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Carefree Connection:

May 2024

May Overview

What's happening this month?

MAY we present this month's newsletter! 🌸 Discover the exciting events lined up, including the last Carefree Art Night of the season, the Carefree memorial Day Tribute, and the exciting Kiwanis Scholarship Award Ceremony. Stay informed about crucial summer preparations such as the Maricopa Fire Ban, Firewise practices, water safety tips, and rattlesnake procedures. Indulge in the culinary delights of Carefree during Restaurant Week, with special menus celebrating Carefree's 40th anniversary. Explore the newest addition to our business landscape, Local Finds, a charming co-op store in the Los Portales Mall. Last but not least, take a moment to reminisce about the unforgettable moments from last month as we gear up for another memorable month ahead.

Carefree Art Night

Join us for the final Carefree Art Night of the season! Step into Carefree on Thursday, May 16, from 4 - 7 p.m. and immerse yourself in the vibrant world of artistry spread across town. Wander through galleries showcasing exquisite fine art, dazzling jewelry, captivating home decor, and much more. Galleries will be alive with the melodies of live music, snacks, and refreshing drinks.

The highlight of the evening starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion, where we're thrilled to host a special artist engagement with the Thunderbird Artists Gallery. Prepare to be enthralled by a live interview with Rich Lopez, a unique talent of Spanish and Native American heritage. Rich crafts ceramic baskets using a tool he ingeniously fashioned from a steak knife and a grinder at 3 in the morning. There will be a display of his remarkable work, providing a glimpse into the mastery behind each piece. Don't miss out on this extraordinary event and the opportunity to connect with a one-of-a-kind artist.

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Memorial Day Tribute

The Town of Carefree is privileged to host a Memorial Day Tribute honoring our veterans on Monday, May 27, from 8 – 9 am in the Cave Creek Memorial Cemetery located at 36400 N Pima Rd, Carefree, AZ.

Col Deborah Lehker, US Air Force retired, will remember her service in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Chief Nurse and will share her perspective and thoughts about Memorial Day.  

The program will include local 9th grade student Olivia Nicosia singing the National Anthem, Vietnam War United States Navy veteran and Carefree resident Tom Cross leading the pledge of allegiance, Canon Steven Dart, the Rector of Christ Anglican Church in Carefree, performing the invocation, and local Cave Creek Boy Scout Troop 603 color guard posting and retrieving the colors.  

Veterans Heritage Project (VHP) will be in attendance with VHP chapter students from Cactus Shadows High School. The Black Mountain Foothills Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will provide coffee and water.

Join us as our community comes together to pay tribute to those who have given their lives in service to our country.

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Carefree Restaurant Week

As a result of the success of the Carefree Restaurant Association’s (CRA) previous Restaurant Weeks the local restaurant group is proud to announce the return of their Spring Carefree Restaurant Week, beginning May 13 thru May 19, 2024.

Restaurant Week is an opportunity for all participating restaurants to showcase their menus at discounted prices. Some restaurants will offer a special lunch menu, others a special 2 or 3 course dinner.

“2024 has been a good year so far for our local restaurants,” says Carefree Restaurant Association President, Donna Lombardi “This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Incorporation of the Town of Carefree, and in consideration of this historic occasion, our Restaurant Association is offering a special $40 menu during Restaurant Week”

The $40 menu will include either lunch or dinner, featuring special menu items relevant to each restaurant. Customers will have an opportunity to sample new and exciting culinary offerings and in doing so, continue to support their local restaurants.

Unlike many other towns, Carefree’s restaurant base is made up of independent, family-owned businesses. Therefore, no large corporate chains dictate menu, pricing or marketing campaigns – rather, the individual business owner can determine the look, feel, style, concept and brand of their own restaurant based on their own individual culinary expertise.

Carefree Restaurant Week precedes Arizona Restaurant Week, giving loyal patrons and those who come for the first time, a chance to head north to Carefree for culinary delights.

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Healing of Memories Workshop For Veterans

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Kiwanis Scholarship Award Ceremony

On Monday, May 6, at 6pm, Ryan Harris, Super Bowl Champion, Award-winning Broadcaster, Best selling Author and Mindset Coach, will deliver the keynote address at the 38th Annual Kiwanis Evening of Excellence Scholarship Ceremony.

A select group of high school seniors will be in attendance to be honored for their achievements and receive scholarship assistance for their continuing education.

Beginning with a single $500 scholarship awarded in 1986, the annual scholarship program has grown exponentially. In 2024, a record number of applications were received with over $500,000 scholarship funds slated to be rewarded to deserving students, thanks to the generosity of local supporters of the Kiwanis Carefree annual fundraising initiatives.

“The selection process is getting more challenging every year because of the sheer volume and quality of the student applications,” according to Janet Busbee, chair of the Kiwanis Carefree Scholarship Committee. “That is both exhausting and energizing,” she added.

The Keynote Speaker, Ryan Harris, is a 10-year NFL veteran, playing for the Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers and the 2015 Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos. He is also the author of Mindset for Mastery, An NFL Champion’s Guide to Reaching Your Greatness.

Ryan looks forward to sharing hard-earned insights about finding and celebrating the greatness that is within each of these winners. The families and friends in attendance will hear how anyone wanting to achieve goals can reach their full potential.

In order to support this Scholarship program and all of its initiatives, the Kiwanis Club acknowledges and appreciates the generous community and volunteer support of the Kiwanis Marketplace Thrift Store. All of the 18 Kiwanis Committees of volunteers address identified needs in the community and are able to fulfill their individual missions due to the continued success of the Marketplace.

Linda Wright, Kiwanis Club of Carefree President, sums up the Scholarship program and the volunteer spirit that underlays all Kiwanis efforts, “It is an honor to be in the position to play such a positive role in the lives of extraordinary young Americans like these, and to offer so many other local programs for our community.”

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May Council Meeting

Join us for the May Town Council meeting on Tuesday, May 7, starting at 5 p.m. at the Town Council Chambers.

If you want to watch from home join the livestream HERE. View the agenda by clicking the button below.

View Agenda

Community Conversations: Connecting with Carefree

Join us on Friday, May 10 from 9 -11 a.m. to bring our community closer together through open and meaningful dialogues between our town's leadership and YOU, our valued residents.

This monthly event is a unique opportunity for you to connect directly with our Mayor and Town Council members.

Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting

Join us for the Planning & Zoning Commission General Plan Update Hearing on Monday, May 13, starting at 5:15 p.m. at the Town Council Chambers.

If you want to watch from home join the livestream HERE. View the agenda by clicking the button below.

View Agenda

It's Rattlesnake Ssssseason

Rattlesnakes are currently active and thriving in our weather right now. During the cooler mornings and evenings, you may encounter them basking on sidewalks, patios, or pavers.

Rattlesnake bites are a serious medical emergency and demand immediate attention at a hospital. Fortunately, fatalities from rattlesnake bites in the U.S. are rare, especially with prompt medical intervention.

In the event of a rattlesnake bite, refrain from attempting to "suck the venom out", as this can introduce bacteria from your mouth to the bite wound and increase the chance of infection. Avoid applying heat, cold, or a tourniquet to the wound, as these measures may exacerbate tissue damage. Instead, stay composed, cleanse the area, and seek urgent medical assistance by heading to the nearest hospital or dialing 911 for transportation and care.

Should you encounter a rattlesnake in your vicinity or on your property, contact Rural Metro's non-emergency hotline at 480-945-6311 and they will promptly remove the snake.

Carefree Community Tips

Maricopa Fire Ban & Learning to be Firewise

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As we head into hotter months, prioritizing fire safety is essential, especially given our proximity to vast desert land and regional parks in Maricopa County. Beginning May 1, the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department will enforce its annual fire ban in Area A until September 30, as per Air Quality Department regulations.

The ban includes restrictions on activities like using wood-burning chimineas and outdoor pits at Maricopa County regional parks such as Cave Creek Regional Park, Lake Pleasant, and Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, among others. The ban's duration may extend beyond September 30 based on weather conditions.

At home, with our closeness to nature preserves, adhering to the fire ban and adopting a Firewise mindset is crucial for safety. Embers and small flames are major wildfire ignition sources, capable of sparking spot fires and threatening homes. Homeowners can protect their properties by:

  1. Creating defensible space
  2. Using fire-resistant materials
  3. Maintaining landscaping

By collectively embracing Firewise practices, we strengthen community resilience against wildfires. Let's prioritize fire safety in parks and protect our homes and communities.

Click below for more information on Maricopa County's Fire Ban and to learn how to be Firewise .

County Fire Ban
Be Firewise

Water Safety Month - Best Water Practices

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Ensure your family's safety this summer with these six water safety tips:

  • Capable & Constant Supervision:

Always supervise children and non-swimmers around water, even if lifeguards are present. Stay focused and avoid distractions like checking email or social media.

  • Water Competency:

Learning to swim and survive in water, regardless of age, enhances safety around aquatic environments.

  • Prevent Unsupervised Access To Water:

Use barriers and alarms to restrict access to water during non-swim times, as almost 70% of toddler drownings occur during these periods.

  • Swim With A Buddy:

Never swim alone, even in places with lifeguards.

  • Wear A Life Jacket:

Ensure everyone wears a properly-fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while boating. Non-swimmers and inexperienced swimmers should also wear one when near water.

  • Be Prepared For Emergencies:

Learn CPR to prevent and respond to emergencies effectively.

Last year, nearly 150 water-related incidents occurred in the valley, with over 50% involving adults. Everyone can be affected. Free CPR classes are available this month on Sunday, May 19 and Saturday, May 25 at 10 a.m. at the Carefree Fire Station. Classes are FREE for Carefree residents. For more information or to register, email

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Carefree Resident News

What's Up With The Update?

Last month, the Town Council held its two work sessions to discuss the Public Hearing Draft – February 2024 similar to the Planning and Zoning Commission sessions. As with the Commission, the conversation amongst the Council and with the public centered on four main topics - the State Trust Land 48-acre parcel, mixed use in the Town Center, the Carefree Water Company, and the Special Planning Area (SPA) designation at the Northwest Corner of Tom Darlington Drive and Carefree Highway. Compromise was reached regarding the first three areas, with direction by a 4-3 vote from Council to remove the SPA from the General Plan draft.

The next step is for the Planning and Zoning Commission to hold the first required public hearing to review and make its recommendation to the Town Council for adoption. The Planning and Zoning Commission Public Hearing Draft (May 2024) can be downloaded HERETake some time to view the past livestreams and presentation slides for an understanding of the content and dialog throughout the work sessions process.

The Commission hearing is scheduled for May 13, 2024, starting at 5:15 pm and located in Carefree Council Chambers, 33 Easy Street.

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Did You Know...

We have a separate email notification system to advise you when an agenda has been posted for any Town of Carefree public meeting.

Go to

Click on “Agendas & Minutes.”

There you will see a drop down menu to look up any of our posted agendas. You can also SUBSCRIBE for notifications of the posting of any future agenda.

It will take you to the page where you can subscribe to receive notification emails when the agendas of your choice are published. You will receive an email requesting that you confirm your subscription by clicking a hyperlink in the email. 

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All About Building Permits...

Are you building a home? Planning an addition or remodel? Adding a storage shed, garage, casita or pool? Maybe you want to repave your driveway? All of these scenarios have one thing in common – you need a building permit. 

So how do you get started? The Town of Carefree is here to help.

The first step is to define your project and get your ideas onto paper. Develop a site plan that shows your proposed improvements. You can do it yourself or hire an engineer, architect or contractor to assist.

Next, bring your plans to Town Hall to apply for a building permit. The friendly staff will look at your plans and advise you of what is required to fulfill the requirements to issue the permit. For most projects, you will need 2 sets of architectural plans, 2 sets of grading and drainage plans, 2 sets of landscape plans and 2 sets of truss calculations. 2 sets of plans are required so the reviewers can return a set to you with comments after review.

Also required are a signed letter of approval from your HOA, a completed owner/builder form, a dust control permit, a septic permit and a signed service agreement from Carefree Water Company. Again, it is best to come into Town Hall for advice on specific requirements for your project.

The staff of the Town of Carefree is here to work for you to ensure that your project becomes a reality in compliance with all the applicable codes. This will ensure your safety, the longevity of project and a harmonious existence with the natural setting, your neighborhood and the Town of Carefree. So come on down today and let’s get started building your dreams!

Business Highlight:

Local Finds

Meet Local Finds, a cozy co-op shop showcasing the talents of 7 local artisans new to the Town of Carefree! Explore a delightful array of woodworking wonders, captivating art, exquisite jewelry, charming home decor, heartfelt greeting cards, cozy quilts, delectable local honey, sweet treats, unique guitar picks, golf ball markers, indulgent bath bombs, aromatic candles, and much more. Local Finds truly offers something for everyone!

Nestled within the Los Portales Mall, they are open every Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm. What sets them apart? Each day, you have the chance to meet one of the talented artists or artisans behind the treasures on display, adding a personal touch to your shopping experience. With Mother’s Day approaching, Local Finds is your go-to for thoughtful, locally crafted gifts. Don’t miss visiting this one-of-a-kind shop when you’re in town!

Visit Local Finds Website

Street Maintenance Project: Town Center

Based upon favorable weather conditions, the public streets and alleys within the Town Center are planned to be treated during the overnight hours of Monday, May 6th – Friday, May 10th. These streets and alleys will be open during the day for business access; however, during the overnight hours there will be restrictions and closures to apply the cape seal and permit proper curing times.

Please see the attached map for specific dates affecting specific Town Center streets and alleys.

For questions, please contact the project hotline number at 602-245-6270.  

View Map

Live Music at Athens

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Athens On Easy Street is buzzing with live music three times a week!

Thursdays feature the beautiful tunes of Native American flutes played by Henry Molder, a local resident. Fridays offer the rhythmic melodies of acoustic guitar with Matt Smith, setting the mood for an amazing weekend. And on Saturdays, Alona Liesniak creates an enchanting atmosphere with her elegant violin.

Athens is alive with music, inviting everyone to enjoy its vibrant soundscape while enjoying dinner on the patio!

Mother's Day At Keeler's

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April Highlights

Memorable Moments from Last Month

Carefree Earth Day Celebration

We had an amazing turnout at the Carefree Earth Day Celebration! From fire hose demos and face painting to live animals and prize wheels, the energy was as electric as the vehicles on display!

Families cooled off with snow cones from Kona Ice while enjoying live music from the wonderful Jubilate Conservatory of Music. It was all about celebrating our Earth, learning about conservation, and appreciating nature! Thanks to everyone who made it unforgettable and a special thanks to APS for sponsoring the event.


Photos provided by Town of Carefree.

Medal of Honor Recipient Welcome Ceremony

Carefree hosted a heartwarming welcome ceremony at our Veterans Memorial for four distinguished heroes of our nation, the Medal of Honor recipients. Amidst the serene Arizona backdrop, we kicked off the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation's 18th Annual Golf Tournament with utmost respect and gratitude.

Bernie Falchook, a WWII Veteran, led us in the Pledge of Allegiance, embodying the spirit of service and sacrifice. Ava from the Jubilate Conservatory of Music delivered a traditional performance of the National Anthem, stirring our souls with patriotic pride. In the presence of true valor, we honored Harvey "Barney" Barnum, Brian Thacker, Robert Martin Patterson, and Salvatore Giunta - remarkable individuals who received the Medal of Honor for their extraordinary acts of bravery and sacrifice during the Vietnam War and the War in Afghanistan.

The event drew over two dozen Legion Riders, as well as several other veterans and Carefree residents, each paying their respects to these esteemed men. It was an unforgettable gathering, providing a platform for these heroes to share their experiences and shed light on the invaluable work of the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation. Let us continue to honor, support, and remember their sacrifices.

Photos provided by Town of Carefree.

PAC-12 Championship at Desert Forest Golf Club

Sun Devil Men's Golf triumphed at the 2024 Pac-12 Men's Golf Championship held at Desert Forest Golf Club here in Carefree. No. 3 Arizona State maintained and extended their lead, dominating the competition on the final day under the leadership of Head Coach Matt Thurmond, securing their 13th Pac-10/12 team championship since 1978-79.

With a collective effort, Arizona State sealed a 16-stroke victory, the largest margin since 2016. Coach Thurmond expressed pride in the team's hard work and tradition. Ryggs Johnston led individually, securing the Pac-12 Silver Medalist honors, followed closely by Wenyi Ding, both finishing in the Top-10.

The victory showcased the team's balance, with four Sun Devils finishing in the Top-15, including freshman Connor Williams and Preston Summerhays, whose exceptional final round performances were instrumental in the win. The depth of the lineup was evident as every member contributed counting scores throughout the tournament, culminating in a convincing championship win for the Sun Devils.

Photos sourced from Arizona State University Athletics.

Mayor Presents at Chamber of Commerce Breakfast

Mayor John Crane spoke at the Carefree – Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting. He provided an update of all of the exciting goings-on within the Town and plans for the future including topics such as traffic focus, capital improvement projects, economic development, Town's 40th Anniversary and more.

Photos provided by Town of Carefree.

Carefree Fire Department Hosts Desert Foothills Leadership Academy on Public Service Day

Photos provided by Town of Carefree.

May Event & Meeting Calendar

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Carefree Friday Nights

Join us on Friday evenings starting at 5 p.m. to experience Carefree restaurants and shops after the sun sets! Local restaurants offer live entertainment, and stores in the Town Center stay open later for more shopping. Enjoy a delightful dinner, take a stroll through the Desert Gardens, and discover local treasures—all in one night.

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Town of Carefree | 8 Sundial Cir, Carefree, AZ 85377 |

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