Tombstone kicks-off its 90th annual Helldorado Days festivities on Friday with a lineup of Old West action that celebrates the town’s colorful history.
“Helldorado Days is a festival that started in 1929 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Tombstone’s founding,” said Gordon Anderson, a Tombstone business owner and board member of Helldorado, Inc., the group that organizes the town’s annual celebration. “This 90th landmark event celebrates both Tombstone’s past and future with multiple reenactment groups from across the country.”
Since its inception, the Helldorado celebration is held the third weekend in October.
Helldorado Inc. President Tim Furnas talked about the event, along with a couple of new additions to this year’s celebration.
“Our Helldorado Days celebration is one of the oldest events in the United States,” Furnas said. “Along with our 90th annual Helldorado Days, 2019 marks Tombstone’s 140th anniversary.”
Because organizers are expecting a large crowd, Furnas said they are introducing a “huge food court” this year, with multiple food vendors, which will be set up behind the Chamber of Commerce between Fourth and Fifth streets.
“Something else new this year is a kid’s play zone at the City Park on the corner of Sixth and Allen streets,” Furnas said. “We’ll have several jumping castles and a ‘Geology for Kids’ activity.”
Wyatt Earp’s Oriental Saloon and Theater, located at 500 E. Allen Street, will be hosting the great-grand nephew of Wyatt Earp, a performer who bears his famous great-grand uncle’s name. The one-man bio-drama, “Wyatt Earp: Life on the Frontier,” is Friday at 7 p.m.
R.J. Herrig, who owns the Oriental and is the Crystal Palace general manager, said these shows take place all across the country. A limited number of tickets are left for the show. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased by calling 520-457-2407, or people can purchase them at the door Friday evening.
The Earp great-grand nephew has been involved with Tombstone Helldorado Days for more than 30 years. He is a member of the Arizona Gunfighters reenactment group and has performed with them in numerous Helldorado events.
Every year, Helldorado Days festivities attract large crowds to Tombstone, providing the town a huge economic boost, said Herrig, who praised event organizers for their hard work and the local businesses for donations they provide to help make the event a success.