|Written by Greg Ruland|
|Thursday, 05 May 2011 00:00|
Crunchy corn chips and hot salsa, the focus of a popular Cottonwood event that dropped from the calendar after 2003, returns to Old Town on Saturday, May 7, Old Town Association spokeswoman Annabel Sclippa said.
Sizzlin’ Salsa, once a three-day event that attracted large crowds, returns thanks to OTA merchants and a supportive City Council.
“This year’s revival is not going to be as long as that event had been built up to, but it will span most of one day. It is surely an opportunity not to be missed. If all goes well, we can expect to see it grow over the next few years,” Sclippa said.
The 2011 Sizzling Salsa revives the tradition of salsa tastings from numerous local restaurants, including those in and outside of Old Town.
In addition, a pub crawl, where attendees visit Old Town watering holes to vote for the best tequilas, margaritas, wines and beers, adds to the fun, one way Cottonwood honors May 7 as National Homebrew Day.
To celebrate National Historic Preservation month, the Cottonwood Historic Preservation Commission, in conjunction with an Old Town hotel’s historic walking tour, will provide pub crawlers and anyone else who might be interested a historic context for their tippling.
“This may include information on where the biggest stills burst into flames, causing town-wide fires. Hear that? Smoking hot fun for all,” Sclippa said.
Not just for adults, activities for children include the chance to swing at a giant piñata, which will be designed by Boys & Girls Club of Cottonwood.
Another popular attraction, presented in recognition of the area’s Southwestern heritage, Verde Valley Ballet Folklorico de Colores will perform traditional Mexican dances.
“Be prepared to see beautiful ladies in traditional dress who also know how to dance,” Sclippa said. “If you missed them during the 2010 Holiday Parade through Old Town, you must come see them.”
Bootlegging whiskey, wine, beer and other spirits was big business in early Cottonwood.
From 1915 to 1933 when drinking alcohol was prohibited by amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Cottonwood Historic Preservation Commissioner Karen Leff said.
During Prohibition, Cottonwood pool halls lined Main Street with secret pubs in the rear, which other towns referred to as speakeasies.
Bottled alcohol lined the walls, cellars and connecting underground tunnels. What wasn’t a pool hall was a confectionery or general mercantile store that supplied large quantities of sugar and other supplies needed in making the finest spirits within hundreds of miles, said Leff, who owns an Old Town hotel.
In between the pool halls and general stores were clustered automobile dealers housing sales, service, parts and gasoline along with auto mechanics. Cottonwood hit the syndicated news around the country for their new and ingenious ways of attaching custom tanks on automobiles to smuggle booze.
These specialized automobiles were also souped up, so the bootleggers could outrun the law during their rum-running expeditions to California and across the Mexican border.
Leff will organize bootlegger-themed tours around Old Town in recognition of National Historic Preservation Month as part of the 2011 Sizzlin’ Salsa festival. For more information about the tours, call Leff at 634-9455.
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