More than any other event in town, the Marana Founders’ Day celebrates local people and culture. And this year’s Founders’ Day celebration brings the cultural exploration to another level, by examining the past, present and future of the community.
“We’re bringing in all the cultural groups that can point back to the people currently in Marana, and those who inhabited the area before us,” said Monique Hagberg, Town of Marana Special Events Coordinator.
While every Founders’ Day celebration focuses on the history of Marana, the plan is for this year’s to look both forward and back; the festival features booths and exhibits displaying Marana’s history, including Native American history, a presentation from the Chinese Cultural Center, a performance by Ballet Folklorico Xochitl and more.
“We’re trying to highlight the melting pot of Marana,” Hagberg said. “Other town events are about our agriculture, or celebrating the holiday season, but Founders’ Day is about the people.”
Members of the Anway family, celebrating 100 years since arriving in the Marana area, will serve as marshals for the Founders’ Day parade.
“Founders’ Day, by its very terminology, is for anyone who helped develop the community,” said Marana Mayor Ed Honea, whose own family dates back multiple generations in the region. “And this year we’ll honor the Anway Family as founders of the community.”
As for the future, Marana Development Services will discuss the town’s “General Plan 2040.” This plan in the town’s “roadmap to the future,” documenting the town’s growth over the next few decades. It includes housing developments, environmental planning, water resources, public services and major project scheduling.
The “Present” part of the theme includes recurring Founders’ Day favorites. The classic parade includes horses, tractors, first responders, floats and more. Participating groups include Boy and Girl Scout Troops, the Chamber of Commerce and members of the Tucson Rodeo. The parade is even open to any members of the community interested in participating to show off their Marana pride.
“We’re trying to pinpoint that cultural identity of Marana as much as possible,” Hagberg said. “We work very hard to create something for the community, made up of the community.”
Food vendors include: Maui Wowie Hawaiian Coffees & Smoothies, Meatball Madness, Sweet Sensations Ice Cream & Candy, The Magnolia Blossom, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Just Churros and more. Nonfood vendors include: Marana-Foothills Optimist Club, AzK9Heroes, Town of Marana Community & Neighborhood Services and more.
“I enjoy the parade because it’s a chance to get out and talk to some of the people, to talk about our past. It’s just an opportunity to bring people together.” Honea said. “You can learn so much from the past, but of course the future is so important to focus on in a community.”
The event will be emceed by Teri Murphy, who knows the town better than most. Murphy has served as Vice President for the Arizona Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, Chairperson for the Marana Main Street Festival and sponsored several local charity events.
While last year’s Founders’ Day celebration took place in Downtown Marana surrounding the roundabout behind Town Hall (the same location the Town uses for their Holiday Festival), this year the event will be held in the Town Hall courtyard.
“Any event the town does is to point back to the community as a whole,” Hagberg said. “But Founders’ Day is the one that does it the most.”
Marana Founders’ Day in Downtown Marana takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 30. The parade runs from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and the festival lasts from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 13395 N. Marana Main Street.