CAMP VERDE - When Carlie Androus's sister volunteered her to take over planning for Fort Verde Days, Androus hadn't a clue what she was doing.
"I honestly didn't know the first thing about it. I had been to Fort Verde Days, but that was about it," she says.
That was three years ago. Having planned and carried out the last two celebrations, Androus says she has learned a lot.
She has learned that no one can plan such an event alone. It takes help -- lots and lots of help -- of which there never seems to be enough (hint...volunteers always welcomed).
She has also learned a bit about what works and what doesn't work. And she has learned she has a lot more to learn.
"It's a big learning curve," she says
But for all she has yet to learn, she has a clear idea of what Fort Verde Days needs to be.
"From the beginning, the vision has been to keep its old-timey, hometown feel. We don't ever want to lose that," she says.
But that has not kept her from reaching outside the box to find ways of keeping the 55-year-old tradition fresh.
The idea this year, she says, is to create an event that lives up to its theme of "Honoring Our Military," while having enough stuff to do that anyone would want to come downtown and stay downtown.
That's why this year there will be fly-in by Camp Verdean Maj. Chris Bass and his Arizona Air National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, just to get everyone's blood pumping on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
And that's why there's a square dance on Friday night, and a chance to have a friend arrested in the Jail-a-Thon, and a visit by one of the last surviving Navajo code talkers, and a kids rodeo, and a vintage baseball game, and music, and raffles, and beer, and bulls, and bingo, and blacksmiths and lots more stuff.
And, of course, there will be a parade on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
Only this time, hang around and check out all the goings on before going home.
Fort Verde Days events
Friday, October 7th
4 - 11pm Carnival Opens located at the Soccer Field
5pm - 10pm Beer Garden
5:30pm - 7pm Square Dance calling/lessons
7pm Bull Bash at Cliff Castle. Adults $10, Kids $5
7pm - 9:30pm Live Music at the Stage area / field featuring Dave Rice.
Saturday, October 8th
7:30am - 9:30am Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast at the Community Center
8:30am Blackhawk Landing at Fort Verde
9:00am Flag raising at Fort Verde
10am Parade on Main Street
10am - 3pm Arizona Artist Blacksmith demo at the historic jail
After Parade Jail-A-Thon by Historical Society
11am - 11pm Carnival at the Soccer Field
11am - 10pm Beer Garden
11:30am - 1:30pm Code Talker Dan Akee
11:30am - 5pm Art Show Exhibit in Rooms 206 - 207
1pm Presentation of Colonel's Daughter at Stage Area / Soccer Field
1pm Blackhawk UH-60 departure
1:30 Kids Rodeo @ Cliff Castle-adults $5-kids under 5 $1.00
1:30 Presentation by Dr. Sam Palmer on Battle of Big Dry Wash
1:30pm Parade Trophy Presentation at Stage Area / Soccer Field
2pm Vintage Baseball game
2:30pm Period Fashion Show
2:30pm - 6:30pm Entertainment at Stage Area / Soccer Field
4pm -8pm Bingo at the Community Center - great prizes!
4:30pm Flag Retreat Ceremony
7pm Bull Bash at Cliff Castle. Adults $10, Kids $5.
7:00pm - 9:30pm Live Music at Stage Area / Soccer Field featuring Happy Days at the stage from 7 - 9
9pm Drawing for raffles at the stage (winner must be present to win).
Sunday, October 9th
9:00am Flag Raising at Fort Verde
9:00am Calvary Drill at Fort Verde
10:00am - 4:00pm Art Show at Room 206 - 207
10:00am Infantry Drill at Fort Verde
10:00am Carnival Opens at Soccer Field
10:00am Infantry Drill
10:30am Period Church service (non-denominational) in front of Commanding Officers Quarters
11:00am Mike Peach - Cowboy Poetry
11:00am Speakers & Presentations
1:30pm Drill (as available)
2:00pm Flag Retreat Ceremony
PLUS BOTH DAYS
Dutch Oven cooking demonstrations
Living History presentations
Children's Games & Camp Displays
Cavalry, Infantry & Artillery drills
Cannon (pending availability)