Fort Verde Days turns 55 ... and still growing

CAMP VERDE - You would think that after 55 years, the annual Fort Verde Days celebration would be a fairly predictable event.

Not so.

It started in 1956 with a tour of the then community owned museum and one other building. The next year it had a parade. For a while it had two parades

The list of events of post-parade events featured a beard contest and a horseshoe contest for several years, along with a pit barbecue and can-can girls.

Originally, the events were hosted and organized by a group of citizen volunteers. Then the Town of Camp Verde took it over for a decade or so. Now it is back in private hands.

And it continues to evolve.

This year, the theme is "Honoring our Military" with the Camp Verde Cavalry serving as the color guard as well as grand marshals.

The homecoming party that follows the parade will include a jail-a-thon, art show, bull riding, kids carnival, vintage baseball game and a fly-in from an Army Blackhawk helicopter.

And yes, for the 54th time, there will be a parade.

The party starts at 4 p.m. Friday Oct 7 and through a final flag retreat ceremony on the grounds of the historic fort at 2 p.m. on Sunday Oct. 9.

The bulk of the fun stuff is on Saturday beginning with the Kiwanis breakfast at 7 a.m. The helicopter will arrive at 8:30 on the parade grounds at Fort Verde.

The parade begins at 10. The Camp Verde Historical society's jail-a-Thon will begin rounding up its victim as soon as the parade ends.

The stage will then move to fort Verde where a fashion show begins at 1, and a baseball game at 2. Admission to the state park will be waived on Saturday and Sunday.

For additional information visit www.fortverdedays.com.

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