Marana Founders Day Logo

Marana Founders' Day Festival is off to a great start. The four-day festival kicked off last night with the Rotary Heritage Awards Dinner and the opening of the carnival.

Tonight - Friday - is all set to please attendees of all ages with the carnival opening at 5 p.m. at the Ora Mae Harn Park, 13250 N. Lon Adams, Road, and the Championship Rodeo opening at 7 p.m. at the Western Heritage Arena, at North Postvale Road and the Interstate 10 frontage road.

Wristbands for the carnival are $25 at the event.

Admission to the rodeo is $5 for adults; children 12 and under are admitted free.

In addition to the carnival and rodeo, the four-day festival is filled with live entertainment (see schedule below), golf tournament, a parade, an arts and crafts fair Oct. 29-30, and two special events presented by the Marana Heritage Conservancy.

Historical events

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.

"We are 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," said Smith. "We have 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 check on availability and to register, visit the Conservancy's website.

The other big news is that this year's festival marks 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.


Saturday kicks off at 7 a.m. with the Gladden Farms 10K/Half Marathon at Gladden Farms Community Park. For full details, visit


The Founders' Day parade will take place tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. KOLD news anchor Dan Marries will serve as its grand marshal. Click here for the parade route.


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.

The schedule is:


11 a.m.-11:45 a.m.: Butterfield Elementary Bobcat Chorus

Noon-12:45 p.m.: Marana High School

1 p.m.-1:45 p.m.: Good Question

2 p.m.-2:45 p.m.: Bryan Dean Trio

3 p.m.-3:45 p.m.: Greg Spivey

4 p.m.-4:45 p.m.: Cross Cut Saw

5 p.m.-5:45 p.m.: Desert Cadillacs

Concert in the Park

6 p.m.-8 p.m.: Strait Country


11 a.m.-11:45 a.m.: Greg Morton Band

Noon-12:45 p.m.: Bill Ganz Western Band

1 p.m.-1:45 p.m.: Johnny Faber and the Road Kings

2 p.m.-2:45 p.m.: Last Call Girls

3 p.m.-3:45 p.m.: Jive Bombers

Mounted Shooting Competition

Capping Sunday's events will be a Mounted Shooting Competition from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Western Heritage Arena. Admission is included with the $5 fee for general parking.


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