Marana Founders' Day

The Founders’ Day Parade includes various aspects of everyday life in Marana.

This Saturday is the return of Marana Founders’ Day, one of my favorite events in the town. Founders’ Day is a great way to remember Marana’s humble beginnings, while also celebrating where we are going as a community. 

I take great pride in our community, and love showing it off during our signature events. At Founders’ Day, we remember how the town’s founders came together over 40 years ago to protect the water rights of local farmers. Many of those families, including my own, still call Marana home. 

Marana’s history dates back further than its incorporation in the 1970s. Western people have settled here since the late 1800s, and in the 1930s the residents in the area came together to form the Cortaro-Marana Irrigation District in an effort to protect water resources and purchase electrical power at a low rate.

Once again, Founders’ Day will be located at the Marana Municipal Complex in the heart of Downtown Marana. The first Marana Town Hall was in a small strip mall on the corner of Sanders and Marana Road. Today, we have a beautiful, modern complex that has become even more striking with the addition of our brand-new police facility.

The highlight of Founders’ Day is the parade. To me, the parade sums up how diverse and interesting Marana is. Horseback riders travel the same parade route as modern police vehicles. We will have marching bands, kids on bicycles and floats. We will also have vintage tractors that harken back to Marana’s farming roots travelling alongside giant concrete mixers that remind us that we live in one of the fastest growing communities in the state. 

The floats represent so many great organizations that make Marana a great town. All of the schools from Marana Unified School District as well as the Open Doors School are represented, as is MHC Healthcare, Northwest Fire and so many of our great churches. The Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts will be in the parade, as will organizations like 4-H, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Marana-Foothills Optimists Club and the Shriners. Truly a cross section of Marana.

The Anway Family will serve as the Grand Marshalls of the Parade. They represent the families that have called Marana home for generations. The Anway family first arrived in Marana over 100 years ago. They were among the first families to plant cotton, and were the first to sink a well in Avra Valley and bring dairy cows to the area. 

It is exciting to welcome so many generations of the family to the festivities, and I believe they are the perfect representatives for what Founders’ Day is all about. They are truly the history of the Town, as well as the future of this community. 

This year we are bringing the festivities to the courtyard of the Municipal Complex. Those watching the parade near MHC, Ora Mae Harn Park or the roundabout will have just a short stroll to get to all of the great activities.

Town staff will be on hand getting feedback on the next iteration of the Marana General Plan, and our Community and Neighborhood Services Department will be answering questions and helping to license and adopt dogs. A number of great local non-profits and businesses will also be on-site.  

A new addition to Founders’ Day is the Marana Art Expo. This is the second Art Expo hosted by Marana Parks and Recreation. This time, local middle and high school artists will be featured. These great works of art will be hosted in the main lobby of the Municipal Complex.

At the town we strive to provide free family activities, and Founders’ Day will be no different. This year, we will have a variety of inflatable attractions, a kids’ craft area and a small recreational train. 

I like to think there is a lot of great talent in the Town of Marana, and that talent will be showcased at Founders’ Day. We have four diverse acts performing, beginning with Ballet Folklorico Xochitl starting at 11:30 a.m., and followed by the Marana High School Choir, the Lion Dance Chinese Cultural Dancers and classic rock ban Sonora Borealis. 

Founders’ Day is about the history of the town, and there will be a number of historical and cultural displays and booths. This is a great way to learn more about Marana’s rich history.

I love Founders’ Day, and hope you will join me on Saturday to take in the festivities. See you there. 

Ed Honea is the Mayor of Marana.

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