TOMBSTONE — For a weekend of true Old West street entertainment, fashion shows and dancing, head on over to “The Town too Tough to Die” for the 34th annual Tombstone Vigilante Days celebration.
“We’ll have skits and dancing on historic Allen Street every hour from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.,” said Steve Reeder, one of the event organizers. “There will be comic and historic reenactments every hour on Allen Street. The Vigilettes are holding a fashion show both days at 1:30 p.m. and the Cochise Tribal Dancers and Wild Witches of the West are stepping in to entertain the crowd with their dances at different times throughout the weekend.”
The infamous Vigilante Hanging Tree will be set up and waiting for unwary characters wandering through town.
“Our hanging tree is available for photo ops,” Reeder said. “Participants are provided with a ‘death certificate,’ and for the first time this year, you can be photographed in a coffin.”
While in town, Reeder is urging visitors to browse through the shops, visit the town’s historic sites and enjoy the saloons and restaurants.
Proceeds raised by the Vigilantes are used for different charitable purposes in Tombstone, including scholarships for the high school’s graduating seniors.
“This is a three-day weekend because of President’s Day, so we’re expecting a steady stream of tourists through town the entire weekend,” said Reeder, who offered a brief history about the Vigilantes. “The Tombstone Vigilantes are now celebrating more than 70 years of service in Tombstone and Cochise County. The organization started in 1948 and incorporated in 1954 as a nonprofit with a focus on recreating and preserving Tombstone’s history and heritage.”
With roots that go back to Tombstone Helldorado Days, Reeder said a large number of Helldorado organizers branched out and started the Vigilantes to create more western-themed events for the town.
“The idea was to hold activities throughout the year instead of just having an annual event, which is what Helldorado Days is,” he said. “We have a seven-member board of directors, and more than 700 members have been involved with the organization since its inception.”
The Vigilantes offer free street entertainment every second and fourth Sunday of the month, along with reenactments throughout the year on event weekends.
And of course, the group is always willing to schedule a good hanging by appointment.
“So give us a call and we’ll arrange a hanging for you or some of your good friends,” Reeder offered. “Hangings are actually one of our more popular pass-times.”