OTA optimistic for big 2009

Lisa Pender is the president of the Old Town Association.

Lisa Pender is the president of the Old Town Association.

COTTONWOOD - The Old Town Association of Historic 89A in Cottonwood is optimistic about a super year during 2009.

More events have been planned, more businesses have moved in, more affiliations have been made, and more officers are in position to help make it all happen. These are promising and exciting times.

Repeat events for 2009 include the traditional Chocolate Walk, October's Safe Night, and the brand new Walkin' On Main: a Walking Tour of History, Art & Wine, in collaboration with the City of Cottonwood's Parks & Recreation Department.

New events for 2009 include a quarterly Classic Car Cruiz'In with shifting era appeal, a monthly Second Saturday Art Walk to honor all of the new art galleries and antique stores, and an annual Yard Sale allowing merchants and residents mutual participation.

Also exciting news for this year, the annual Memorial Run on Saturday, May 30, will have its first stop right at Kactus Kate's on Historic 89A.

The OTA is also negotiating for inclusion in the Verde Valley Toy Run this fall plus other annual motorcycle runs. In 2010 we hope to add in an annual Easter Weekend Cookie Walk, and bring back the Spring Art Walk & Film Festival to recognize Old Town's inclusion in quite a filmmaking history.

For tourists coming in, there is no end to the entertainment. Cottonwood is the hub of the wheel, the heart of the Verde Valley, the books to be read between the bookends of Prescott and Flagstaff, Jerome, Sedona, Page Springs' and Camp Verde's wineries, the Verde Canyon Railroad, Blazin' M Ranch and a multitude of State and National Parks, and Native American Indian Ruins.

Added to its appeal are also the newly renovated Old Town Center for the Arts with top notch talent playing weekly performances, the F-Stop restaurant now offering Friday and Saturday Dinners A La Carte or Prix Fixe, Crema with fresh gelato and now serving meals as well, the Old Town Jail's upcoming renovation to possibly house the Verde Valley Wine Consortium, and a new Self-Guided Walking History Tour compiled by The Cottonwood Hotel.

Even as we type these words: ADOT (AZ Dept. of Transportation) has approved remarking of the Historic 89A signage through town; renovation plans are being made with Ledbetter Law Firm to update and reinstall neon lighting to the antique Shep's Liquors sign, converting it to welcome folks; and the old Willy's is being converted to another nostalgic eatery.

Other established restaurants include Nic's and the Tavern Grille, Hog Wild, and the newer Thai Palace, Green Garden and Concho's Mexican.

During your stay, accommodation options include: The Historic Cottonwood Hotel, which has been lodging to some famous stars, including Mae West and John Wayne; The Sundial Motel for its old stone courtyard and artistic flair; and The Annabel Inn, Cottonwood's first Bed & Breakfast and an eco-friendly 3-Leaf European Cottage.

Lisa Pender of Little Lisa's is continuing her duties as president, Annabel Sclippa of The Annabel Inn has replaced Karen Piper of Desert Rose Designs as vice president, Patt Manheim of the Manheim Gallery has taken over as treasurer, Nick Hunseder has become the secretary and has taken over www.oldtown.org for Richard Stites of Javadog Gallery, and Trecia Taylor of Orion Bread has taken the newly made position of event coordinator.

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