Arizona begins `Countdown to Centennial' bash

Posted on by az100

by Jim Cross/KTAR (February 14th, 2011 @ 5:37am)

PHOENIX — Arizona is celebrating its 99th birthday as a state and kicking off the countdown to a big centennial celebration on Aug. 14, 2012.

“Countdown to Centennial” will be launched at a free gathering on the State Capitol lawn from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday.

“We’ll have a look at some of our merchandise that we’ll be having for the centennial,” said Karen Churchard, who heads up the Arizona Centennial Commission. “All the different booths will be showcasing their specific projects and events… Over 60 booths showcased in 130 different projects and events that are being done by different cities, counties, non-profits and state agencies.”

Entertainers will hit the big stage, with historical re-enactments to musical performances, all with a special tie to Arizona.

“We’ll have some hoop dancers and just all types of different Arizona entertainers,” Churchard said.

Mandy Wimmer with the Centennial Commission chimed in.

“You’re going to see a stage packed with very well-known entertainers. If you come at 10:15, you’ll see the press conference with Governor Brewer. And you’ll see the Capitol’s copper dome that we’re going to be shining with the penny drive, the children’s legacy project.”

Students will try to raise $65,000 to clean and reseal the copper dome each decade, beginning this year.

Churchard said no state money has been set aside for the centennial — that it’s all donations and volunteers.

“We have Stevie and Karl Eller, long-time philanthropists and Arizonans, who have stepped up to help us raise the capital we need to do all the events that we have on our plate.”

Arizona was a U.S. territory until 1912 when it became the 48th and last contiguous state in the United States. Churchard said a lot of history has been packed into the past 99 years.

“Such a vast geography in our state and it’s just a very unique place, a place that we all love and call home. I look at this as an opportunity for Arizonans to get out and learn more about who we are.”

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