Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

Plan A Yuma Trip Around A Fun Event

Calendar In World's Sunniest Destination Is Full Of Bright Ideas

YUMA, Arizona - It's that time of year! As the chill creeps in up north, Yumans are enjoying spectacular sunsets and fresh mornings in the world's sunniest destination. So what are you waiting for? Make your travel plans now around one of our favorite annual events:

Yuma Medjool Date Festival, Nov. 16 (Historic Downtown) - Yuma is one of the world's leading producers of this gourmet date - Medjools grown here are shipped worldwide, even to the Middle East! Enjoy a full day of fun, with food, entertainment, recipe contests, displays of specialized machinery, farm tours and more. Info, http://www.yumamedjooldatefestival.com, 928-373-5028.

23rd Annual Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival, Nov. 22-24 (various locations) - Local businesses organized the first Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival in 1991. Now sponsored by the nonprofit Caballeros de Yuma, this invitational festival draws balloonists from as far away as England. The festival features flights on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and a "balloon glow" Saturday night. More info,www.caballeros.org, 928-343-1715.

El Toro Bowl, Dec. 7 (Veterans Memorial Stadium, Arizona Western College) - Leading junior college football teams clash in this post-season game sponsored by Fisher Automotive Group, while their fans enjoy a weekend of festivities in the sunshine. More info, http://www.eltorobowl.com, 928-343-1715.

Dorothy Young Memorial Electric Light Parade, Dec. 7 (Historic North End) - With the theme of this year of "Your Favorite Christmas Song," this evening parade features marching bands and lots of decorated and illuminated floats. More info, http://www.visityuma.com, 1-800-293-0071, 928-783-0071.

Somerton Tamale Festival, Dec. 21 (Main Street, Somerton) - Here's your chance to sample tamales in varieties you didn't even know existed, all made with care by proud home cooks to raise scholarship funds for local ASU students. More info, http://www.somertontamalefestival.com, 928-388-4837.

Spirit of Yuma Military Festival, Jan. 10-12 (Historic Downtown Yuma) - With a history dating back to Fort Yuma and the Yuma Quartermaster Depot, this has always been a "military-friendly" town. This City of Yuma event honors vets and active-duty service members and celebrates its modern-day bases, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground. More info, 928-373-5028.

Gathering of the Gunfighters, Jan. 11-12 (Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park) - Old West re-enactment groups from around the Southwest ride into town for this annual showdown. But instead of hot lead, what's flying is fightin' words - and acting! Groups are judged on skits and whether their get-ups, gear and firearms are authentic to the 1876-1909 era. And though they didn't have shootouts in the prison, the historic setting adds flavor. More info, http://www.historicyumaprison.com, 928-783-4771.

Civil War Days, Jan. 25-26 (Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park) - True, there were no Civil War battles here - but the Quartermaster Depot was an active U.S. Army post and a strategic point of defense at the time. Authentic re-enactment groups converge for an old-school encampment and mock battles on the grassy grounds of the park. More info, http://www.yumaheritage.com, 928-373-5198.

Yuma Territorial Marathon and Half-Marathon, Jan. 25 (Cocopah Casino & Resort) - This certified, chip-timed race is a good bet for fast times because it's a flat, low-altitude, out-and-back course - and January weather here is usually sunny but cool. Info, http://www.yumamarathon.com, 928-343-1715.

Redondo Days, Feb. 1 (Historic North End) - Celebrate our rich heritage with historic re-enactments, a free daytime fiesta and a gala fundraiser honoring a leading pioneer family. More info, 928-782-1841.

Yuma Square Dance Festival, Feb. 7-9 (Yuma Civic Center) - A long-time Yuma tradition, this event brings dancers from throughout the Western states for down-home dancin' with callers and cuers from around the region. More info,www.ysrda.weebly.com, 928-782-0844.

Silver Spur Rodeo, Feb. 7-9 (Yuma County Fairgrounds) - The Yuma Jaycees have proudly presented this unique American sport for the last 67 years. This PRCA-sanctioned rodeo draws top riders from around the Turquoise Circuit and beyond. In addition to the rodeo, there's a rodeo parade on Feb. 1 and rodeo dances Friday and Saturday nights (Feb. 7,8). More info, http://www.yumarodeo.com, 928-344-5451.

Yuma River Daze, Feb. 14-16 (Historic North End) - Discover diversity at this family-friendly arts and crafts festival. More info, 928-373-5028.

Yuma Lettuce Days, March 1-2 (Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park) - Arizona was long known for citrus and cotton - but the fertile lands here at the Colorado River's delta also serve as the nation's salad bowl. This event celebrates Yuma's booming agriculture industry with culinary flair, with celebrity chefs (2014 headliner is two-time Top Chef contestant Chris "CJ" Jacobson), cooking demos, product samples, "windshield" ag tours and more. More info, http://www.yumalettucedays.com, 800-293-0071.

Midnight at the Oasis, March 7-9 (Ray Kroc Baseball Complex) - The Southwest's premier classic car and nostalgia festival features 1,000 classic cars, plus regional food served up by local nonprofits, vendors from around the West, rides for the kids, oldies rock-and-roll concerts Friday and Saturday night. Kick it off with a classic car cruise Friday evening. More info, http://www.midnightattheoasis.net, 928-343-1715.

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma 51th Annual Air Show, March 15 (MCAS Yuma) - MCAS Yuma, the busiest air station in the Corps, traces its roots to the earliest days of aviation in Arizona. This is one of the largest air shows in the Southwest, featuring military and civilian aircraft on the ground and aloft. More info, http://www.yumaairshow.com, 928-269-3327.

Yuma County Fair, April 1-6 (Yuma County Fairgrounds) - With its agricultural traditions and rural feel, Yuma's a perfect spot to enjoy an old-fashioned fair. More info, http://www.yumafair.com, 928-726-4420.

Yuma Centennial Celebration, April 7-12 various locations) - The City of Yuma celebrates the 100th anniversary of its official state charter with lots of activities, culminating on April 12 with the Yuma Taco Festival and a gala concert featuring Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Details at http://www.yuma100.com.

ARTbeat 7, April 20 (Yuma Art Center, Historic Downtown) - Enjoy a free, juried outdoor exhibit that's been recognized as one of Arizona's outstanding arts events. You'll discover an eclectic mix of recognized and emerging local, regional and international artists working in a wide variety of media. More info, http://www.yumaaz.gov/4745.htm, 373-5202.

Made in Yuma Movie Marathon, April 26 (Yuma Historic Theatre) - Presented by NexGen, this special Centennial edition of the Yuma Film Festival will showcase movies that were shot on location in and around the Yuma area. More info, http://www.yuma100.com.

Sound like a full calendar? These events are just a taste of all the fun in the sun that's coming to Yuma in upcoming months. Get updates anytime at our website,

http://www.visityuma.com - or sign up to receive a free e-newsletter.


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