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2:14 AM Mon, Sept. 24th

Arizona's FIRST capital: First Territorial Capital Days celebrates its 21st year in Chino Valley

Young Marines form the color guard at the beginning of the Chino Valley Territorial Days parade in this file photo from 
Sept. 4, 2004. 

The Daily Courier/
Jo. L. Keener

Young Marines form the color guard at the beginning of the Chino Valley Territorial Days parade in this file photo from Sept. 4, 2004. The Daily Courier/ Jo. L. Keener

CHINO VALLEY - For the past two decades, "First Territorial Capital Days" has brought together Chino Valley residents to celebrate the town's Western heritage.

On Sept. 1, the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce and Parks and Recreation Department will play host to the all-day event at pre-selected locations.

The festivities will begin at 6 a.m. with the Lion's Club Pancake Breakfast, a four-hour gathering at the CV Senior Center on 1021 W. Butterfield Road.

An hour later, from 7 to 9 a.m., the Chino Valley High School cross-country team will sponsor a 10K Fun Run and 2K Fun Walk at nearby Memory Park, across from the Senior Center.

Shortly thereafter, from 10 to 11 a.m., the 21st annual First Territorial Capital Days parade will begin with the theme, "Western Roots & Cowboy Boots." State Rep. Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, is the 2007 parade's grand marshal.

"The idea was to tie to our Western heritage, because we are still distinctly a Western community," said CV Chamber of Commerce Director Ab Jackson, whose organization is running this year's parade.

Penny Hubble, parade committee chairwoman, said she expects more than 60 entries for the free event, including a large number of individuals rather than groups.

"We get people from Prescott and Prescott Valley, sometimes businesses," Hubble said. "It's for fun. It's for the kids."

The closed-off, 1-mile parade route will start at Memory Park off Butterfield Road and travel south down Road 1 West before cutting across to the west down Road 2 North and ending at Del Rio Elementary School.

"It's the same route as last year, except it's going in the reverse direction," Hubble said. "One thing I like that the town has agreed to do, and we asked them to do, is to put up some shade (portable tents and canopies) all along that route because last year there was a problem."

In 2006, many spectators congregated under shade trees in Memory Park instead of lining the parade route.

Hubble is hoping this year people will watch the parade from different vantage points.

Parade participants decorate a float, car, horse, buggy, wagon or themselves in nine separate categories, including Commercial, Horse Drawn, Classic Machinery, Non-Commercial, Marching, Judges Choice, Mounted Animals, Classic Vehicles and Not Judged. Winners will receive a framed

photo print of their entry from the parade.

Registration for the parade on Sept. 1 runs from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. behind the Senior Center, while staging goes from 8:35 a.m. to 9 a.m.

"It's not a long parade, but it is pretty well attended," Jackson said. "We're very pleased with it."

Although this year Parks and Recreation will not sponsor any activities during the middle of the day for First Territorial Capital Days, as it has in the past, activities will include a horseshoe tournament and open bocce play outside the Senior

Center from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

"Memory Park, which is where the activities are usually held, is being renovated," Parks and Recreation's Jason Kelly said.

Later in the day, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Del Rio Elementary will welcome thousands of people for the Future Farmers of America Corn Dinner, a popular tradition in CV for the past 57 years.

"People look forward to that," Jackson said. "It's an amazing thing to watch. It's huge."

The event will culminate with the Territorial Days Street Dance from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. near Memory Park.

Arizona Territory will perform for the dance. Admission is $5 per couple and $3 per individual. Refreshments will be available with a beer garden and food.

For more information about Territorial Days, call Parks and Recreation at 636-9780 or the Chamber of Commerce at 636-2493.