Everybody loves a parade and that is one reason the Town of Marana has made Founder’s Day their fourth signature event. Unlike their other three events, Founder’s Day has a parade element that their other events lack.
The town is working with the Marana Heritage Conservancy to put on the event that has been under the conservancy’s watchful eye the past few years. Now the two entities are working together to try to improve upon the already popular event.
According to Marana Special Events Coordinator Monique Meza, the goal was to take the most popular portions of past events and make them even better.
“We are really trying to hone in on the things that we feel have worked really well in the past,” Meza said. “We want this to feel like as much of a community event as possible. We really want to highlight the people that make Marana special.”
The parade is at the center of the day’s events and this year’s theme is celebrating Marana’s 40th Anniversary. All floats either need to celebrate the 40 years of Marana or highlight a specific moment in Marana’s history. They are trying to find ways to improve or “amp up” the parade and that will include a greater emphaisis on the route of the Main Street area. There will be additional entertainment in the area, bleachers and that is where the parade judging will occur. Parking on the route will be suspended during the parade and portions of Lon Adams will also be closed to traffic in an effort to improve safety.
Parking will be available at the MHC Health Center and by the fire station to allow easier access to the Main Street area.
“We want to make at easy as we can to make it easy for people to access that area and watch from that area,” Meza said.
Towards the south end of the park will be the entertainment area, the beer garden and the vintage tractor show. Among the acts planned for the town stage includes Mariachis, Chinese dancers and a number of other local acts. There was an emphasis this year on acts from the community. Adjacent to the main stage will be the beer garden, where adults can enjoy a beer while checking out the entertainment.
Over on the soccer field will be the food vendors. 17 different vendors are expected, including the Marana Food Bank who will be doing a pancake breakfast fundraiser. Next to the food will be 50 non-food vendors.
There will be plenty of fun to have for all ages, including inflatables for the kids and “old fashioned” family games like sack races and beanbag toss.
There will also be a car show in the dirt parking lot to the north of the dog park.
Although the town has made Founder’s Day one of their signature events, the Marana Heritage Conservancy had a big role in planning the event. Unlike most of the signature events, Founder’s Day was planned using a few small committees made up of town staff, conservancy volunteers and even a few members of the community. The idea was to take what has worked well in the past, jettison things that did not, and improve the whole experience.
Founder’s Day festivities start at 9 a.m., with the parade starting at 10, and run until 3 p.m.