This article first appeared online in the South Mountain District News.
There are so many elements that make Laveen a unique place to live – the majestic South Mountain casting its shadow over the community, cotton fields next to new subdivisions, hitching posts at local shops and pubs.
As 2017 gets under way, two uniquely Laveen events are less than a month away and have been in the planning for many months. The 65th Annual Laveen Pit BBQ is set for Saturday, Feb. 11 and the Laveen Community Parade is set for Feb. 4.
Sponsored by the nonprofit Laveen Community Council, the barbecue brings together thousands of residents for a day of feasting on barbecue, catching up with neighbors, visiting the hundreds of vendor booths and enjoying music and other entertainment. Proceeds from the event are used to support local youth through scholarships and funding youth activities. The entire event is coordinated and operated by community volunteers.
Visit www.laveen.org to learn more and sign up as volunteer, vendor or sponsor.
The other upcoming annual event is the Laveen Community Parade, sponsored by the Laveen Lions Club, a nonprofit civic organization. There is no cost to participate in the parade, but the deadline to enter iswas Sunday, Jan. 10. The parade will take place on Saturday, Feb. 4. Participants march along Dobbins Road from 43rdAvenue to 51st Avenue.
The theme of this year’s parade, which begins at 11 a.m., is Loving Life in Laveen. Entries will be judged on Originality, Appearance, and Detail (judging takes place from 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.)
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While the holidays are now behind us, Laveen residents got a chance to experience another rather unique event on Christmas and New Year’s weekends. Local resident Rob Olson gave free light tours along a 10-mile route to more than 100 people who signed up to ride his bright red double decker bus decked out in bright lights itself.
“I always dreamed of owning a double-decker bus, ever since I was a little boy,” Olson said. “I have always had a fascination with them.”
The bus was built in 1960 and served routes in London, England from 1960 to 1986. The diesel-powered bus was then sold to a tour company in Niagara Falls. Olson purchased the bus in 2013 and brought it across the country to Laveen.
Olson took passengers along homes and communities in Laveen known for their beautiful light displays. On the 6 p.m. tour on Dec. 30, about 40 people clambered up the stairs to the top level, or settled into the original seats on the lower level.
Community members who otherwise might never have met exclaimed over the lights and socialized with each other.
Olson, a realtor and owner of Red Bus Realty, plans to enter the vehicle in the Laveen Community Parade.
Rose Hutchinson Tring is a long-time journalist and owner of AZ Media Maven, a Laveen-based marketing and public relations company. She is also the founder of FinditinLaveen.com, a local business directory and free community calendar. Email her at email@example.com