Scottsdale for the holidays

The eye-popping Scottsdazzle displays are brightening up downtown Scottsdale for the holidays.

Scottsdazzle has returned to scale for this holiday season and that’s good news for local businesses and citizens looking to get in the holiday spirit. 

The festival, which began Saturday with a grand tree lighting ceremony and holiday sing along at the banks of the Scottsdale Waterfront, kicked off a month of festivities across Old Town Scottsdale. 

“The beauty of participating in Scottsdazzle is that people are supporting all these businesses who have had a rough go of it for the past 18 months or so,” said Susie Timm, a spokeswoman for the organizers. “This is a chance to have dinner, go to the events and then browse for presents or stocking stuffers.” 

One of the new ways Scottsdazzle is promoting shop local is through the opportunity to score one of five $250 American Express gift cards. To win those, customers must upload a receipt of at least $25 spent at an Old Town shop.

For every $25 spent at those stores before Christmas Day, customers will receive an entry to win a gift card. 

Additionally, businesses have been encouraged to put on their own events and join larger events. 

“We look to our partners with businesses in the community to put on their own events and we have a series of signature events as well,” said Timm. 

Local businesses will host small events throughout the month, offering discounts if customers mention the celebration. 

Those businesses also will participate in large events like the Scottsdazzle Stroll – which will happen every Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. or the Dec. 9 Gold Palette Artwalk that will present works along Main Street and Marshall Way. 

“The goal is to drive business and eyeballs into Scottsdale while convincing people to eat, drink, shop and be merry in Scottsdale throughout December,” Timm said. 

While last year’s Scottsdazzle were small or “micro-events,” they proved successful and have made a way into this year’s event lineup. 

“We’ve definitely had to even flow this year,” Timm said. “In 2020, we had to change a lot of our signature events, which is how we came up with the idea for micro-events. We wanted to have opportunities for people to socially distance while having holiday fun.” 

With the return of those large events comes some new ones as well.

One is the Holiday Winemaker Dinner on 5th Avenue Dec. 2 featuring a three-course dinner prepared and presented by Merkin Vineyards Executive Chef Steve Zimmerman. The evening ends with a live auction of two wine experiences from LDV Winery and Merkin Vineyards with all proceeds going to support the Southwest Wine Center

Another event to circle on the calendar is the first ever “Ho-Ho-Hoedown” Dec. 5 at the OldTown Scottsdale Rodeo Museum, 3806 N. Brown Ave. with food provided by The Mission and live country music by the Pandy Ray Trio. 

“We do recommend that if there is something you like to sign up sooner rather than later,” Timm said. 

The City of Scottsdale has made sure Scottsdazzle had a big enough budget to think big and draw big.

City Council earmarked over $3 million to draw people to Old Town this year, including $1.7 million for big events like Scottsdazzle. 

“We spend a large amount of money to ensure that we have beautiful decor and lights all throughout Old Town,” Timm said. “It definitely brings that spirit into Scottsdale and helps people get into that holiday mood.” 

The event will likely draw a crowd from winter visitors but it will also serve as an entertaining way to soak in the holiday spirit for year-long residents as well. 

“It drives people from outside of Arizona but it is also really fun for residents as well,” Timm said. “We have quite a nice number of recurring attendees who live locally but we also work with hotels in Scottsdale to spread the word.” 

Overall, Timm is excited for the promise of this year’s festivities and hopes to see shops and restaurants full of delighted customers. 

“We do hope that people will use Scottsdazzle as a mechanism to get all their shopping done and get merry and bright with their community,” she said.