Jerry Riopelle

Arizona's Centennial Celebration Weekend

By Mariah Fleming

Arizona’s Centennial Celebration is in full swing this weekend. Arizona has waited a hundred years to throw this party and it’s going to be a great one. Lots of fabulous entertainment and family friendly, fun events are on tap in Phoenix and Tucson. If you’re the adventurous type, it is well worth the 90-minute trip back and forth to experience both cities as they celebrate Arizona’s Centennial. But if you have to settle for one, no doubt you’ll be glad you at least took one in.

For example, if you missed Jerry Riopelle’s sensational New Years Eve show at the Orpheum this year, you’re probably still kicking yourself. But cheer up! You’ll have two chances to see Riopelle perform this week. On Fri Feb 10th at 8pm he will headline Tucson’s Arizona Centennial Event. Riopelle continues to enjoy decades long superstar status with Arizona fans. You’ll know why when Riopelle’s music gets everyone’s “ya ya’s” out. Then when you’ve had a rest from being knocked out by Riopelle and his band, you can come back for more on Saturday Feb 11th at 8pm.

Sam Moore

That’s when legendary soul man Sam Moore will capture the stage, and the audience, in Tucson. Moore is, of course, half of the world’s greatest soul duo, Sam and Dave. His energetic, soulful voice and iconic stage presence still mesmerize. Moore’s performance at the great March 8th 2011 benefit in Tucson for The Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding brought the entire crowd to its feet in awe.

It’s always fun to experience downtown Tucson, especially when there’s great music. And added to the mix this weekend will be a Ferris Wheel, tons of kid’s activities, a Children’s Concert with Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and much more. 2nd Saturdays Downtown hosts the event. Get the lowdown at

Back in Phoenix this weekend, the Arizona Best Fest Series Centennial Celebration at the Arizona State Capitol presents Jerry Riopelle at 6:30 pm Saturday Feb. 11th. Following Riopelle, bringing a feminine touch to the festivities, is popular Arizona guitarist and songwriter Michelle Branch (The Wreckers) at 7:45pm. Winding up Saturday evening, the beloved Gin Blossoms hit at 9:00pm. Tempe’s Gin Blossoms had a number of songs land firmly on the Billboard Hot 100.George Benson, Gin Blossums & Michelle Branch “Found Out About You” hit number one on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks. The music of both Jerry Riopelle and the Gin Blossoms is sure to get the crowd dancing with each band’s trademark musical grooves.

On Sunday Feb.12th in Phoenix, multi Grammy Award winning artist George Benson performs for the Arizona Best Fest Centennial Celebration. Benson hits the stage at 5:45pm. Benson’s most recent album, Guitar Man, has been nominated for this year’s Outstanding Jazz Album. There’s no shortage of fabulous musical offerings for this weekend’s centennial celebrations, and there’s definitely something for everyone in the mix. Other centennial weekend Phoenix activities include Arts and Crafts, a Family Fun Zone, Beer and Wine Gardens and Education Pavilions. To find out more go to