Arizona begins yearlong 100th-birthday celebration with expo at CapitolJune 27, 2011
by Lisa Nicita – Feb. 10, 2011 12:00 AM
Special for The Republic
Arizona hits the century mark next year, and such a momentous occasion requires more than a mere birthday party.
Thus, a yearlong celebration starts Monday, Statehood Day (which shares the date with Valentine’s Day), with a Centennial Expo at the Arizona Capitol.
Mandi Wimmer, deputy director of the Arizona Centennial Commission, says she hopes the event will get Arizona residents excited about the state’s centennial while bringing attention to statewide legacy projects occurring throughout the year.
“It’s been so far out, it’s not been on everybody’s radar,” Wimmer said of the centennial.
Here is what visitors can see at Monday’s expo.
More than 60 organizations, cities, community non-profits and state agencies will set up shop on the Capitol lawn to inform visitors about their services and the special projects they have planned for the centennial.
About 20 entertainers with Arizona ties will appear. Among them will be storytellers Dolan Ellis and Marshall Trimble, the Yellow Bird Apache Dancers and Flamenco del Sol. Valley radio personality Dave Pratt will be emcee of the program, which will be divided into 10-minute segments for each performer.
A custom-built Copper Chopper, the centennial’s official motorcycle, will be on display. The bike, having made appearances at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Arizona State Fair, was crafted by renowned chopper builder Paul Yaffe, a Valley resident. The motorcycle will tour Arizona during the year, and when the yearlong party ends, the winner of a raffle will take the Copper Chopper home. Raffle tickets will be available at the expo.
The Centennial Commission has kept under wraps its commemorative merchandise while waiting to unveil the collectible goodies at the expo. Items include T-shirts, key chains, bags and hats. Order forms will be available for the Arizona Centennial Rifle, of which only 100 will be available. They’ll go for about $3,000.
The historical Copper Dome at the Capitol has gone roughly 15 years without a deep cleaning. With the state’s budget problems, coming up with the $65,000 necessary is being delegated to children. The Centennial Commission is working with the state’s schoolchildren to launch a penny drive. About a dozen schools are signed up, and more are expected to join the campaign.