Holiday events in Queen Creek and surrounding areas

From light shows and winter wonderlands to New Year’s parties and flashlight hikes, venues in Queen Creek and the surrounding communities are offering a variety of holiday-themed events for all ages. Here are some of the family-friendly events:

(Special to the Independent/A Winter’s Dream San Tan Valley)

•A Winter’s Dream San Tan Valley: Features synchronized music and light shows from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly during the holidays at 37868 N. Bonnie Lane, off Pecan Creek Drive near Gantzel Road in San Tan Valley. Each is 20 minutes long. Organizers invite the public to park and enjoy the show. They are outside every Saturday night saying hi to everyone, according to their Facebook page. “We will have the fire going. Come roast a marshmallow,” they wrote on the page. “Be sure and bring your camera. We have fun wood cut-outs for the kids or the kids at heart. Falling snow. The smell off fresh baked pie fills the air.” They ask that people not park directly in front of the display. In addition, kids can write Santa and receive a letter back in the mail. Every letter Santa receives with a self-addressed, stamped envelope along with a $1 donation will get a personalized letter back straight from the North Pole. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page at A Winters Dream San Tan Valley.

The annual Winter Wonderland at Schnepf Farms returns with a variety of seasonal events, including sledding, ice skating and lighted holiday train rides. Visit schnepffarms.com for the schedule. (Special to the Independent/Schnepf Farms)

•Winter Wonderland on the Farm: All month in December at Schnepf Farms, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road. Admission to the farm and parking are free. Separate admission is required for many of the events. When visiting the farm in December there is something to do every day. Bonfires, ice skating, hayrides to the deer, a petting zoo, holiday lighted train rides and even drive-in movies. For more information, including hours and a schedule of events, visit www.schnepffarms.com or call 480-987-3100. Schnepf Farms will be open until 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, Dec. 24; closed Christmas Day, Dec. 25; and open until 10 p.m. New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31.

•Parents Night Out: 6-10 p.m., Friday, Dec. 29, at Multi-Generational Center, 1035 N. Idaho Road in Apache Junction. Parents can have a night out without the kids as Apache Junction Parks and Recreation hosts Winter Wonderland for ages 5-12. The cost is $8 per child or $4 per child with MGC membership. For more information, visit the parks and rec website at http://www.ajcity.net/111/Parks-Recreation.

•Family New Year’s at Schnepf Farms: 4-10 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 30, 24610 S. Rittenhouse Road in Queen Creek. Tickets start at $10; family passes are available. Ring in 2018 with the family enjoying amusement rides, a fireworks display, concerts, ice skating, bonfires, food trucks and more. Entertainment by James the Mormon, DJ Import and DJ Soloman. Holiday hayrides out to feed Santa’s deer and enjoy a musical living Christmas tree will take place Dec. 17-Jan. 3. Hours will be 5-8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The cost for the hayride is $3 per person. Visit to www.schnepffarms.com.

Who knows what wildlife will be watching when San Tan Mountain Regional Park offers its Festive Flashlight Hike Dec. 30? The hike presents a unique opportunity to see animals that might not be present during the day. (Special to the Independent/San Tan Mountain Regional Park)

•Festive Flashlight Walk: 7:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 30, at San Tan Mountain Regional Park, 6533 W. Phillips Road in Queen Creek. Spend the almost-last night of 2017 walking in the dark desert with family, friends and maybe even a coyote or two. Walkers and rangers will stroll along the trails checking high and low for bats, owls, bugs and any flash of eyes in the darkness. To celebrate the end of year, walkers are welcome to add some pizzazz to the evening by wearing festive clothing and bringing glow sticks. This family-friendly walk will be just over a mile long. Meet at the flag pole. For more information, call the park at 480-655-5554 or visit https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/san-tan-mountain-regional-park/.

•New Year’s Eve Party: 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., Sunday, Dec. 31, at Sahara Banquet Hall, 918 W. Southern Ave. in Mesa. Attend a New Year’s Eve party featuring features food, cash bar, a deejay, door prizes and a champagne toast to the new year. Must be 21 and up. Tickets are $50. Proceeds benefit Elizabeth Mae Eaddy Organization dedicated to providing an educational and support program for teens and young adult victims of dating/domestic abuse. Go to: Eventbrite and search for New Years Eve Party Wonderland in the Desert.

•New Year’s Day Brunch at the Olive Mill: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 1, at Queen Creek Olive Mill, 25062 S. Meridian Road in Queen Creek. Free admission for this family- and pet-friendly event. A special brunch menu will be served all day. There will be live music and games in the grove. Blankets and chairs are welcome; however, no outside food or beverages will be allowed. Reservations are not necessary. For more information, visit www.queencreekolivemill.com or call 480-888-9290.

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