WESTERN FUN RIDES IN WITH THE 65th ANNUAL GOLD RUSH DAYS “OUT WICKENBURG WAY!” This event celebrates the town’s origins as a ranching & gold mining center in the days before there was a Phoenix. The heritage event was founded over 60 years ago, and today Gold Rush Days draws tens of thousands of visitors, during the three days of activities.
Festivities begin on Thursday, February 7, with the Family Fun Carnival opening at 4:00 p.m., in the downtown district.
The official opening gets underway on Friday, February 8 with the Opening Ceremonies on Frontier Street at 10:00 a.m. with gunfight demonstration with stuntman Joey Dillon, and gold rush officials kicking off the event. Friday is the only day you will be able to see beautiful classic cars on Frontier Street from 9am -3 p.m. The main festival area on Valentine Street in the historic district will see 200 arts/crafts exhibitors, a family fun carnival, photography exhibit, art show, free stage entertainment, and much more from 9:00 a.m. – 5 p.m., with the carnival running throughout the evening. One of the highlights on Friday is the first show of the Desert Stagers old fashioned melodrama, held in the historic Saguaro Theatre at 7:00 p.m., nightly throughout the celebration, and "Riders in the Sky" with entertainer Wilford Brimley at the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts. www.dewpac.org
The parade on Saturday at 10:00 a.m., is one of the largest in Arizona, with over 100 entries including close to 1,000 horses, classic auto’s, floats, marching bands, and youth groups participating. Spectators line the street as one of the largest parades in Arizona passes by. Parade Theme: “Our Heroes have always been Cowboys!”. The 4th Largest Parade in AZ - Grand Marshals-Mr. Joe Garcia, Wilford Brimley & Sons of the Pioneers, Western Author J.P.S. Brown, Mrs. Mary Miller, Mayors of Wickenburg. On Saturday the main event activities are the same, but include the additions of a Western Barbeque, and the first performance of the Senior Professional Rodeo held at 2:00 p.m. at the Everett Bowman Arena, located off of Constellation Road, just one mile east of the downtown area. Admission is $10 adults, $9 seniors, $6 students, children $3, and under 5 Free. Gates open at Noon. Again this year is the addition of the Grand Canyon PRCA Rough Stock to the rodeo.
Sunday, the activities include the arts/crafts area, gold panning, family carnival, rodeo performance, melodrama, and special day events such as the Lioness Club Pancake Breakfast at 7:30 am – 11 am inside the Community Center; traditional Mining events - Mucking & Drilling Contest at 10:00 a.m. where contestants compete for money and prizes and spectators can bid in a Calcutta Auction for a contestant; and the Arizona Gold Panning Championship, where contestants compete for money and prizes while panning for gold starts at 1:00 p.m.
The second performance of the Senior Pro Rodeo is at 2 p.m. This annual celebration is one of the Signature Heritage events for Wickenburg, and was named in 2009 as Arizona’s Best Special Rural Event by the Arizona Office of Tourism. This event was selected by the Library of Congress, and named as one of America’s Living Legacies. For more information, and tickets call (928) 684-5479 Tickets for the Webb Center concert call 928-684-6624 Join us this year as Wickenburg celebrates its 150th birthday!