'Walkin' on Main' and Arizona's Centennial celebrated in Old Town Cottonwood Saturday

Arizona's "Duke of Blues," the Tommy Dukes Blues Band will return to this year's Walkin' on Main celebration in Old Town Cottonwood.

Arizona's "Duke of Blues," the Tommy Dukes Blues Band will return to this year's Walkin' on Main celebration in Old Town Cottonwood.

The Verde Valley is a lot of history. Some of it comes together in Old Town Cottonwood's Walkin on Main celebration of Historic 89A and the State of Arizona's Centennial Nov. 12 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Savor a taste of the past and the present on a traditional Main Street, complete with today's music, art and wine plus a variety of specialty shops on the side.

For the celebration, Old Town's Main Street will be blocked off and lined with tents for art and stages for bands and the blues.

Two big tents will contain a juried art show, surrounded by the charming galleries, shops and local foods of Old Town Cottonwood. Live music plays throughout the day.

Sample the art

A juried art show surrounded by the galleries, shops and local restaurants of Old Town Cottonwood will fill the streets of this historic section of town.

The theme of this year's art show is Landmarking Historic 89A. The show jury will pick one piece to receive a $350 cash prize. In addition, the jury will select artists to participate in the Fall 2011 exhibition at sponsoring Old Town Cottonwood galleries. A big thanks to the newly opened Maison Gallery for helping facilitate the show, and jurists: Patt Manheim, former professor and director of MANHEIM GALLERY; Michelle Craven, co-owner of Tilt Gallery; Rachel Woodburn, Art Department Chair of Scottsdale Community College and intermedia artist; and Donna Chesler, owner of Gallery 527, founding member of Jerome Art Walk, and the first art show liaison for Walkin' on Main. Local schools will also be displaying art from up and coming artists.

Camp Verde, Sedona, Cottonwood, and Jerome will all be represented with well-known artist organizations, art from two local high schools, and individual artists.

The Mingus Union Art Club will be creating Sidewalk Chalk Art live before your eyes.

Live music plays throughout the day

The main stage will feature some of entertainers such as The Sugar Thieves, Knuckleheads, and the Tommy Dukes Band.

"Arizona's finest meat-shaking blues band" is how the Sugar Thieves describe their well-greased act that has made them a regular on Central Avenue. They just returned after a road tour that included a three-day run at Telluride Music Festival.

According to Jazz on the Green in Omaha, Neb., "Whether its lead vocalist Meredith Moore's extraordinary set of pipes or Shea Marshall's ability to play two saxophones at a time, The Sugar Thieves performance is like a rumbling freight train that shakes people of all ages to their feet."

Winners of AZ State Blues Competition two years in a row, voted Best Blues Band for '08 and '09, and nominated by the New Times for "Best Americana Band" in their Summer of Sound category adorn their local music resume, but the talent and excitement doesn't end there.

A Flagstaff regular, Tommy Dukes is back again. His blues band was a recent act at the 15th anniversary celebration of the Rhythm Room in Phoenix.

Self-proclaimed "backwoods boogie-woogie R&B" band, The Knuckleheads feature five of the Verde Valley's key crooners: guitarists Gary Morgan and Manny Inigo; bass player, George Gehlert, drummer John Tenny, and sax aficionado, Michael (Shorty) Reed.  Their repertoire is a unique mix of Tex Mex, Rock, Rhythm & Blues... but who can ever say for sure.

Have a palate for wine?

A wide number of Verde Valley winemakers and vineyards will host an outdoor wine tasting venue. Participating wineries and vineyards include: Alcantara Vineyards, Page Springs Cellars, Javelina Leap Winery, Jerome Winery, Pillsbury Winery, Freitas Winery, AZ Stronghold and Bitter Creek.

Rounding out the event will be displays from local historical societies, antique and classic cars organized by the Mingus Union Hot Rod Club, and self-guided historic tours of Old Town Cottonwood provided by the Cottonwood Hotel.

Walkin on Main was the brainchild of Cottonwood Councilman Terence Pratt, but he gives the Park and Recreation Department and a lot of volunteers the credit for making it a success.

He is pleased at the way it has evolved. It brings visitors to town.

"I met a lot of people last year who said they came from the Phoenix or somewhere else just for Walkin on Main."

"I hoped it would be successful, but had some concern about shutting down the road the first year worried that businesses would have a bad day. But, it was the opposite ... They all said they had great days."

It brings artists out in the open. It's good for wineries and all the shops and there are a lot of extras thrown in.

"Some business people now say that it has been so successful, they would like to see Walkin on Main two times a year."

For more information contact the Cottonwood Parks and Recreation Department at (928) 639-3200 or check out the city website at http://cottonwoodaz.gov/parksrec/walkin.php.

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