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Gold Rush Days: February 11-14, 2016

In order to truly appreciate the history of Phoenix, it’s necessary to harken back to a time before there was a Phoenix. Fortunately, a popular heritage event makes it possible each year… by celebrating the town’s origins as a ranching and gold mining center.

Now in its 68th year, Gold Rush Days – held each February in the nearby town of Wickenburg – has been recognized by the Library of Congress as one of America’s “living legacies.” This year’s event features a carnival, a classic car show, an artisan fair, gold panning, musical performances by Jo Dee Messina, gunslingers and trick ropers, a mucking and drilling contest, pancake breakfast, food stands and many other events across the four-day affair.

One of the highlights each year is the Gold Rush Parade – one of the largest in Arizona with over 100 entries, including 1,000 horses within the entry classes, classic cars, floats, marching bands and youth groups – which has been listed by Arizona Edventures as #3 among the top 10 parades to attend in the state. This year’s theme is “Romance of the West.”

Another popular event is the Senior Pro Rodeo, which includes such traditional rodeo competitions as Bareback Riding, Barrel Racing, Bull Riding and Calf Roping, as well as such entertainments as Ribbon Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Team Roping and the Ladies Breakaway.

Finally, each evening, the Desert Stagers present an Old-Fashioned Melodrama, providing a historic look at the kind of entertainment people enjoyed in the town’s early days.

To plan your trip to Phoenix in time for Gold Rush Days, held this year from February 11-14, drop us a line at