Apache Junction – February 23-26
Welcome to the 48th Annual Lost Dutchman Days, proudly being celebrated as an Official Arizona Centennial event! Apache Junction is rich in history. The Superstition Mountains tower to the east, where prospectors have been searching for the “Lost Dutchman” Jacob Waltz’s gold for longer than Arizona has been a state. Come join us for four full days of fun, February 23-26.
Put a Smile on Your Face
The festival starts off with a party on Thursday – a Beer & Johnsonville Brat Party at the AJ Elks #2349, corner of Hwy 88 & Lost Dutchman Blvd. Kick up your heels from noon onwards with polka, waltz and country swing…take a break to check out the antique cars on display.
The main affair starts on Friday at the rodeo grounds on the corner of Tomahawk and Lost Dutchman. Professional rodeo action begins at 1:30 pm daily as cowboys tangle with some of the best rough stock you will ever see. Enjoy the performances from the covered bleachers.
Known as “the fun place to be for all ages,” Lost Dutchman Days offers something for everyone. Two free entertainment stages offer continual live music from some of the region’s favorite bands. Over 100 vendors provide foods of all kinds and merchandise, arts and crafts enough to fill everyone’s wish list. The carnival features over 30 rides and attractions.
The Saturday morning parade is always a favorite and one of the largest in the state. This year the theme is the “Arizona Centennial” and the Grand Marshal is “Teddy Roosevelt” (actor Joe Wiegand)! Get there early for the 9am start. The parade runs up one side and down the other on the historic Apache Trail between Idaho and Ironwood.
Another annual feature is the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Adoption. Come see these living legends of the American West – 25 horses and 10 burros will be on display from the 24th – 26th. The adoptions take place on Saturday. Volunteer trainer Randy Helm will conduct three “gentling demos” where he works with a wild animal until it will tolerate a saddle: Fri. at 10am and 2pm and Sat. at 10am.
Other activities include the Saturday Arts & Crafts Fair at Pinal County Complex, the Rodeo Dance Sat. night, and the Cowboy Church Service on Sunday.
www.lostdutchmandays.org or 1-888-75RODEO
Shake a Leg at the Marathon
The Lost Dutchman Marathon offers a challenging course set among glorious scenery, making it a favorite of serious marathoners and casual runners alike. In fact, it has been voted one of the top ten small marathons in the country!
The 11th annual run takes place this year on February 19. In addition to the marathon, participants can enjoy this scenic course at various levels – half marathon, 10K, 8K, and 2 Miles – so mark your calendar and join in!
This USATF certified course runs from Gold Canyon to Apache Junction and can be used as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. Every year a significant number of finishers run Boston-qualifying times.
All runners receive free transportation from the Rodeo Grounds to the starting point. The elevation of the course varies from 2330 ft. at the start to 1840 ft. at the finish. Runners tour through the beautiful and historic Kings Ranch with its rolling hills and later on travel towards the base of the majestic Superstition Mountains before turning around towards the finish line.
While You Are Here…
There is no end of things to do in Apache Junction and the surrounding area. The Superstition Mountains provide the opportunities of a lifetime. Horseback riding, Jeep tours, hiking treks, mountain biking, and off-road excursions await outdoor enthusiasts. Canyon Lake is only minutes away and offers fishing, boating, skiing, and a nature or twilight dinner cruise on the Dolly Steamboat.
Looking for a road trip? The historic Apache Trail, believed to have originated as a footpath used by the Anasazi Indians, takes you through breathtaking canyons and mountain vistas. Along the way, adventure comes alive – beginning at the Superstition Mountain Museum (see their ad on page 12 for a buy one, get one free admission). The ghost town of Goldfield replicates the mining history of the area.
Lost Dutchman State Park offers hiking trails to elevations over 5,000 ft., wildlife viewing, RV camping, and a Visitor Center. Tortilla Flat, a stage stop of years gone by, is a great spot to take a break. At the Tonto National Monument, visitors can hike up to ancient cliff dwellings dating back to 1400 AD.
For more information on all there is to see and do, contact the Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce.
A Word from the Lost Dutchman Days Committee
The committee is made up of the AJ Mounted Rangers, a volunteer peacekeeping organization that provides safety measures at community events, and the SMPC, a group of volunteers that handles the stock in rodeos. They and the town of Apache Junction are saddened by the recent loss of their leader, Gary Mulholland. Gary chaired Lost Dutchman Days for over 25 years and gave much of his time to better his community. His motto was “Putting Smiles on Kids Faces.” Know that you are helping to do just that, as the event’s proceeds go to local children’s charities. Gary, if you are watching over us, you got-r-done buddy, we’ll all take it from here. Rest In Peace.