Thousands of Arizona residents flocked to the Arizona State Capitol on Saturday, February 11 and Sunday, February 12 to celebrate the Arizona Centennial at the Arizona Best Fest. The Arizona Best Fest recognized the culturally diverse past, present and future of the entire state. Many local businesses and organizations participated in the celebration, offering entertainment, art, foods and cultural traditions.
Arizona Best Fest featured a number of “villages,” including the Native American and Hispanic villages; and the History, Storytelling, Natural Resources, Military, Sports, Science and Future pavilions. The event also included a family fun zone with carnival rides and games and a Western town that featured Old West–style shows for everyone to enjoy. Each pavilion had its own stage for musical performances and live presentations to showcase all the elements that make up the State of Arizona.
The event kicked off with thousands of motorcyclists riding from Mesa Riverview all the way to downtown Phoenix. The motorcyclists filled the HOV lanes on the freeway and carried the United States and Arizona flags to pay tribute to Arizona’s 100th birthday.
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and a number of the other 21 Arizona tribes showcased their respective tribal cultures. The Community shared traditional O’odham dances and, along with our sister tribes Ak-Chin Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community and Tohono O’odham Nation, demonstrated basket-making, pottery-making and more.
On Saturday, home-grown Arizona musicians Jerry Riopelle, Michelle Branch and the Gin Blossoms ended the first night of the celebration with a concert and fireworks show. On Sunday, the events continued.