In every community there are certain things that help define that burg. In our area, we have our beautiful parks, the Veterans Day Parade and the outlet mall’s ginormous Christmas tree. This year, the 110-foot tall White Fir (America’s tallest, according to the Outlets at Anthem) stands high above the shops, and on the night of the lighting, the 12-ton tree (16 tons with decorations), will draw thousands of people like a giant Christmas beacon. Because the event is so popular, a little strategizing is necessary. So in the spirit of giving, In&Out hit the streets (er… actually the Adventure Playground) to glean tree-viewing tips from those in the know.
Grammy winner Michelle Branch will headline Saturday night’s massive tree-lighting event. The 26-year-old pop star, a Sedona native best known for her hit “Everywhere,” is promoting her solo career after leaving country duo The Wreckers.
The Grammy was awarded for Best Collaboration with Vocals for “Game of Love” performed with Santana. In a Rolling Stone interview this month, Branch remarked how she finally feels comfortable in her own skin. “Ten years into it, I can finally go, ‘Oh, I just want to make a record that’s fun to make and I don’t have to prove that I deserve to be here.’ ”
Her new album “West Coast Time” is due to be released in 2012. Branch fans are sure to pack the free concert, so arrive early.
The long-awaited Anthem Veterans Memorial will perform its inaugural show as part of the Veterans Day weekend of festivities. Just last week, the marble arrived and was lifted into place on the five columns (one for each branch of the military), wrapping up two- and-a-half years of planning, construction and fundraising. Ron Tucker of Anthem spearheaded the team of volunteers. He told In&Out with donations and paver sales still coming in, more than $174,000 has been raised to fund the project in Anthem’s Community Park.
Anthem Giving Circle calls itself a “small but mighty” team of 26—pooling time, talents and money to make a difference in local lives. Think of it as a book club with a bigger purpose.
The group started in 2007 with five people. “After moving to Anthem, a few of us wanted to do something locally to give back,” said AGC Co-chair Bernice Volinsky. “After reading an article about a young boy needing a service dog, we decided to start a giving circle here.”