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Dorothy Young Memorial event celebrates Centennial
YUMA, ARIZONA - Yumans can kick off the holiday season -- and their celebration of Arizona's 100th birthday -- at 6 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 10) at the Dorothy Young Memorial Centennial Electric Light Parade.
Heading into its ninth year, this holiday favorite also celebrates a century of Arizona history this year with the theme "Yuma: 100 Years in the Making." Named in memory of its founder, former Heritage Festivals leader Dorothy Young, the parade is an official Arizona Centennial event and is sponsored by the Yuma Visitors Bureau.
One big change this year is the switch from Friday to Saturday. YVB's parade organizer Teri Ingram explained that the event's ongoing success made the shift to Saturday necessary.
"With all the logistics of getting nearly 100 units organized, we were just growing too big for Friday night," Ingram said. "Moving over to Saturday evening not only makes staging a little easier for participants and the police department, it should also be more convenient for families, so they're not rushing to get here from school or work."
There's also a slight change in the parade route this year, Ingram said. Units will form up on Third Avenue between 8th and 10th streets, head north on Third to Orange Avenue, then through the parking lot between City Hall and the city Housing Authority office to Madison, around one side of the roundabout at Giss Parkway, then east on Giss Parkway to Main Street. The parade continues north on Main Street to 2nd Street, where units will turn right and disband in the parking lot behind Lutes Casino.
"By making just a little jog in the route, it brings the parade down the 300 block of Main Street and also opens up more parking to the public," Ingram noted, explaining that people now will be able to access downtown parking lots on both sides of Main Street either from the north (via 1st Street) or the east (via Gila Street).
"There's really no bad place to watch the parade," Ingram said. "And the turn through the lots south of City Hall may just become a new favorite spot for a lot of people."
One of the things that makes the Electric Light Parade unique in Yuma, Ingram said, is that it's not limited to organized groups or associations -- anyone with an urge to march can participate, though they need to follow the parade theme to be eligible for grand prize recognition.
"You can throw some Christmas lights on your dog or your family car and join in," Ingram laughed. "The variety is one of the things that makes the parade unique."
Though the deadline for applications has "technically" passed, Ingram says parade organizers typically welcome participants even the last week. The application is on the YVB website at http://www.visityuma.com/vendors_participate.html ; call Ingram at 376-0100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Yuma Visitors Bureau markets the Yuma area within the travel and tourism industry and to the general public. Direct travel spending in Yuma County totaled more than $566 million in 2010, supported nearly 5,800 jobs and generated $36.3 million in state and local tax revenues.
A longtime favorite with sun-seeking snowbirds, Yuma's population nearly doubles in the winter months, thanks to more than 23,000 spots in RV parks and resorts. The community also offers nearly 4,000 hotel rooms, conference and meeting facilities, and three casinos. For more details about Yuma's year-round attractions, special events - and the rarely "cloudy with a chance of tacos" forecast* - visit www.visityuma.com or call 800-293-0071.
* Yuma hotel guests will eat free every day the sun doesn't shine from Aug. 1, 2011 until July 31, 2012! For more information on our Centennial "free board" promotion, call us.
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