Fort Verde Days is one gigantic family reunion for the folks in Camp Verde

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Fort Verde Days began in 1956 as a celebration of the historic military fort around which the town grew.

Fort Verde Days began in 1956 as a celebration of the historic military fort around which the town grew.

The town of Camp Verde celebrates its annual homecoming for the 52nd time this weekend Oct. 10-12.

Hatched in 1956 as a celebration of the historic military fort around which the town grew, Fort Verde Days has evolved into both a family reunion and an opportunity to show off everything the community has to offer.

This year's theme is "Stories, Spirit & Spurs."

The party starts on Friday with the Bureau of Land Management's annual wild burro adoption.

Staged on the parade grounds at Fort Verde, this year's adoption program will also include two wild horse gentlers local Steve Harris and Colorado native Kenneth Koch.

The two will provide prospective owners with techniques for domesticating their adoptees.

Also on Friday there will be a kid's carnival from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., the bull Bash at 7 p.m. and something new this year, the Fort Verde Days Dinner and Storytelling program starting at 6:30 at the Community Center.

The main event, as always, will be the Fort Verde Days parade down Main Street starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

The 2008 Grand Marshal is also one of the town's best known storytellers, Howard Parrish, who usually rides at the head of the parade with the Camp Verde Cavalry.

The Cavalry will be riding in its 50 consecutive parade and for the 48th time they will be escorting the Colonel's Daughter, Camp Verde's answer to the rodeo queen. This year's Colonels Daughter is Camp Verde High School Freshman Taylor Skaggs.

Prizes will be awarded for parade entries in a variety of categories.

Besides the parade, of course, there are many other events going on during the three-day weekend.

Events at Fort Verde State Park itself include military drills and demonstrations, cannon firings, children's activities, living history exhibits, a vintage baseball game, a vintage fashion show, and more

Saturday's festivities will start with Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast at 6:30 a.m..

Town buildings will also host the Art Show Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. and the Arts & Crafts Exhibit Saturday and Sunday.

Also on town grounds is the annual Bull Bash, 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, the Kids Rodeo at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and the carnival running all three days.

At Butler Park, there will be the annual Co-Rec Softball Tournament on Oct. 10-11, with some games being played at the Heritage Field on the Yavapai-Apache reservation. Call 567-0535, ext. 132.

Saturday after the parade, Golden Bone hosts its third annual Pet Fashion Show in the Wingfield Plaza. Call 567-5555.

Sunday means the annual Fort Verde Days Roping at 9 a.m. at Arena Del Loma -- call 567-6835 for more information -- and the horseshoe tournament at Boler's Bar at noon - call 567-9983.

If you plan on coming to Camp Verde be assured there will be plenty to see and do. And come with the expectation that you will be treated like family at their annual reunion.

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