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YUMA, ARIZONA - Since Yuma was already a ripe old 41 as an incorporated town when Arizona became a state, it's only proper that it celebrate the Centennial in historic fashion. But with the party spirit growing as the big date approaches, rounding up a definitive schedule of festivities is like lassoing jackalopes. With that in mind, here's a quick summary of party plans to date:
FREE BOARD EVERY DAY THE SUN DOESN'T SHINE > August 1, 2011 through July 31, 2012
A lot has changed here over the last century - but one thing that hasn't is sunshine an average of 350 days a year. Back in the day, Yuma hotels boasted they offered "free board every day the sun doesn't shine." In honor of Arizona's Centennial, the community renewed the historic offer of free eats on sunless days for twelve months beginning August 1. (Updated score as of today: Sunshine 99, Gloom 0). More info, www.visityuma.com, 800-293-0071.
DOROTHY YOUNG MEMORIAL CENTENNIAL ELECTRIC LIGHT PARADE > Dec. 10, 2011
An official Centennial event, this annual parade takes on the historic anniversary theme of "Yuma ... 100 years in the making." More info, 928-376-0100. Historic Downtown will host a holiday party following the parade, more info 928-373-5028.
CENTENNIAL CHRISTMAS VILLAGE > Yuma Quartermaster Depot SHP > Dec. 16-23, 2011
Santa will arrive a week early this year with a rare treat for kids of all ages - enough snow to blanket a sledding hill! The Village will also feature a trip back in time aboard the "Heritage Express" train to experience Christmas traditions in 1912, plus Santa visits, free fun activities, shopping at the craft market. More info, www.visityuma.com, 800-293-0071.
YUMA SIPHON CENTENNIAL EXHIBIT, COMMEMORATIVE COIN > Exhibit grand opening TBA
The Yuma Siphon celebrates its own 100th birthday in Arizona's centennial year. This massive tunnel under the Colorado River first delivered irrigation water to Yuma on June 29, 1912, and still operates "full-stream" today. Giant graphics and a new six-minute video dramatically detail the creation of the Reclamation Service, the construction of Laguna Dam and the epic feat of building the Siphon. Inspired by a coin cast a century ago by Yuma pioneer E.F. Sanguinetti, the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area has also created a commemorative medallion to celebrate the Siphon's birthday, with a numbered limited edition of 100 available in solid silver for $250 or an unnumbered version in brass on sale for $25. More information, 928-783-4771.
BARRIER 2 BRIDGE FESTIVAL, VARIOUS LOCATIONS > Feb. 10-19, 2012
To bridge the border in celebration of the Centennial, Yuma, San Luis and San Luis Rio Colorado (Son.) join to present educational panels, "Taste of San Luis" and outdoor concert, San Luis Rio Colorado guided tour with lunch and more. More info www.sanluisarts.com, 928-341-8584
SILVER SPUR RODEO AND RODEO PARADE, YUMA CO. FAIRGROUNDS > Feb. 10-12, 2012
The Yuma Jaycees have proudly presented this unique American sport for the last 65 years - and celebrate Arizona's Centennial at this year's event. This PRCA-sanctioned rodeo draws top riders from around the Turquoise Circuit and beyond. In addition to rodeo action, there's a parade through city streets on Saturday morning and dances following rodeo action on both Friday and Saturday nights. More info, www.yumajaycees.org, 928-344-5451.
YUMA SQUARE DANCE FESTIVAL, YUMA CIVIC CENTER > Feb. 10-12, 2012
A long-time Yuma tradition, this event brings do-si-doers from throughout the Western states for down-home dancin' with callers and cuers from around the region. As a special treat to celebrate Arizona's Centennial, the California Heritage Dancers will demonstrate vintage dances in period costume at this year's festival. More info, www.ysrda.weebly.com, 928-782-0844.
CENTENNIAL KICKOFF, YUMA COUNTY MAIN LIBRARY > Feb. 10, 2012
Yuma County and the Caballeros de Yuma join forces to kick off the birthday weekend with a bang, including fireworks and the dedication of a permanent Centennial plaza honoring "Arizona 100-Year Families." More information, 928-373-1010.
YUMA CROSSING DAY / REDONDO DAYS, HISTORIC NORTH END > Feb. 11, 2012
Yuma Crossing Day has long celebrated Yuma's rich heritage with costumed re-enactors and more. This year, the fiesta will also reunite the descendants of Jose Maria Redondo, Yuma's first mayor and farming pioneer. Adobe brick makers, handmade tortillas and heritage crafts. More info, www.arizonahistoricalsociety.org, 928-782-1841
CENTENNIAL FANDANGO & FIREWORKS, HISTORIC DOWNTOWN > Feb. 14, 2012
Yuma's own special birthday party will feature music by Lorenzo Chavez, dancing, fireworks and a tri-tip barbecue wrangled by the Caballeros de Yuma. More info, 928-373-5198
100TH ANNIVERSARY BIRTHDAY BASH FOR THE HISTORIC YUMA THEATRE > Feb. 21, 2012
Originally built as a vaudeville venue, the Historic Yuma Theatre later morphed into a movie house - and has retained its role as a downtown entertainment center offering a variety of programming as the heart of the Yuma Art Center. This free celebration of the theatre's century mark will feature birthday cake, local entertainers, music, flags, history and fun. More info, 928-373-5202.
HISTORY OF ARIZONA at the MUSEUM OF HISTORY IN GRANITE > Ongoing
The nonprofit Museum of History in Granite dedicated its granite panels detailing the history of Arizona for the ages a year ahead of the Centennial. Located just eight miles west of downtown Yuma, this California location is a great place to catch up on Arizona milestones, as well as the history of California, the United States - and humanity on general. More info, www.historyingranite.org, 760-572-0100
More to come? In all likelihood, yes - once we get the party started, it's hard to slow us down! Check for updates at www.visityuma.com or www.yumacalendar.org .
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.
Ann Walker, 928-376-0100 (office), 928-210-9044 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
YVB Visitor Information Center: 1-800-293-0071
Online at www.visityuma.com
The Yuma Visitors Bureau is always happy to assist members of print, digital and broadcast media, either on assignment or pitching an idea with a Yuma angle.
Media Relations Specialist Ann Walker can suggest itineraries and facilitate visits, or provide you with the inspired details to help nail down an assignment. We pride ourselves on always going "above and beyond."
You can download background and "anytime" materials below; dated press releases appear "most recent first" at left. Call or email us for photos and B-roll video.
YVB periodically hosts group and individual press trips, and is glad to partner with other Arizona or California DMOs to coordinate a visit to several regions.
For more information, contact Ann Walker at 928-376-0100 (office), 928-210-9044 (cell) or email email@example.com. Thanks for your interest in the Yuma area.