49th Annual Lost Dutchman Days Feb 21-24
Family Fun & Old West Tradition

By Dave Cooper

Arizona folklore spins an enchanting tale of buried gold treasure lying in wait amid the rugged Superstition Mountains just east of Phoenix. It’s called the Lost Dutchman’s Mine. Another true gem surrounding this historical landmark is the 49th Annual Lost Dutchman Days: a wonderful family-friendly four-day event celebrating Arizona’s rich southwestern heritage. Event organizers say it’s the fun place to be for all ages.

On February 21-24, old west meets modern day lifestyles with the Lost Dutchman Days festival presenting a parade, rodeo, carnival, and live music. Other fun things to do include a rodeo dance, arts & crafts vendors, lots of delicious food, and even the Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo Royalty Pageant and the Cowgirls Historical Foundation. About an hour east of Phoenix, Rodeo Park in Apache Junction is your destination for most of Lost Dutchman Days’ events.

Kicking off this year’s celebration on Thursday February 21 from 12:00-noon until 8:00pm is the Lost Dutchman Days Annual Bratwurst & Budweiser Party. The Apache Junction Elk’s Lodge #2349 is hosting this fun event that features food & drink, live music, antique vehicles, and old fashioned western gunfights. This is a free event with proceeds benefiting local youth charities.

Gates open Friday morning at 9:00am at Rodeo Park with Lost Dutchman Days’ events continuing until 11:00pm. Rodeo activities, food & beverage stations, live music, arts & crafts booths, and carnival rides come alive to greet visitors expecting a full weekend of fun and entertainment. Saturday’s event hours are also from 9:00am until 11:00pm with Sunday’s schedule 9:00am - 6:00pm.

Saturday’s activities begin with the Lost Dutchman Days Parade at 9:00am. This is also a free event with a route that thunders down Apache Trail right through downtown Apache Junction. The parade begins at Phelps, just west of Idaho, and goes to Ironwood where it turns around and heads back to the original starting point. Spectators can watch from both sides of the street.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, two stages of live music will entertain visitors at Rodeo Park featuring plenty of classic and original Country & Western selections. Additional performances will be hosted at the Apache Junction Elks Lodge. View the band schedules here.

Exciting western rodeo activities feature Bull Riding, Saddlebronc, Bareback, Calf & Team Roping, Steer Wrestling, and more. There’s also the royal coronation for three distinguished participants to be crowned as Jr. Teen Queen, Sr. Teen Queen and overall Queen in this year’s Rodeo Royal Pageant.

The long-time mission behind this annual event is designed entertain thousands of annual attendees, also to benefit several Valley-based youth organizations. This year’s edition of Lost Dutchman Days’ is, “Putting Smiles on Kids’ Faces.”

Lost Dutchman Days is a fun event and fine tribute recognizing more than 100-years of Arizona history. The legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Mine dates back circa to the 1860s purporting a fascinating account that Jacob Waltz struck a bountiful claim of gold – and subsequent notoriety. Although Mr. Waltz’s booty has never been discovered, the search for his treasure perseveres. And so does the spirit of the Lost Dutchman Days festival. Learn more about ticket availability, the kick-off party, schedule of events, directions, parking info, and more at the Lost Dutchman Days website.

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