Pecan Festival on tap for Saturday

Posted on by az100

Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 4:49 pm | Updated: 12:04 pm, Wed Feb 1, 2012.

By Karen Walenga

A great time outdoors, filled with affordable family fun, is on tap Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Sahuarita Pecan Festival.

This third annual celebration, an official Arizona centennial event, is presented by Farmers Investment Co. and Green Valley Pecan Co. at 1625 E. Sahuarita Road, just east of Nogales Highway, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Featured will be the popular Sahuarita Pecan Classic and Nut Run, food for sale, arts and crafts from the Santa Cruz River Valley and surrounding areas, great music, dancing and family-friendly activities.

New this year will be an agricultural heritage area with displays and exhibits on farming and ranching.

The festival, which draws thousands of visitors, once again is teaming up with Tagg Running Events to host a community run. The three options are the 8.5-mile and 3.7-mile Pecan Classic and the 1.5-mile Nut Run. Runners may sign up in advance or on the morning of the race.

The arts and craft offerings at the festival will include jewelry, handmade clothing, pottery, basket weaving, home and garden crafts, and a children’s craft area.

Among the food for purchase will be barbecue and Southwestern dishes, sweets and pecan treats, including fry bread with pecans.

Opening ceremonies at the festival’s Desert Diamond stage will be at 9:45 a.m., with the Walden Grove High School Marching Band. Land for the new high school, which opened in August, came from the Walden family, owners of FICO.

Next, Mariachi Cielo de Mexico will spice up the stage. This group features young, talented mariachi performers from across Tucson.

In the afternoon, Sahuarita’s own Jesus Lopez and local country favorite Kevin Pakulis will take the stage.

Performing separately and together, Lopez and Pakulis will have you out of your chair and onto the dance floor before the end of their first songs.

Lopez, the area’s top rising musician and son of Farmers Investment Co.’s long-time employee Rocky Lopez, plays blues-inspired hits with a unique blend of country and rock. Pakulis, winner of the Americana singer-songwriter award, shakes the stage with the raw energy of his edgy, guitar-driven hits.

Headlining this year’s festival is the Tucson Weekly 2011 TAMMIE award winner for best local cover band – 80s & Gentlemen. This rocking group has made its name bringing audiences across Tucson back to the good old days with hits from the ’70s and ’80s. The band will take the stage about 6 p.m.

Debbie Walden Ralls of Green Valley Pecan says she is especially looking forward to the festival going into the evening with the headline band.

The past two years, the festival has generated a lot of feedback and responses from attendees after running for one day in 2009 and two days in 2010.

“We’re still trying to find the niche of the festival,” Ralls said. So for 2011, the celebration is a one-day affair with extended hours and evening entertainment.

Attendance in 2009 and 2010 was and estimated 12,000 to 15,000.

Four local nonprofit groups are beneficiaries of this year’s festival: the Green Valley-Sahuarita Community Food Bank, the Optimist Club of Green Valley/Sahuarita, Sahuarita Community 4-H Club, and Soles4Souls, which collects and distributes shoes for those in need. | 547-9739


•Admission to the Sahuarita Pecan Festival is free. Parking at the festival grounds is $5 per car, with a portion of the proceeds going to the traffic and parking volunteers, the Sahuarita Volunteers in Police Service and the Sahuarita Police Explorers.

•Parking is free at Sahuarita High School, Walden Grove High School, the Sahuarita town center, Quail Creek-Veterans Municipal Park and Quail Creek clubhouse. Free shuttles will run from these locations at 30-minute intervals.

•For more festival information, visit online at

For details on the Pecan Classic and Fun runs, phone Steve Taggart at 520-820-6447.

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