Camp Verde is losing two more principal events this year (need it be said, due to the economy), which makes it all the more noteworthy that residents can still enjoy what remains.
The question is, can more events be saved?
The Crawdad Festival was called off months ago. Now, as a sure sign of the times, Cliff Castle Casino has had to drop this fall’s Thunder Valley Rally, a charity event it has hosted for a decade. (The Sedona Marathon is suffering the same fate.)
In its first years, the Crawdad Festival struggled under the weight of its own success until the Town simply could not handle it. The Verde Valley Rangers stepped in to save it for a couple of years, but it ate them alive, too. Now, what was once a fun anomaly of the Arizona summer falls by the wayside.
Thunder Valley Rally is a more curious circumstance. Cutting staff, the casino could no longer man the motorcycle run that drew 1,000 riders to town. Did Camp Verde, just down the road, act as savior of the event that has benefited many children over the past 10 years?
No, that duty and opportunity fell to the City of Cottonwood.
It’s not quite official yet, but the City on the upper end of the Verde has already indicated its intent to sponsor the event in Old Town. Bravo to Cottonwood for at least keeping this event in the region.
Camp Verdeans have seen how hard local volunteer organizations work to put on a show. It’s tough out there, and events like Cornfest and Fort Verde Days keep visitors coming to town.
Thunder Valley Rally is certainly a regional event with benefits that spread out among many communities. Having it based out of Cottonwood is a blow to the Camp Verde area, but it has been rescued for another year and that is more than can be said of other much-loved events.