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Spirit of Yuma Festival celebrates military past, present

Jan. 21-23 event includes two venues


YUMA, ARIZONA – Yuma will salute its past and showcase the present-day military installations that help support both the national defense and local economy with a double-barreled “Spirit of Yuma” celebration set for Jan. 21-23.

Sponsored by the Yuma Visitors Bureau with the cooperation and support of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground, the festival will spread over three days in two venues, with continuous shuttle service between the two locations.  Festival hours at both locations are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park (201 N. Fourth Ave.), itself an historic military installation, will host military-specific exhibits, speakers and activities, while Main Street in the historic downtown will be the site of an arts and crafts festival featuring a wide variety of vendors and demonstrations by local artists.

Among the special features scheduled for the Quartermaster Depot will be a talk by Navajo Code Talker Bill Toledo at noon on Saturday, along with daily performances by the 36th Army Band Brass Quintet.  A Harrier flyover is scheduled for Saturday.

The Quartermaster Depot will also have a wide variety of military equipment on display, along with the airplane and car that set a world record for continuous flight in 1949.  The City of Yuma, an Aeronca Sedan that stayed aloft for 46 days and 20 hours from August 24 to October 10, drew attention to Yuma’s year-round perfect flying weather – and helped persuade the military to reopen Fly Field (now MCAS Yuma) and Yuma Test Branch (now Yuma Proving Ground).

One of the pilots who set the world record, Woody Jongeward, will make special appearances at the Festival (exact times TBD), along with Horace Griffin, a driver of the refueling car that matched the airplane’s speed so that volunteers could hand up food and fuel to the pilots from the back of the Buick convertible.  The authors of a book about the endurance flight (The Longest Flight: Yuma’s Quest for the Future), Shirley Woodhouse and Jim Gillespie, also will be on hand, and signed copies of the book will be available at the Visitor Information Center.

Visitors can get a look at the military past with free guided tours of the Yuma Quartermaster Depot (daily at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.), which supplied all the forts in the Southwest before the coming of the railroad.

Special bus trips to Yuma Proving Ground’s Heritage Area are set for 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday (no Sunday trips).  The $10 per person cost covers roundtrip motor coach transportation from the festival to YPG; museum entry is free.  Tickets for the bus trips go on sale at YVB’s Main Street event headquarters at 9 a.m. on Friday for the Friday trips and at 9 a.m. on Saturday for the Saturday trips.  The event headquarters tent is located at 3rd and Main streets downtown and the buses will depart and return from the corner of 1st and Main streets downtown.

Also at event headquarters downtown, the first 500 visitors each day can pick up a special “welcome bag” stuffed with information and special offers from YVB members.  To sweeten the pot, a select number of gift bags will also contain valuable gift cards.

Exhibitors at the Quartermaster Depot will include Daughters of the American Revolution, Marines for Life, Military Officers Association of America, Yuma Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, Vietnam Veterans of American Chapter 835, Bureau of Reclamation, American Legion Riders and various units and squadrons from MCAS Yuma.  American Legion Post 19 also will operate a beer tent on site.

Educational presentations will be offered at the Quartermaster Depot throughout the festival (exact schedule TBD) on topics including: the endurance flight; Early World War II and YPG During the War; General Patton's Desert Training Center; Yuma’s Armed Forces Park; History of the QMD; and panels with Marines from Yuma squadrons

Yuma Visitors Bureau markets the Yuma area within the travel and tourism industry and to the general public.  The nonprofit is funded in part by City of Yuma hospitality tax revenues.


Contact information:  Ann Walker, 928-376-0100 (office); 928-210-9044 (cell);
Visitor Information Center: 1-800-293-0071, 928-783-0071

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.

Visit Yuma team 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 Linda Morgan at 928-376-0100 (office), email Thanks for your interest in the Yuma area.

'Anytime' releases:

Around & about - a quick Yuma overview

Brilliant! Yuma wears 'sunniest' label with pride

Last link in river restoration under way


Background info:

Fast Facts About YVB

 Fast Facts About Yuma 

Yuma history - narrative

Yuma historic timeline


Research and statistics

Yuma Winter Visitors Study 2017-2018

Yuma Winter Visitors Study 2017-2018 Executive Summary

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