Marana Founders’ Day Festival is all set for this weekend. The four-day festival is filled with carnival rides, live entertainment, a parade, an arts and crafts fair, and two special events presented by the Marana Heritage Conservancy.

The first is an exhibit of 100 years of Marana history. It will be on display Oct. 29-30 in the central ramada at Ora Mae Harn Park.

Included will be a tractor exhibit, historical displays, videos, photos and maps, and displays by other nonprofit organizations. The Conservancy’s historical compilation “Pioneering People on a Corridor of Change” will also be available, said Joan Smith, secretary for the Conservancy. 

The group is creating exhibits for farming and ranching, mining, World War II, Titan Missile sites, and a timeline of the development of Marana. There will be videos showing vintage photos of the Mercantile District before the freeway, the Santa Cruz floods, cotton production and much more, according to Smith. There will be large aerial views of the area showing 1937 compared to 2000, and an enlarged topographical map of historic sites within the Marana sphere of influence. The Explorer’s “Tribute to Ora Mae Harn” will be on view as well.

The exhibit also will feature a booth by the Central Arizona Project, who will provide information on water usage, development and preservation. CAP also will conduct tours at its Twin Peaks Water Station.

The Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Association, Anza Trail Coalition, and Saguaro National Park West also will participate.

Also a special treat, Conservancy board member John Scheuring has arranged for tours to the Silverbell Copper Mine. This is the only time the mine will be open for tours.

Adult-only tours will take place Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. Priority will be given to former mine employees and their families.

Transportation to the mine will be provided. The tour itself lasts about 90 minutes. The cost is $10.

Afternoon tours will depart at 1. These one-hour tours are open to adults and children over 10 years. The cost is $10, or $20 per family.

To sign up, visit the town’s website at

The other big news is that this year’s festival will mark the first time the event will stretch over more than one day and the first time the event is being held in October. The move allows people who might have been on spring break in March, when the festival was traditionally held, to attend the fall event.

The Founders’ Day parade will take place the morning of Oct. 29. KOLD news anchor Dan Marries will serve as its grand marshal.

Wristbands for the carnival can be purchased in advance for $18. They are available at the Marana Municipal Complex on Civic Center Drive, the Marana Parks and Recreation Administration building on North Lon Adams, and the Marana Operations Center on Ina Road.

At the carnival, the wristbands will cost $25.

The extra activities also are made possible by the town’s partnership with the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance. SAACA has already booked a full calendar of live entertainment as well as an arts and crafts festival.

Marana Founders’ Day Festival is an official event of the Arizona Centennial celebration, and appears on the state’s calendar.

If you go

What: Marana Founders’ Day Festival

When: Oct. 27-30

Where: Ora Mae Harn Park, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road, Marana

Parking: Free on Thurs. & Fri., $5 on Sat. & Sun.

For more information, visit

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.