2016 Winterhaven Festival of Lights

Holiday visitors file in during the first night of the 67th Annual Winterhaven Festival of Lights. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

Tucson Electric Power will be the title sponsor for the Winterhaven Festival of Lights for at least five years, a news release says.

TEP’s sponsorship begins next year under a new partnership between the Winterhaven neighborhood and the utility company.

The light festival started 67 years ago, and attracts more than 200,000 people each year and generates donations to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

Although Winterhaven residents donate their time and materials to decorate homes, a sponsor is needed to help pay for off-duty police officers, traffic control, barricades, insurance, portable bathrooms and other necessities, the news release said.

“TEP is a longtime supporter of our event and makes an ideal partner for a tradition that features such festive use of electricity,” said Robin Dolezal, the festival chair said in the release.

“We literally couldn’t have kept the lights on for future festivals without this pledge of support from TEP.”

TEP has pledged to provide $40,000 a year to the charitable organization that runs the festival.