‘Sun City Festival’ in Buckeye, AZ

A new community is rising from the desert in Buckeye, Arizona that is appealing to a new generation of active retirees with a practical sense for friends, family, and active living. So how does Sun City Festival measure up to other retirement communities among Phoenix's Northwest Valley and will this new model for retirement communities continue to grow? We've collected the latest info on how this expansive community might be a growing trend.

A generation that isn't so old and grumpy

baby boomers and generation x illustration

With all the jokes about Boomers today, today's 55+ generation is very different than previous post-war boomers. You might actually say that many of the elderly who were born from 1946 to 1964 was certainly the real baby boomers, yet a newer generation that is just now reaching the so-called Silver Tsunami' is one that is among the group best-known for "I'm mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore".


This slightly younger generation that is right at the heels of boomers who are otherwise known as Generation X, is following in the footsteps of the boomer- but is very different. This generation learned from the Boomers and certainly has a very different opinion of what work and community mean to everyday living. Because of this reason, the old model of retirement living is not the isolated Cocoon generation' that we have all come to expect.

Sun City Festival is an undated community that not only looks and feels like a neighborhood that reminds us all where we would want to live when we retire. A cross between the original Disney concept of Epcot and a healthy dash of Frank Lloyd Wright, these mini versions of Sun City Festival residence homes are stunningly impressive for a retirement community, not to mention very affordable.

What is Sun City Festival all about?

senior citizens enjoying BBQ in backyard

Just like the concept of Cheers' it's a place where everyone knows your name but on a community level. For a retirement community that is heading away from frail and largely inactive, Sun City Festival is heading in a different direction for encouraging people to get to know each other. Especially in a world where we've come to avoid our neighbors, Sun City is designed to bring people together.

From the layout of the community itself to the bigger recreation center, it's big and friendly like the mall used to be with plenty of activities to inspire a different kind of retirement lifestyle. There is golfing, swimming, clubs and classes, and all the eating amenities that Generation X has come to expect. Plus, it still feels like a private community where you still have a front and backyard to do your own thing such as barbecuing and having special get-togethers.

Indeed, this might sound like a Twilight Zone episode mash-up mixed with The Stepford Wives, yet this has been in the works since 2006 by the Del Webb group. The plans include 7,200 single-family residential homes that are built in 22 varieties and styles. Many of the styles follow a typical mixture of Spanish and European exteriors with a bit of Ranch and Tuscany themes.

Each home features between 2 to 4 bedrooms with a front and back yard, and of course a 2 to 3 car garage. Each home is designed to be as energy-efficient as possible and includes interior touches like granite countertops and stainless steel kitchen appliances. You don't get much more transitional than that. But that's only the beginning!

What can you do at Sun City Festival? 

Women Doing Morning Walk in Sun City Festival Park

This is a community that not only encourages a healthy lifestyle but it's designed to be an open and friendly atmosphere where anything is possible. Pets are perfectly welcome and have plenty of space to take walks among the many recreational park-like trails and garden settings. What makes this very different is the wide array of community activities that are designed to keep everyone busy as bees.

Arts and crafts icon

Arts and crafts

You might think that being retired isn't going to teach anything new, but the arts and crafts classes are active in encouraging others to learn hobbies and crafts from others in the community. This also includes knitting and crochet, paper crafts like scrapbooking, and papercrafts. It's obviously hands-on with an emphasis on being interesting rather than occupying retirees who are entering their golden years.

Sports and wellness icon

Sports and wellness

Generation X has been known to have been the forerunner of breaking the mold for being physically fit. The health and fitness center looks more like a modern workout location where you would find many of the most familiar items such as spinning cycles, aerobics steps, and plenty of Yoga mats. The swimming pool area looks as if they've completely copied exclusive wellness spas and vacation destinations that are popular in Cozumel and other Caribbean hotel locations.

Social interaction icon

Social interaction

Clubs are often a pricy price to pay for any kind of extended experience, but for Sun City Festival organizers it's a matter of updating the average clubs that you might expect from a retirement community. They encourage car clubs, social dance clubs, and at least a dozen various club-like activities that are all part of a regular schedule. Their communities director aims to update any club activity that will enable those within the community to come together to celebrate their collective interests.

Interactive events icon

Interactive events

These club-like events aren't some far-fetched idealism, since Buckeye is just one hour from downtown Phoenix. These are beneficial enough to tie into local events that are happening throughout Phoenix and help connect this unique community with the outside reality. This is also a good chance for locals to visit places that are directly connected with Phoenix and join together with old friends.

It's just another reason to visit local supermarkets that are familiar to stock up on goodies that you can't get anywhere else. Other times, it might be a good idea to visit medical facilities for ongoing physical problems. Many of these interactive events can be scheduled to fit each community member's needs.

What is the current situation now?

Constructed homes in Sun City Festival, Buckeye

Now before you go and jump right into this community, you need to know that the current population only includes a total of 76 residents out of the expected 7,200 homes that are still under construction or are currently vacant. This might sound pretty damaging to the whole concept, but the process of new residents is slow and go. It's also important to mention that there are only 1500 homes that have been completed. The difference between the initial scope of development and the current progress seems to be on par for many of the new Buckeye communities. Unlike the disappointing progress of the Tartesso community, also in buckeye, Sun City Festival has a bright immediate future and we look forward to establishing ourselves as a go-to clean up solution for Sun City to keep the community looking good..     

The north side homes are essentially done with a new set of homes located on the Southside of the community. The golf course and clubhouse has actually been open since 2006 and features 18-holes and is managed by the Copper Mountain Golf Club.

Future projects for Sun City Festival

Sun City Festival Areal view

Here's the latest news on Sun City Festival which will finally be underway very soon. The implemented Sage Recreation Center is completed and opened for residents but there are new developments on the horizon. The newly proposed Saguaro Center is the ultimate Holiday Inn of meeting places. It's boasting dining halls, fitness centers, relaxation meeting points, dinner theatre facilities, and banquet rooms that are determined to rival modern conveniences.

More than a meeting place for residents to experience the quality of life, the Saguaro Center is meant to explore the meaning of vitalizing life moments. Many developments are on the horizon that isn't yet being realized just yet, but consider that only less than a hundred residents are still starting to explore their potentials- it seems many more are getting wind of potentials at the Sun City Festival community.

Why is Sun City Festival Important?

infrastructure of Sun City Festival Important

We face an ever-present and growing culture of aging retirees that are looking for something very different than the cubicle-style quarters that most elderly folks are not willing to sacrifice their time and energy into. These are managed spaces that are qualified for ongoing maintenance and care beyond the simple hospital-like surroundings. This is giving a second wind to those who never gave up and will never admit that retirement homes need to be sterilized and void of existence.

Plus they have an active program that welcomes family visitors who are relatives up to 90-days for extended visits. If you've ever considered that Arizona (is one of the last places that retirement is better than Florida), this is the newest development just can't hold a candle to the vibrant energy- that is being proposed here. And for the extension of family that includes a healthy lifestyle and lust for life, there are growing efforts to make the Sun City Festival into a model of modern living.

It's also easy to point out that many of the homes in this community are an astonishing price even for retirees of this age category. It's an investment that may very-wee become a model for the shifting slide to living the good life after work has finally finished for Generation X. The good part of this story is that Sun City Festival in Buckeye, AZ is just getting started.


What is the community of the 'Sun City Festival'?

Sun City Festival is a well-developed active adult retirement community that's located in Buckeye, Arizona. It's designed to make the residents feel more alive with entertaining daily activities.

Who can live in the community?

For those who are looking to join the Sun City Festival community, you must be 55 years or older.

What are the amenities?

There are categories for all of the amenities that include clubs, social interaction events, sports and wellness activities, and arts and crafts programs. They encourage residents to be active with social and physical programs that help older folks be more active and entertained.

What is the cost of living?

Because the homes that are located at Sun City Festival are all different in design and square footage layouts, the price range starts from $200K to $400K. There are several levels that you can add to your membership that take care of local concerns such as maintenance, community programs, and internal management fees.

How do I get more information?

The best way to get more information about Sun City Festival is to contact their website: https://www.oursuncityfestival.net/ which gives you more updated info on joining.

What are the pros and cons of living in the community of ‘Sun City Festival’?

The strongest selling point of Sun City Festival is being around others who share an interest in active living. Sadly, not everyone is working from the same budget when they retire, so what residents decide to spend on their Sun City Festival home or the type of membership program preferences is always going to be based on individual needs.

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