Fourth of July — 21st Century style<br>Fun, food, fireworks in store for Verde Valley

It may be the first Independence Day of the new century (or the last one of the 20th Century), but good old-fashioned fun will rule the Verde Valley on the Fourth of July.

Parades, races, games, food and music are all in the works. And watch for the fireworks.

Clarkdale and Beaver Creek get started early Tuesday. Clarkdale’s annual pancake breakfast, a fundraiser for the town’s police and fire departments, runs from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Beaver Creek School PACTS hosts the 7 a.m. pancake breakfast in that community at the Adult Center.

A children’s parade, with contests and prizes, begins at 10 a.m. in Clarkdale. The Clark Memorial Library hosts an ice cream social at 10:30 a.m., and the Parks and Recreation Commission will be running kids’ games all during the morning.

The Clarkdale Fire Department will run a “bounce house” instead of the usual water games. Displays and vendors will be available during the July Fourth celebration.

To raise money to restore the historic gazebo in the park, Clarkdale will also have a silent auction and drawings. Auction items include an afghan, a cultured marble vanity top, first-class tickets on Verde Canyon Railroad, digital artwork, dinner at Main Street Cafe and one year of internet service from Wild Apache.

Donated drawing prizes include certificates from many area dining establishments and shops. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5. For more information about the Clarkdale events, call Town Hall at 634-9591.

The Beaver Creek parade, marshaled by Frank and Alice Sheets, begins at 9:30 a.m. down Montezuma Avenue. The Adult Center Sundae Social is on from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with entertainment by Jim Radford, the Foxie Fillies and other local groups.

An antique care and engine show takes over Rollins Park from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Beaver Creek Baptist Church hosts a free lunch of barbecued hot dogs, and parade ribbons will be awarded during lunch. Rickers Pickers and Radford will provide the entertainment.

At noon, the Montezuma-Rimrock Fire department will have a fire show and display, and the climbing wall will be open. The annual Duck Race hits the water at 2 p.m. at the Beaver Creek Bridge. First place gets 25 percent of the total amount raised, and there are several other prizes. This Kiwanis event helps raise money for scholarships and local projects.

Ducks may be purchased at area businesses such as Alpha Centauri, The Country Store, Rimrock Realty, Rimrock Mercantile, the Lunch Box, Larry’s Barbershop, Beaver Creek Adult Center, Crickets, Coldwell banker Real Estate in Lake Montezuma, McGuireville Mini-Mart or Ralstons Sporting Goods.

The Lake Montezuma Regatta Model Sailboat Race begins at 3:30 p.m. at the Lake Montezuma dock. The Fourth of July Barbecue starts at 4:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the Adult Center. For more information about the Beaver Creek events, call Bill Cowan at 567-7331.

The town of Jerome will have a local family program for residents on the Fourth of July starting at 3 p.m. There will be kids’ games, and there might be a surprise at the end of the evening.

Cottonwood’s Fantastic Family Fourth of July Celebration gets going at 3:30 p.m. at the Cottonwood Kids Park by the fairgrounds. There will be children’s games, a superslide waterslide and basketball bounce.

At 4 p.m. hamburgers, hot dogs and watermelons are served, but don’t eat too much if you’re jumping into the contests. There will be foot races for all ages, potato sack races, pie-eating contests and watermelon-eating contests and other foolish pleasures.

The Cottonwood Community Youth Band toots its own horn at 7 p.m. There will be a VFW Color Guard at 7:45 p.m. with a salute to the veterans.

At approximately 8:50 p.m., a fireworks extravaganza caps off the Independence Day celebration in style. Admission and parking for the events are free.

For more information about the Fantastic Family Fourth, call the Cottonwood Parks and Recreation Department at 639-3200.

Music will be at the heart of Cliff Castle Casino’s three-day Stars and Bars Festival.

Sunday, baking contests start at 10 a.m. Mogollon performs at the Dragonfly Lounge. Tickets are $5.

Monday, there will be more contests, midway games and the big arts and crafts booths. The Neville Brothers take the outdoor stage at 8:30 p.m.

The show will include music from the group’s newest album Valence Street, named for the New Orleans street where the four brothers — Art, Charles, Aaron and Cyril — grew up. Tickets are $15.

July Fourth will be the Country Music Festival and fair at the casino, with Kenny Chesney headlining at 8:30 p.m.

Chesney has become a top name in the world of country with a string of top 10 and number-one hits including, “How Forever Feels” and “When I Close My Eyes.” Tickets are $20.

For more information on the casino’s Stars and Bars Festival, call 567-7999.

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