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Calendar in world's sunniest destination full of bright ideas
Yuma’s bright autumn skies are even more beautiful when decorated by colorful hot-air balloons – and this year, the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival happens one week earlier than usual, on Nov. 11-13. The event features mass ascensions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, plus the fan-favorite “glow” Saturday night when burners are fired to light up the balloons like giant light bulbs. More info, CRCBalloons.com, 928.343.1715.
Kids of all ages love the Dorothy Young Memorial Electric Light Parade – and you will, too! This old-fashioned community event kicks off the holiday season Dec. 10 with a theme of “A Wild West Christmas.” Lots of cute kids and animals join dazzling marching bands and illuminated floats on a route that winds through the Historic North End. Info, VisitYuma.com, 800.293.0071.
Scores of vendors and families compete for “best tamale” bragging rights at the annual Somerton Tamale Festival Dec. 17. More than 85,000 tamales in varieties from savory to sweet are served up, along with a full-day menu of live music and entertainment. Sponsored by El Diabilito Arizona State University Alumni Club, this fest funds local scholarships, so come hungry and eat for a cause! Get info at 928.388.4837 orSomertonTamaleFestival.com.
Head ‘em off at the pass! Old West reenactment groups from around the region ride into town forGathering of the Gunfighters, an annual showdown that takes place Jan. 7-8at Yuma Territorial Prison. There will be lots of shoutin’ and shootin’ – but there’s a serious side, too, since participants are judged not just on their skits but on the authenticity of their getups and gear. More info, YumaPrison.org,928.783.4771 or GatheringoftheGunfighters.com.
German Fest on Madison, Jan. 21 (Madison Ave. between 1st and 2nd Streets, Historic North End). Music, gut essen und bier, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.More info, 928.329.4777.
Yuma Territorial Marathon and Half-Marathon, Jan. 28 (Cocopah Casino & Resort) - This certified, chip-timed race is a good bet for fast times because it's a flat, low-altitude, out-and-back course - and January weather here is usually sunny but cool. More info, YumaMarathon.com, 928.343.1715.
Make a date to learn more about a delicious “super food” at the Yuma Date Festival Jan. 28 on Main Street in Historic Downtown. Yuma is one of the world’s leading producers of gourmet Medjool dates, and you can celebrate this natural treat with recipe contests, displays of specialized equipment, live music and entertainment – and of course, lots of tasty food, both “dated” and “undated”. Info, YumaDateFest.com, 928.373.5028.
Civil War Days, Jan. 28-29 (Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park) - True, there were no Civil War battles here - but the Quartermaster Depot was an active U.S. Army post and a strategic point of defense at the time. Authentic re-enactment groups converge for an old-school encampment and mock battles on the grassy grounds of the park. More info, YumaHeritage.com,928.373.5198.
Two Rivers Renaissance Faire, Feb. 3-5 (Yuma County Fairgrounds) - Experience the 16th century with merriment for all, including fire dancers, jugglers, lusty wenches and musicians and singers performing bawdy songs. More info, TwoRiversFaire.com, 928.257.2056.
If you’re a fan of classic American cars, point your camel toward Midnight at the OasisMarch 2-5. One of Yuma’s biggest and most popular events, this supercharged car show features more than 1,000 vintage vehicles arrayed across the spacious fields of the Ray Kroc Baseball Complex and Desert Sun Stadium, plus rides for the kids and lots of fun food. There’s a free, old-fashioned “cruise-in” downtown Thursday evening to kick off the festivities, plus tribute concerts on both Friday and Saturday nights. More info,MidnightattheOasis.net, 928.343.1715.
A county fair in the spring? In Arizona’s topsy-turvy climate, spring is harvest time – and the Yuma County Fair April 4-9 is your chance for an extra helping of traditional fun. There are barns full of 4H animals and their kids, carnival rides and games, plus an array of midway treats, many served up by local service groups. Info, YumaFair.com, 928.726.4420.
Yuma crowns its Salsa Queen and Taco King at the Tunes & Tacos Festival,April 15, where you’re likely to expand both your waistline and your taco repertoire. This tortillapalooza spreads out across the fields of the Ray Kroc Baseball Complex and Desert Sun Stadium and has grown to feature lots of free family activities and a ticketed concert in addition to mucho mas tacos. More info at TunesandTacos.com, 928.373.5040.
ARTbeat 9, April 22 (Yuma Art Center, Historic Downtown) - Enjoy a free, juried outdoor exhibit that's been recognized as one of Arizona's outstanding arts events. You'll discover an eclectic mix of recognized and emerging local, regional and international artists working in a wide variety of media. More info, YumaAZ.gov, 928.373.5202.
This is just a taste of the fun in the Yuma sun planned for the upcoming months. Get check out our calendar of events at VisitYuma.com or sign up to receive a free newsletter by email.
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