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Local festivities celebrate Arizona’s 100th birthday
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Saturday, 11 February 2012 00:00

Arizona has a birthday coming up, and it’s a big one.

Get ready to put 100 candles on the cake as groups around the state prepare to celebrate a century of statehood.

The last of the lower 48 admitted to the union, Arizona earned its star on Old Glory on Feb. 14, 1912.

Hundreds of bells commemorating Arizona’s 100th birthday will ring all over the state at 2:14 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Many people are expected to gather at the Clemenceau Heritage Museum in Cottonwood to participate in a noisy celebration of Arizona’s statehood.A lot of copper, cotton and cattle later, people are gathering around the state to look at how far things have come as Arizona enters its second century of statehood.

Several events are planned to take place right here in the Verde Valley.

In Cottonwood, the public is invited to gather at the old Clemenceau school Tuesday, Feb. 14, for a bell-ringing ceremony set to take place at 2:14 p.m. The event starts at 1 p.m., and oh yes, there will be cake.

At the exact same time, a bell will also be rung at the Wayside Chapel in Sedona, followed by a birthday party. The best part? No one has to buy Arizona a present.

The same day in Camp Verde, Montezuma Castle National Monument and the Camp Verde Historical Society will be holding a special program with speakers lined up to discuss the history of Arizona.

The event runs from noon to 2 p.m. and the National Park Service is waiving entry fees for all those who wish to attend.

In Clarkdale, the Verde Canyon Railroad is holding its own special centennial celebration from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11 and 12.

The celebration is free to the public and includes a guided tour of the railway’s vintage train engines, some of the only ones still remaining in North America. The event also includes a tour of the John Bell Railroad Museum highlighting the history of the railroad, along with a special exhibition tent with exhibits detailing the history of the Verde Valley.

The day after the official birthday, Wednesday, Feb. 15, the Camp Verde Town Council is inviting the public to a special meeting at 5 p.m. at the Verde Lakes Clubhouse, according to Melissa Preston, the town’s economic development director.

The purpose of the meeting is to hold an official function in the clubhouse as the closest suitable building to the geographic center of Arizona.

The Arizona Professional Land Surveyors recently recognized the town as the official 2012 Centennial Closest Community to the Geographic Center of Arizona.

That designation also earns the town a special marker, a Centennial Legacy marker to be unveiled in Rezzonico Family Park on Sunday, April 1.

The marker will also serve as an educational display with a look at the surveying, mapping and engineering that helped build Arizona during its first 100 years as a state.

Gov. Jan Brewer has been invited to the ceremony to read a resolution proclaiming April 1 as Arizona Geographic Center Day.


Verde Valley Weather



Cottonwood, AZ

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