more than an entertainment venue; it aligns with Vertuccio Farms' mission to offer a family-friendly, educational, and fun experience. It draws approximately 75,000 visitors annually, contributing significantly to the farm's role in the Mesa and Central Arizona community. The event fosters a connection with farming, animals, and the natural world, while also providing a relaxing and entertaining environment.

As noted by Vertuccio, the farm during this event turns into a winter wonderland, offering an abundance of fun and holiday spirit.

Lights on the Farm

Where: 4011 S. Power Road, Mesa.

When: Through Dec. 30. Closed Dec. 11,12, 24 and 25.

Times: 5:30-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

Tickets: $15-18 per person, 2 years of age and under are free.

Parking: Free.

ADOT's Passenger Rail Revival Plan Omits Gilbert Stop, Focuses on Other Valley Cities

Gilbert is not included as a stop in the recent plans to potentially revive passenger rail service between Tucson and Buckeye. This development follows the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) receiving a $500,000 Federal Railroad Administration grant, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to explore the feasibility of reestablishing Amtrak service between the Phoenix metro area and Tucson. Additionally, ADOT has allocated $3.5 million in state funds towards this planning effort.

The topic of rail transit became a point of contention in Gilbert last fall. The Town Council faced considerable opposition from residents during council meetings when it considered a study on potential commuter stations in the town, specifically in the Cooley Station area and the Heritage District. Many residents opposed the idea, often confusing light rail with heavier passenger rail. Consequently, the council decided to table the study.

Gilbert has historically opposed the concept of light rail as being unsuitable for the town. In March, the Gilbert Town Council passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of town funds for activities related to establishing light rail within Gilbert. However, the ordinance did not address the issue of heavier passenger rail, like the one ADOT is considering.

Despite these discussions, Gilbert has not actively engaged in the development of the proposed rail corridor. A town statement clarified that Gilbert has neither advocated for nor against a rail stop within its boundaries and does not plan to engage in discussions on this matter.

The proposed corridor intends to restore service on an existing alignment used by Amtrak until 1997 when the Sunset Limited route was redirected through Maricopa. The corridor would follow the same route as the current Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle between Picacho and Tucson.

The proposed rail service, which would operate at speeds between 79 and 125 mph primarily on existing rail alignments shared with freight and/or commuter rail, includes planned stops at Tucson, Marana, Coolidge, Queen Creek, Tempe, Sky Harbor Airport, downtown Phoenix, Goodyear-Avondale, and Buckeye. The Union Pacific Railroad line running through Gilbert is currently dedicated to freight rail.

Funding Dilemma: Gilbert Weighs Options for $1 Billion in Capital Projects

Gilbert is facing the need to finance over $1 billion in capital projects for parks, police, and fire services amidst aging infrastructure and a growing community.

The Town Council, in a recent workshop, discussed funding options like bonding and sales tax increases. With limited revenue sources, the council considered various strategies, including a hybrid approach combining a bond with a sales tax hike.

Mayor Brigette Peterson expressed concerns about the likelihood of public support for these measures, suggesting the need for a balanced and prioritized approach.

Peacock Wine & Book Bar

Schnepf Farms

Archer’s Bikes

Pixie Sticks Boutique

Romeo’s Euro Café

Sip & Shop

Spotlight Your Business!

Would you like us to spotlight your local business in front of thousands of Gilbert area residents in an upcoming issue of Gilbert Thrive?

We ❤️ Local Businesses!
We know our community is brimming with businesses that have fascinating stories and big hearts. If you're a local business owner making waves, crafting unique experiences, or simply putting a smile on our faces, we want to chat with you! Gilbert Thrive is eager to shine a light on the unsung heroes of our town. Let's collaborate and let the community know what makes your business special. Send us a message, and let's celebrate the spirit of Gilbert together!

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Ongoing Events

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