EDITOR’S NOTE: Each afternoon in September, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, we’re spotlighting three of Arizona’s 90 wilderness areas. For more information about any of the state’s wilderness areas, visit Wilderness.net, a collaboration between several wilderness-related organizations. The information here comes from that site and the wilderness areas’ managing agencies. Always contact the managing agency before visiting a wilderness to learn about any restrictions that may be in effect. To see our entire Wild Arizona series, click here.
Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness
One of the most photographed wildernesses in Arizona (or anywhere), this area includes “The Wave,” a geologic formation visited by only a handful of people per day. Paria Canyon, meanwhile, is one of the world’s best backpacking destinations. Check weather forecasts before entering the canyon, as flash floods are possible.
Location: West of Page
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preservation, state fairgrounds, wpa administration building
WPA Administration Building | Courtesy of Will Novak, Phoenix Historic Neighborhood Coalition
As you might have heard last week, plans to demolish a 1930s-era building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds are on hold after preservation activists intervened on its behalf. The fate of the building, known variously as the State Fair Civic Building and the WPA Administration Building, is now in limbo pending a hearing today (Tuesday, July 22) at the fairgrounds.
What makes this building worthy of preservation? We reached out to Vincent Murray, a historian with Arizona Historical Research, for more information about its past and why some believe it should be preserved. If you’d like to attend today’s meeting, it’s at 4 p.m. in the second-floor Board Room in the Arizona Coliseum, 1826 W. McDowell Road in Phoenix. (Stop by the Arizona Highways gift shop while you’re in the area!)
Q: Tell us a little about the history…
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by Brenna Goth – Jul. 20, 2012 10:28 PM Green Valley News
It’s scarcely mentioned in the Tubac Historical Society’s archives, and the town’s Chamber of Commerce only lists it as privately owned. Even the owners — Tubac’s Ybarra family — don’t know much about its origins.
The 2-acre graveyard is a fixture in the town, which began under Spanish rule in the 1700s and is now regarded as an artists community. The brightly decorated burial sites, fenced by metal and barbed wire, make the cemetery a distinguishable landmark.
For 80-year-old caretaker Patricio Ybarra, the cemetery is an heirloom passed down from father to son. It’s worth his weekly maintenance to ensure that families can continue visiting their ancestors and eventually be buried among them.
“People who have relatives here have a place to bury if they want to bury,” Patricio says on a Sunday morning as he collects silk-flower scraps scattered around headstones. “That’s what we’re trying to do. And that’s why I have my son here, because he has to take over after I’m gone.”
The graves he cares for are adorned with sun-bleached mementos left by family members: a can of El Pato hot chile sauce, terracotta pots and artificial white roses depicting the Virgin Mary. A lizard sunbathes on a cracked concrete headstone while fire ants march between the weeds and scrub brush.
It’s a true desert cemetery and a relic of Tubac’s territorial days. No one seems to know when the first person was buried here, but the oldest legible headstone dates to 1893.
The earliest graves are rectangular piles of stone, which were used prior to concrete to keep animals from digging up bodies, says Mary Bingham, a former librarian for the Tubac Historical Society who has researched the cemetery.
“There are so many questions,” Bingham says. “There was so little documentation at the time. The early days are real fuzzy.”
The cemetery started as a small plot of land where local families could bury relatives, Patricio says. His father, Teodoro, owned surrounding land and incorporated it when space for graves became limited.
Teodoro, who died in 1977, donated the cemetery to Santa Cruz County in the 1950s for use by relatives. Patricio gained responsibility in the late 1990s when the county handed it back to the family, he says. Several county workers contacted last week said they didn’t know why the county returned it to the family.
Patricio and his son, George Ybarra, now live about 10 miles away, in Amado. They come to the cemetery whenever they have spare time, usually after Sunday church services, to pull weeds, collect trash and tidy up after storms. The family does not charge a burial fee but asks for donations to cover maintenance costs.
Patricio grew up in Tubac near the cemetery but says he rarely talked about its history with his father and knew only that it had been donated to the county. Memory loss from a stroke that Patricio suffered last year makes it difficult to remember some of the stories.
“I didn’t ask him anything else,” Patricio says. “That was his business, and if he wanted to tell me, fine. I thought I knew enough.”
Now, it’s the small things that Patricio remembers that paint a picture of the cemetery’s history, says George, who is next in the line of inheritance.
“That’s what we’re going by, is what he (Teodoro) told him,” says George, 55.
According to family legend, the Ybarra family moved to Tubac from Mexico in the late 1800s. Other early Tubac families are buried along with the Ybarras in the cemetery.
Headstones with the same last names — Contreras, Quintero, Duarte — sit concentrated in small plots with dates ranging from the 1800s to last month. George estimates that between 10 and 15 families are represented and only people with blood relatives already buried in the cemetery are eligible to be buried there.
The cemetery has been the site of historical and artistic projects throughout the years but fundamentally holds value for the families with Tubac roots. The Day of the Dead, which is celebrated near Halloween, is especially busy when people come from California and Mexico to visit the graveyard, George says.
Out-of-town visitors also come to trace their lineage. Headstone data was once recorded and compiled into a list now kept at the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park and Museum.
“A lot of the family descendants take care of their own graves, and that’s what we like them to do,” George says. “They’ll come and decorate them on holidays or their birthdays.”
Curiosity about the cemetery is sparked in part by its “cementery” sign.
“It’s quite central in the town,” says Shaw Kinsley, director of the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park & Museum. “Everyone notices it, in part because of the misspelling.”
“Cementery” may be a mistake, but it could be early “Spanglish,” George says.
“Whoever did it was thinking Spanish,” he says. “It started ‘cementerio,’ which is Spanish. It started that way and they ended it in English. To me, it’s kind of like half-Spanish and half-English, which is what we all talk around here now.”
The cemetery’s quirks make it “a special place,” Bingham says. Its appearance seemed unusual at first compared with cemeteries in other states, she says, but has its own charm.
“I saw the cemetery in Tubac and thought, ‘Oh, my lord. It’s really rough and tough,’ ” Bingham says. “But it’s a tradition here.”
We consider ourselves lucky to live in Arizona in the ‘winter’. Mostly because our days are filled with 70 degree weather. Come July through September, we’ll be singing a different tune, and we’ll be jealous of all you East Coasters.
This morning we took the kids to the zoo. We fed the giraffes, watched the lions sleep, saw some crazy monkeys up close and camped out on the worlds smallest picnic table to eat lunch. By the time we got home, both kids were sleeping in the car. That, my friends, is an afternoon success!
We’re not sure if we broke the zoo rules, but we brought a loaf of bread and fed nearly ever duck in the place. She loved this part.
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Have an unforgettable fall season at Tolmachoff Farms and experience the ultimate holiday outing where there is something for the whole family: A great big pumpkin patch, six-acre family corn maze (search for pieces of your map as you walk through), mini corn maze, and a haunted corn maze. Other activities include a petting zoo, train ride, hay pyramid, corn box, pedal cart track, jumping pillow and much more.
Fun for the whole family on the farm! For the entire month of October (Thursdays-Sundays) Schnepf Farms offers fun fall activities like hay rides, a corn maze, a pumpkin patch, pig races and, of course, chili.
The month-long valley-wide celebration allows audiences and participants to enjoy the artistic, musical and culinary offerings of the regional Latino community through various exhibits, concerts, street fairs and more. Audiences can look forward to a cornucopia of exhibits, performances and cultural activities showcasing the work of top-notch Latino and Latin American artists.
There will be something for everyone in the family at the Arizona State Fair this year. Numerous food booths will be there to satisfy your carnival cravings. Musical guests Alabama Shakes, Billy Currington, The Wanted, Trace Adkins, ZZ Top and more will be performing. With Native Spirit Dancers, the Great American Petting Zoo, and the Great American Duck Race, there will always be attractions for the family.
Come out and enjoy Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake this year. There will be 15 kinds of German beer, authentic German food, wine gardens, Daschund racing, Kinderfest KidsZone, music and much more.
Produced by Arizona Curriculum Theater, PoeFest 2013 marks the fifth year of presenting a month-long festival celebrating the works of Edgar Allan Poe. PoeFest is not a reading. The actors perform Edgar Allan Poe’s stories in character as inmates from a 19th Century asylum for the criminally insane. Poe’s stories rotate nightly and are presented inside the Ghost Lounge at the historic Hotel San Carlos, frequently listed among the top ten most haunted hotels in America. Stories include Annabel Lee, The Raven, The Cask of Amontillado, The Black Cat, The Tell-Tale Heart, and more.
This festival is an opportunity to share in the rich history, culture, and culinary delights of Greece. In addition to the authentically-prepared Greek cuisine, you can sample some imported Greek wine, beer and, of course, ouzo and the Greek classic Metaxa. Additionally, the nationally-recognized community dancers, in traditional costumes from the various regions of Greece, will be performing throughout the weekend.
Octoberfest returns to Salt River Fields for another great year. Enjoy one of the Valley’s biggest celebrations of beer with activities for the whole family, great food, live music, kids zone, interactive games and more.
The parade is produced by Native American Connections and features nearly 100 entries every year and shares the rich cultural exchange through the vibrancies of Native American art, music, and dance in heart of Downtown Phoenix. This year’s parade theme is “Native American Pride: Celebration of Culture through Art, Music, and Dance.”
Every autumn the Desert Botanical Garden’s Great Pumpkin Festival is one of the Valley’s favorite places to find that special pumpkin. Take an authentic hayride out to the Garden’s pumpkin patch, where each day children 12 and under can choose their own free pumpkin. Get lost in the Amazing Hay Bale Maze, visit with adorable farm animals in the petting zoo, enjoy lively country and western entertainment, carnival style games and much more!
This two-day event means authentic German and American food, live entertainment and lots of fun for the whole family!
Bratwurst, soft pretzels, apple strudel and other German favorites put the Oom-Pah in Oktoberfest 2013.
More than 50 teams take up the taco-making challenge as fans sample and savor their creations. Taco competitors are judged by officials of the National Taco Association. The stakes are higher than ever with the $10,000 cash prize that taco teams are battling for. The event is filled with music, food, and fun including, lucha libre wrestling, boutique tequila expo, more than 100 types of tequila and more.
The annual Rainbows Festival and Street Fair is a celebration of the diversity of the LGBTQ community. The event is located in historic Heritage Square Park in downtown Phoenix. Each year, the Rainbows Festival draws a crowd in excess of 12,000 friends, families and allies. Rainbows Festival is the second largest LGBTQ event in the state of Arizona, only second to the Phoenix Pride Festival.
The annual Rainbows Festival is a free event open to the public. There will be nearly 150 exhibitors and sponsors throughout the two-day event. Rainbows Festival is the new home of OUTdayPHX, a celebration of National Coming OUT Day.
This fourth year of Halloween fun for the whole family returns to Salt River Fields. Featuring more than 20 colorful hot air balloons to light up the sky, 1700 pounds of candy for Trick-or-Treaters, tethered hot-air balloon rides, live music, food, drinks, kids zone, a haunted house fit for all, fireworks and more.
One of the biggest and best Western events in America features gunfights, stunt shows, American Indian dancers, trick horses, magic shows, live music, a kids korral and much more.
Spirits will connect at the Mesa Arts Center’s annual Dìa de los Muertos Festival – a community celebration complete with a community altar, live music and performances.
The Day of The Dead festival will also feature delicious food, a mercado featuring an assortment of Dìa de los Muertos merchandise, jewelry, arts & crafts, the Bookmans family activity area and more.
Celebrate all things fall as the Anthem Community Council hosts its sixth-annual Autumnfest. This family-friendly event celebrates the season with fall-flavored festivities including arts & crafts vendors, carnival rides, pumpkin picking and an apple pie baking contest.
Kids and families can enjoy a live magician, haunted house, 25 carnival games of different skill levels, inflatables, and costume contests. There will even be a play area for the real little monsters in the TOT’s area. Be sure to grab some tasty treats from a variety of food vendors during the event, and especially before Scottsdale’s best up-close firework show goes off.