Oracle, the unincorporated gathering of thousands at the northern foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains, puts on its 24th annual Oracle Oaks Festival this weekend.

While the carnival runs Friday night through Sunday, Saturday is the day of focus. A parade, food and craft booths, music, a barbecue, a quilt raffle and more are part of the event, which is the primary annual fund-raiser for the Oracle Community Center.

"Oracle is not an incorporated town. We do not have city government, or town government, there's no funding from any government source," said center treasurer Julie Szekely. "We are just a handful of people trying to keep this center for community activities open and available to the community."

The Oaks Festival parade gathers through 9:30 a.m. Saturday, and begins at 10 a.m. at the lower Circle K, running up American Avenue to the courthouse. Late entries are welcome.

Food and craft booths are set for the community center parking lot from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Musicians take the stage from late morning through 10 p.m. A raffle drawing for a quilt is at 1 p.m.

The Mammoth Trumpeteers, a youth music group under the direction of Drew Mansager, performs at 11 a.m. at the community center. "They're quite good," said Szekely. "You'll probably be able to hear them all over town."

Fiddler and violin instructor Jennifer Sordyl is scheduled to perform, along with Fred Terry, "Oracle's favorite beekeeper — he's the only one," Szekely said — who writes, sings and plays on the guitar songs of local interest in both English and Spanish. "He's a lot of fun to listen to," said Szekely. Guitarist, song-writer and outdoors enthusiast Drew Signor is performing as well.

Saturday evening, Mother Cody's Band plays during the barbecue and dance. Its members are known locally as the Friday Night Jammers, drawing their name from Buffalo Bill Cody's Hi-Jinx Ranch and a long-ago restaurant called Mother Cody's. Among the band's members are David Liers, John Huntington, John Wasley and David Jaffrey.

The barbecue, with barbecued Italian sausage on a bun, beans and salads, is $5, and entry to the music is $5.

"We just want to deal with $5 bills," Szekely quipped.

Rides by the Midway West Amusements Carnival are running for sure Friday through Sunday, April 17-19 — and maybe Thursday — behind the Oracle Courthouse. Tickets in advance are $15, available at elementary schools, stores, the Oracle Community Center and the fire department. Tickets at the gate are $20.

The Oaks Festival needs more volunteers. For information, call 896-9326 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

'Cats Meow,' other quilt blocks raffled

Tickets are on sale for The Cats Meow Quilt, completed by Oracle residents and now hanging in the Oracle Community Center hall.

Three additional quilts are being raffled as well at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 18, during the Oracle Oaks Festival. Winners need not be present to win.

Eleven Oracle area residents each created a cat-themed quilt block using scraps of fabric. The pieces have been placed on a background, framed and sewn together. "We have this wonderful cat quilt," member Julie Szekely said.

Tickets are $5 each, "or a book of two for $10," she quipped.

The other hand-tied quilts, "not as personalized, but they're very charming," are being raffled with tickets costing $1 each, or a book of six for $5, Szekely added.

There are a number of activities at the Oracle Community Center, including:

• Hand sewing appliqué techniques taught at the weekly sewing bee and tea. Residents are invited to "bee busy with us" from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoons at the Oracle Community Center.

• A beargrass basket class with be taught in the fall. Call or e-mail Susie Cochran ( or 896-2935) to register.

• A potluck lunch is served each Monday at noon at the center, with the main entrée provided by a volunteer. The Oracle Community Center asks that you bring a dish to share or contribute a donation of $4 for members or $5 for guests.

• Ongoing activities include canasta, Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon; bingo, Mondays from 1 to 2 p.m.; and bridge, Tuesdays from 12:30 to 4 p.m.

The Oracle Community Center is located at 685 E. American Ave., Oracle. Anyone with questions may contact Michael Carnes at, 480-620-6989, or by calling the Oracle Community Center at 520-896-9326.

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