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Culture Local Events Outdoor recreation Things to Do

Cornhole League Fall Season Wrapping Up

The Fountain Hills Cornhole League has been a huge hit this fall, and there are only a few weeks left until the December 15th Final Tournament.

This is the first year of the Cornhole League, and it has turned out to be quite a successful experiment over the past few months. The spring season went mostly without a hitch, but this fall season has undoubtedly been a major win for outdoor recreation in Fountain Hills.

According to Fountain Hills Parks and Rec coordinator Kade Nelson, nightly participation at the Fountain Hills Cornhole League has ranged between 20 and 30 players.

The players have been engaging in weekly tournament-style games, perfecting their skills in preparation for the final competition on the evening of December 15th.

Feel free to head over to Desert Vista Park that evening, beginning at 6:00 PM, to be a part of the audience for this final set of matches. It’s sure to be a night to remember in the history of Fountain Hills sports.

Interested in joining the Cornhole League? Their spring season is set to begin on February 16th, 2022. Go to fountainhillsaz.gov to see more information about the end of the fall Cornhole Season and to check for developments on the specifics for the Spring 2022 Cornhole Season.

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Community Engagement Culture Local Events Things to Do

The 2021 Season’s Celebration Set for 12/18

There are several stages of festivities in the Fountain Hills Holiday Season. First, there’s the Thanksgiving Parade and the Turkey Trot, then there’s the Stroll in the Glow, and finally, there’s the Season’s Celebration.

On December 18th, the Fountain Hills Community Center will once again be home to the Season’s Celebration.

Many fun activities, both for kids and parents, will be set up inside and around the community center.

These include a Hot Cocoa Bar, live music performed by the Fountain Hills Saxophone Quartet, a photo-op with “Dancing” Santa, a miniature train ride, and other activities for kids outside.

The Community Center is already fully decked out for the holidays, with massive Christmas Trees covered in lights, tinsel, and other merry decorations. If you’re not already in the holiday mood, the Season’s Celebration will surely get you there.

The Season’s Celebration, which is sponsored by the Sonoran Lifestyle Team at RE/MAX Sun Properties, will go from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM on December 18th, 2021. For more information, check out the Desert Vibe Community Calendar.

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Desert Plants and Wildlife Yard and Garden

Desert Plant Care Tips for the Fall

Now that the days of 100+ degrees are well behind us for the year, it’s time to get your plants prepared for everything the cool season has to offer. Many of your plants are ready for fertilizer, minerals, and a good trimming. Just be thoughtful of which plants you’re giving a spa day to; not everybody needs the same amount of care this time of year. Read on to see some tips for keeping your plants happy as the seasons change.

Trimming

The fall is a great time to give a good trimming to many landscape plants. It’s usually not a good idea to trim your plants too significantly when it’s hot outside. Trimming during the summer causes unneeded stress that can hurt and even kill them during especially hot or dry weeks. Once it’s fall, there’s a window of one or two months when the temperature is just right to make more radical moves with your plants. If the high temperatures are in the 70’s and 80’s, it’s time to take action.

Fertilizing

Not every plant in your yard should be fertilized in the fall, although it’s a much better idea to fertilize plants in the fall than in the summer. In the heat of the summer, most fertilizers, especially inorganic ones, can burn the root systems of plants and do more harm than good. By November, this isn’t a problem anymore. Many of your trees and bushes are ready for a dose.

Before fertilizing, you need to know whether or not your tree loses its leaves in the winter. If it does, then you shouldn’t fertilize it any time after the last week of October. If you fertilize a tree while it’s trying to shed its leaves for the winter, you’ll hurt the tree’s ability to prep for the winter. The tree could then be more vulnerable to damage during early frosts. If you think your tree really needs a boost after a hard summer, then you can choose an organic plant food that contains micronutrients like iron, manganese, calcium, and boron. Superthrive and Azomite are both solid options for this.

Watering

As the weather cools, you also need to pay attention to the irrigation. Overwatering is much more of an issue during the cool season than during the hot season, so be mindful. To see how you should be watering at any given time of year, visit WaterUseItWisely.com and click on “Landscape Watering by the Numbers” for a great guide.

The plants are just as relieved as you are that the heat is over for the year. Just make sure you take the right steps to do more good than harm. Every type of plant requires different specific care. So, if you’re confused, you can consult a professional and do some research of your own at extension.arizona.edu/Maricopa.

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About Fountain Hills Community Engagement Culture Local Businesses Local Events Things to Do Uncategorized

How Fountain Hills Got Its Thanksgiving Parade

Fountain Hills is home to the largest Thanksgiving Day Parade in the southwestern United States. Not too long ago, it was home to the only Thanksgiving Day Parade west of the Mississippi. If you’ve lived in town for a while, you may take this for granted. How did this holiday tradition begin?

History of La Parada de los Cerros

The story began when E.J. Goodwin and her family moved from Detroit, Michigan to Fountain Hills, Arizona in the early 1980s. Back then, Detroit was known for having a huge Thanksgiving Parade.

So, when the Goodwins moved to town, they were shocked to realize that there were no Thanksgiving Parades anywhere within a thousand-mile radius. Soon after moving in, Mrs. Goodwin asked the Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce if she could start one. They said no, but she persisted.

Eventually, the Chamber of Commerce agreed to try out the Thanksgiving Parade idea for Thanksgiving 1984. They declared its official name “La Parada de Los Cerros,” which is Spanish for “The Parade of the Hills.”

The parade was a huge success, and it became an official tradition of Fountain Hills that continues to expand to this day. In fact, as of 2019, the Fountain Hills Parada de Los Cerros is still the second-largest Thanksgiving Parade in the United States. First place goes to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City.

This year’s Parade and Turkey Trot

This year’s Thanksgiving celebration begins with the Turkey Trot, the annual run and fitness walk. The Turkey Trot, an event sponsored by the Sonoran Lifestyle Team at RE/MAX Sun Properties, begins at 7:15 AM and ends at 9:00 AM, right as the parade begins.

The Thanksgiving Parade itself will go from 9:00 AM until around 10:30 AM. As usual, the floats will be cycling around the Town Center, beginning at the Fountain Lake and ending at the intersection of Parkview and La Montana.

It’s free to attend and the parking is free too, so come on down to watch the floats and embrace the festivities!

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Community Engagement Local Events Outdoor recreation Things to Do

The FH Senior Softball League is a Home Run This Year

For decades now, senior sports have been a consistent part of Fountain Hills culture. One of the longest-lasting of these traditions is the Fountain Hills Slow Pitch Senior Softball League.

The Senior Softball League meets up at Golden Eagle Park every Wednesday morning for three seven-week periods throughout the cool season. The Fall season just had its last day of games on the morning of December 15th.

Morning bracketed games on Wednesday mornings, tournaments at home and away on weekends, and casual pickup games on the occasional Tuesday and Thursday are all regular aspects of participation in the Softball League.

This season the league features four teams, but the organizers of the event, Fountain Hills Parks and Rec, have the capability to accommodate up to seven teams per season. Teams usually base themselves in Fountain Hills, but often come from Rio Verde, or even as far as Payson. The minimum age to participate is 65. The Winter season begins on January 5th and goes until March 9th. The Spring season begins a week later, on March 16th, and finishes for the summer on May 18th.

The Fountain Hills Senior Softball League is sponsored by the Town of Fountain Hills and the Sonoran Lifestyle Team at RE/MAX Sun Properties. If you have an interest in joining a team, or if you have a team and you’d like to join the league, check out fh.az.gov for more information.

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Community Engagement Local Businesses Non-profit Organizations

Mayor Dickey Creates Town Holiday for Dori Wittrig

Fountain Hills Mayor Ginny Dickey with Dori Wittrig

Back in September, Fountain Hills Mayor Ginny Dickey proclaimed September 15th to be “Fountain Hills Leadership Academy Day” in honor of the Sonoran Lifestyle Team’s own Dori Wittrig’s dedication to creating the organization over five years ago.

If you’ve been around Fountain Hills for a long time, you may have heard of the Fountain Hills Leadership Academy. What is the Leadership Academy, how did it form, and what does it do?

The Fountain Hills Leadership Academy is a yearly eight-week course that strives to turn active community members into even more active community leaders. The course provides an intense immersion into all of the town’s functions. Subjects span from governmental processes to community services to environmental management.

Graduates of the course have entered leadership roles throughout Fountain Hills. They sit on dozens of boards of local non-profit organizations, serve the Town in various roles, run PACs for local elections, serve on Town Council and the Sanitary District board, and more.

The Leadership Academy was founded in September of 2016 by a committee of the Fountain Hills Cultural & Civic Association members. This committee was led by the Sonoran Lifestyle Team’s Dori Wittrig. The inaugural course of 2016 produced 14 graduates. Since then, over 60 more Fountain Hills residents graduated from the Academy.

Dori’s creation has been such a success over these past few years that Mayor Dickey felt it warranted the creation of a town holiday. To learn more about the Fountain Hills Leadership Academy, go to https://ilovefountainhills.org/leadership-academy/.

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Community Engagement Culture Local Events Outdoor recreation

Fall Concerts on the Avenue 2021 in Review

The November series of Concerts on the Avenue just finished up last night! Three Wednesdays in a row, the Avenue of the Fountains was full of music, cornhole, art stands, food, and drinks. It was a great time! Here are some photos from the second and third nights of the Concerts.

The Saucy Jacks perform “A Hard Day’s Night” by the Beatles at the fountains by Sofrita.

At each Concerts event, two performances are going on at any given time. Up by the Town Hall and Sami Fine Jewelry, an acoustic performer sings. Down at the fountains in the median by Sofrita, a band plays.

The acoustics performers included Jai Graves, Seth Brown, and Ritchie Fliegler. The bands were Lucas Brown and the Night Watch, the Chuck Hall Band, and the Saucy Jacks.

Down at the Sonoran Lifestyle Team office, we served a different fall cocktail drink each night. A unique board of meats, cheeses, crackers, and cookies was also available for snacking. Popcorn and water were given out to the audience between songs.

Attendance was great, with hundreds of people navigating the Avenue through the two-hour duration of each concert.

People had picnics in the grass with their dogs. Families played cornhole outside of the office. Firefely Wood-Fired Pizzas sold freshly made pizzas and cannolis from their food truck in the MCSO lot.

Seth Brown performs at the fountains between Sami Fine Jewelry and the Town Hall.

Overall, this November concert series was a huge success, and we all had a blast! Concerts on the Avenue is sponsored by the Sonoran Lifestyle Team at RE/MAX Sun Properties. The concerts will return in April of 2022.

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Local Businesses Local Events Things to Do

Stroll and Roll in the Glow with Us!

Michelle and Toni taking a selfie at our Selfie Station in 2020

Every year, the Avenue of the Fountains is covered in a brilliant light show to bring on the height of the holiday season. The road gets closed off the first Saturday of each December for the annual “Stroll in the Glow,” where people get to experience the first night of the lights with their friends and family.

This year’s Stroll will be taking place on the evening of Saturday, December 4th. It begins with a ceremony led by mayor Ginny Dickey when, once it’s dark enough outside, she throws the master switch that activates over 60,000 lights across the Avenue, including the Fountain Hills Christmas Tree! Shortly after, Santa Claus himself will arrive on a fire truck to greet the children.

Activities at this year’s Stroll

A scene from Stroll in the Glow 2015

The Copper State Blues Band and other musicians will be performing across the median of the Avenue. Businesses will stay open late, offering drinks, snacks, photo-ops, and children’s activities throughout the duration of the event.

Here at the Sonoran Lifestyle office, we’re planning on hosting a holiday backdrop photo-op that we call “The Selfie Station” and serving drinks, so please feel free to come hang out with us. At the Sun Properties office, you and your kids can take pictures with the Grinch and Cindy-Lou Who, eat cookies, and drink hot cocoa.

Roll in the Glow

Stroll in the Glow comes with a special twist this year. The eastbound lane of the Avenue will be partitioned off for bikes in the first-ever “Roll in the Glow!” Decorate your bicycles with lights and parade them down the Avenue. A bike decoration contest will begin at 6:00 PM. Be sure to really deck your bikes like you’re decking the halls.

Stroll in the Glow begins at 4:00 PM, and Santa will arrive by firetruck at around 5:25 PM. Roll in the Glow officially begins at 5:00 PM. The event is totally free to attend and is one of Fountain Hills’ most fun yearly traditions. Click here to learn more about Stroll and Roll.

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Real Estate

Is the Housing Frenzy Going to Cool Off Soon?

This past year has been an absolutely crazy one for the real estate industry. The value of homes around the valley, and around the country, skyrocketed in unprecedented ways. The demand for homes overtook the supply, causing a literal shortage in homes in certain areas. Finally, there appears to be some evidence that things are beginning to normalize.

“The fever in the housing market has broken,” says Ali Wolf, chief economist of building consultancy Zonda. “There have been buyers that have just been beat down for the last six months—and after losing so many homes and going through the emotional roller coaster, they’ve decided to stop searching for now. There are more homes on the market than there were six months ago.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, mortgage interest rates dipped below 3%, which allowed homebuyers around the country to handle ever-increasing home values. Over this past spring and summer, prices rose so high that even the amazing mortgage rates couldn’t fully offset them enough to give buyers some breathing room.

Now, prices are still rising… just not as much as they were a few months ago. Competition is starting to calm down and homes are taking a bit longer to sell. In April, the year-over-year growth rate peaked at 17.2%. By September, that rate was down to 8.6%. This means that the median list price of homes nationwide is growing half as much now as it was back in the spring. All this leads to there potentially being hope for things to be going back to normal for buyers and sellers.

Will prices on homes go down?

If the rate of price increases is slowing down, does that mean that they’ll eventually decrease? Well, not any time soon. The housing shortage still exists. There aren’t enough houses for sale to compensate for the preponderance of buyers.

“You’ve still got a lot of young people who have still not bought a home but who would like to,” says Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “Anytime the market starts to cool, you’ve got people on the sidelines waiting for their chance to get in. That keeps both home sales and home prices from declining too much.”

According to Hale, the nation is still short by 5 million homes. Not only that, but for the past several months there have been shortages of lumber, labor, and other materials. Those shortages are beginning to ease up and new houses are being built around the country, but not at a fast enough rate to compensate for the dearth of 5 million.

Mortgage rates are also expected to rise in the coming months, which should help mitigate (but not reverse) future price increases. The current sub-2% rates are expected to be nearly 4% by the end of 2022, according to Mortgage Bankers Association economist Joel Kan.

“We’re expecting rates to increase moderately over the next 12 months,” says Kan. “As the economy improves, as the job market improves. Typically that pushes rates higher. [But] there is a little bit more uncertainty now, given that we’ve seen the pandemic linger longer than we expected.”

How will this affect sellers?

Most experts still believe that sellers are still going to be getting great prices in the near future. The seemingly exponential growth of prices that were seen earlier this year has most likely come to an end, though.

Zonda’s Wolf recommends that sellers put effort into their sales, doing research on the data from their own neighborhoods. They should also make sure their homes are up-to-date on repairs and overall in good condition. There may not be massive bidding wars like there would have been 8 months ago, but that huge demand for homes still exists.

“If you’re a seller today, you’ll likely still get top dollar, but you’re still going to have to put in the work,” adds Wolf. “Dust for cobwebs, stage the home, put on a fresh coat of paint.”

Special thanks to Realtor.com for providing us this information.

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Local Businesses Local Events Non-profit Organizations Things to Do

Turkey Trot, Thanksgiving Parade Just Weeks Away

Thanksgiving is a big day for Fountain Hills. Not only do we have the biggest Thanksgiving Parade in the southwestern United States, but we also have the tradition of hosting a morning 5K run that has been going on almost as long: the Turkey Trot.

This year the town will boast the 31st annual Turkey Trot and the 37th annual Thanksgiving Parade. These events, which happen back-to-back on Thanksgiving morning, are truly hallmarks of Fountain Hills culture.

The Turkey Trot

In Fountain Hills, Turkey Day always starts with the Turkey Trot. A section of streets around the Town Center of Fountain Hills are converted into a running path for town residents who signed up for either the 5K Run or the 1-mile walk.

You can run the Turkey Trot like a race, and awards will be given to the top three finishers in each of the age brackets.

The Turkey Trot route is different this year than previous years.

You don’t have to run it like a race though, as many people take a more relaxed approach to the Turkey Trot. It’s a really fun tradition that people of all ages enjoy.

Go to fh.az.gov to sign up, and be sure to pick up your t-shirts and other Turkey Trot swag at the Community Center, Monday-Wednesday of Thanksgiving week between 3:00 and 6:00. The Trot begins at 7:15 AM on November 25th.

The Sonoran Lifestyle Team at RE/MAX Sun Properties is the premier “Platinum” sponsor of this year’s Turkey Trot. Some of our team members will be running, see if you can catch us!

The Thanksgiving Parade

The Thanksgiving Parade begins at 9:30 AM, right after the Turkey Trot ends. This huge parade features floats from many of the businesses, clubs, and nonprofits of Fountain Hills and the surrounding area. It’s a great way to have a festive morning with the family and learn about local organizations. This year’s parade theme is “All That Glitters,” so be prepared to see some shiny floats.

The 2021 Thanksgiving Parade route is also different from past years.

This year, the parade will be beginning at Parkview and Saguaro, passing up and down the Avenue of the Fountains, and ending at El Lago and Saguaro.

For more information about this year’s parade, check out the Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce website.