Each year, high school rivalries take a back seat to community cooperation, when three high schools work together to present Project Graduation at Amphitheater, Canyon Del Oro, and Ironwood Ridge.
One of this year's joint projects is the "Extreme Car Show and Craft Fair," to be held Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 6 and 7, at CDO. The two-day event is a fundraiser to support the celebrations that take place the night of each high school's graduation this spring.
A "Rod Run" at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, actually jump-starts the weekend, with show cars parading from the Oro Valley Marketplace through Rancho Vistoso.
On Saturday, the excitement begins sometime before the official 10 a.m. start, when a helicopter carrying Star Wars characters is scheduled to land at James Kriegh Park next to CDO.
Car buffs can enjoy a wide range of antique and custom cars and motorcycles, with trophies to be presented in 40 categories and a number of car-related vendor booths. A special exhibit, "Power from the Past," showcases antique fly-wheel engines and tractors. Event partners Oro Valley FOP Lodge #53 will conduct a safety awareness fair and tours of the helicopter. A special Kids Corner on the CDO football field has eight inflatables, a bungee trampoline, and appearances by Tuffy, the Tucson Toros mascot.
The craft fair offers vendors an opportunity to display their jewelry, etched glass, artwork, ceramic bells, custom clothing and hand-made gifts. Food vendors offer Mexican entrees, BBQ, hot dogs, pizza, ice cream and other snacks. The North Tucson Firefighters #3832 tempt the taste buds with a gourmet sandwich booth, and are donating all proceeds after expenses.
To top off the weekend, a classic Mercedes 450SLC, donated by Lynette and Michael Prout, is being raffled to a lucky winner. Raffle tickets are $5 and include the event entry if purchased in advance. On Saturday and Sunday, the entry fee and raffle tickets are $5 each.
Event organizer Barbara Gephart said many months of planning have gone into the event. Oro Valley Police Sgt. Bruce Thomas suggested it, and a committee of about 20 parents from all three high schools has worked on the weekend.
"This community is so fabulous," Gephart said. "We've been blessed."
Project Grad is a senior's "last night of innocence. They go off the next day as adults, so this is their last moment to enjoy being kids. … It's not about the individual schools. It's about the seniors who are graduating and the safety of our kids."
Extreme Car Show and Craft Fair
Amphi School District Project Grad
Saturday, Nov. 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Canyon Del Oro High School
Pre-sale raffle ticket $5, includes admission. Event day admission tickets, $5, raffle tickets $5.
Car show entries accepted until Saturday morning. Contact Barbara Gephart at 297-4310.