Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Holidays - 2017

     It's the most wonderful time of the year, so we share with you of list of some of Arizona's most spectacular and fun holiday outings - Enjoy!

Prescott - Arizona’s Official Christmas City
- Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

Where: The Courthouse Square in downtown Prescott, AZ

Fees: FREE event for all

    Stop at the Courthouse Square to see the start of the annual Holiday Light Parade on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, the beginning of some wonderful Christmas activities in Prescott, Arizona. The following Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 you will find the Courthouse lighting a great holiday treat with Christmas carolers and holiday cheer.   Details: Fabulous floats, pets and even people light up the street, and Santa is waving in this community celebration. The Light Parade moves through downtown Prescott on its way to the Courthouse.

After the parade, the beautiful Courthouse Lighting ceremony takes place on Gurley Street. There are carols and more fun during this festive time, with lights ablaze. Sharlot Hall Museum also has a Frontier Christmas Open House with cider and home made cookies by a roaring fire. Everyone gathers to decorate the town's Christmas tree.

For a truly old-fashioned and down-home Christmas, come to Prescott this year.

Payson Electric Light Parade
- Historic Main Street - Saturday, Dec 2, 2017 - 6pm =

La Fiesta de Tumacácori
1891 East Frontage Road, Tumacacori, AZ 85640
-Saturday, December 2, 2017: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 3, 2017: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Free!  and

Christmas Eve Luminaries
- Tumacacori National Historical Park - Dec 24, 2017 - not advertised but a amazing and spiritual event at the 1750s church -

35 Annual London Bridge Yacht Club Christmas Boat Parade
, Lake Havasu City -  Dec 1 & 2, 2017 -

Besh-Ba-Gowh Festival of Lights
- December 17, 2017, Globe -

Princess Resort, Scottsdale
- many activities at one of the Valley’s premier resorts -

Holiday fun in Tucson, Arizona’s Old Pueblo - Check out this list of family fun events going on in Tucson -

Desert Botanical Garden
, Phoenix - Las Noches de Las Luminarias - Nov. 24 & 25, Dec. 8-10, 15-17, 19-23, 26-30 -

Midnight Mass at Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson - Christmas Eve worship in the historic 18th Century church will be a Christmas to always remember -

Zoo Lights - Phoenix Zoo - November 22, 2017 – January 14, 2018 -

Sedona - who doesn’t love Sedona?  -

Flagstaff -  a perfect holiday location - and to welcome 2018 -

Then too there is the Tumbleweed Christmas Tree in Chandler,,  the Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade at Tempe Lake,  historic Jerome Lights Up The Mountain festival on the side of Cleopatra Hill in the Verde Valldy,,  and a free holiday miniature train ride at the Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park,,  and a Pioneer Christmas at Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott -

So get out and enjoy Finding Arizona this holiday season - we are so lucky to live in such a fabulous and diverse state - we wish you and your the happiest of holiday seasons and a happy and healthy 2018. 

Yavapai Courthouse - Prescott

Tumacácori National Historic Park

Tumacácori National Historic Park

Pioneer Christmas - Prescott

North Pole Experience - Flagstaff

Tumbleweed Christmas Tree - Chandler

London Bridge Boat Parade - Lake Havasu City

Payson Electric Light Parade

Besh-Ba-Gowh - Globe

Adobe Mountain Train Park - Phoenix

Zoo Lights - Phoenix

Fantasy of Light Boat Parade - Tempe

Jerome Lights Up The Mountain - Jerome

Pine Cone Drop - New Years Eve - Flagstaff

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Thanksgiving Day - The Real Story

    No one knows for sure the exact date in the Fall of 1621 when the newly arrived colonists from England sat with and shared an autumn meal with the Wampanoag Indians in their settlement of Plymouth. That shared, community meal would become known as America's first Thanksgiving Day.     Over the following years a few presidents would decree and a few states would hold a random Day of Thanksgiving but it would be 242 years after that first Plymouth gathering before the Thanksgiving Day we know and love today would become an annual, American celebration.  

     It took the fortunes of a terrible civil war, a spunky lady editor who lobbied and pushed the idea of a national day of thanksgiving through the pages of the American Ladies’ Magazine and a beleaguered, war-wary president all coming together in the fall of 1863 to start this great American tradition.
    September 1863 began with the forces of the Union Army having completed a summer of great, battlefield victories.  The most important of those victories occurred on July 1, 2 and 3 around the small farming community of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  After three days of fighting, best estimates showed that the Union Army and Robert E. Lee’s Army of Virginia suffered together between 45,000 – 51,000 casualties.
    Those casualty numbers included 3,155 Union soldiers and an estimated 4,708 Confederate soldiers killed in action.  An estimated 1/3 of the Army of Virginia had been wounded, killed or were unaccounted for.  Had Lee’s army prevailed at Gettysburg, they would have swept into Washington, DC and overrun the Union capitol.  But with the victory at Gettysburg, the Union still stood and Gettysburg would prove to be the turning point of that terrible American war.    
    September 1863 found President Abraham Lincoln preparing to speak at the soon to be dedicated National Cemetery at Gettysburg.  Since the beginning of his presidency in 1860, Sarah Josepha Hale, an influential magazine editor and the author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” had been lobbying President Lincoln to declare an annual national day of thanksgiving.
    On September 28. 1863 Ms. Hale once again wrote the president urging him to declare that the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival."  This time, after the events of the summer of 1863 and the Union Army’s victory at Gettysburg, President Lincoln agreed with Sarah Hall. 
    On October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, issued a Proclamation of Thanksgiving to his fellow citizens in every part of the United States “to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
    Lincoln soon traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863 and delivered what could arguably be the greatest 263-word speech in the history of mankind – the Gettysburg Address.   One week later, on November 26, 1863, on the fourth Thursday of November, President Lincoln, Sarah Hale and the American people across the Union celebrated Thanksgiving Day.
    Since November 1863 Americans have paused every year to celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November with the exception of 1939 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the celebration to the third Thursday of November to lengthen the depression era Christmas holiday shopping season.  The American people did not like this change and by 1941 President Roosevelt reluctantly signed a congressional bill reestablishing forever more the celebration of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November.  
    So as you gather with those that you love this Thanksgiving Day to pause in thanks, remember all those who have come before us to make this day such a special American holiday.  It was the colonists of Plymouth and Wampanoag Indians that first gathered, but it was the unrelenting efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale and the proclamation of Abraham Lincoln that engenders us each and ever fourth Thursday of November to celebrate America’s Thanksgiving Day.

Here are some links for more information about the establishment of Thanksgiving Day…

Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving -

Sarah Josepha Hale -

Sarah Hale’s letter to President Lincoln -

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address -

You Tube video – Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving -

Abraham Lincoln

Sarah Josepha Hale

Monument to General George Meade, Commander of Union forces

Monument to General Robert E. Lee, Commander of the Army of Virginia

View of Little Round Top - battle July 2, 1863

View from Union stone wall across field from which came Pickett's Charge - July 3, 1863

Monument marking the "High Water Mark" of the rebel charge - July 3, 1863

"The Angle" and "Witness Tree" along the stone wall where Union forces repelled Pickett's Charge - July 3, 1863

Site where NPS marks location of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.  Historians say that Lincoln actually spoke down a small hill about 100 feet from this designated spot - November 19, 1863

Giving at the dedication of the Union Cemetery at the Gettysburg battlefield on November 19, 1863

View down the barrel of a Union cannon that roared with canisters and balls against rebel forces on July 1, 2 & 3, 1863