TOMBSTONE — Despite closures, social distancing, masks and the “new normal” visitors strolled Tombstone’s boardwalks on Saturday for the town’s fourth annual Doc Holli-DAYS celebration.
“We don’t have the large crowds that we experienced in past Doc Holli-DAYS events, but we’re excited to be able to welcome visitors to Tombstone in spite of COVID and all the restrictions it brings,” said Sherry Rudd who co-organizes the annual event with her husband, Kevin.
“Folks are happy to be able to get out and experience the town. They’re enjoying the historic sites, restaurants and shops and are excited about meeting our celebrity guests.”
Actors Buck Taylor and Peter Sherayko, who appeared in the movie “Tombstone,” were in town for meet-and-greets. They provided fans with photo ops and autographs, while Billy Zane, another “Tombstone” actor, held a virtual meeting for his fans.
“This is like a ‘new normal’ experiment for all of us,” said Goldie Taylor, Buck’s wife. “People are enjoying getting out, walking around the town and looking for places to go. They love getting out and doing things after all the closures that have been happening. This is our first Doc Holli-DAYS event, and we’re so glad we came,” she added.
“The town is a lot of fun and everyone has been amazing,” she said.
Tombstone resident Kirsten Evans, who described herself as “a big fan of the movie ‘Tombstone,’” has been to every Doc Holli-DAYS event.
“We’re excited that the town is holding this,” she said. “With all the closures and event cancellations, we weren’t sure what to expect this year. It’s fun to get out and meet the celebrities.”
“Both are so talented. Buck Taylor is a fabulous artist, and Peter Sherayko has authored two children’s books that we purchased for our daughter, Harper, at a previous Doc Holli-DAYS event,” she added.
Buck Taylor was set up at Bronco Trading, where he had a vast selection of his watercolor artwork on display.
“We’re having a really good time here,” the actor said. “We have a ranch in Texas, but I love Arizona. When we arrived in town, I was filled with memories of the movie,” he said.
COVID caused closures for the town’s saloons, but restaurants and shops were open, with social distancing guidelines in place.
The Tombstone art gallery, featuring the work of local artists, drew a steady stream of visitors.
“We’re happy to see the people in here,” said Jan Huthoefer, one of the artists. “The gallery has been closed for several months, so it’s really nice to have it open again with fresh work on display. We’re meeting people from all over the country.”
Cave Creek residents Joel and Linda Simcoe are frequent Tombstone visitors.
“I’ve been coming to Tombstone since I was 2,” Joel said. “We’re familiar with all these businesses and we’re here to support this town. Tombstone is like my Disneyland fix. We were here for past Doc Holli-DAYS events when Val Kilmer and Dennis Quaid were the celebrity guests,” he added.
Dee Atkinson from Easton, Pennsylvania is another return visitor.
“I was at the 2018 Doc Holli-DAYS with my friend Dr. Tony DiGeorge, and we had such a good time that we’re here again,” she said. “We both enjoy Tombstone because it’s such a unique western town with so much history.”
Members of local nonprofit Tombstone Vigilettes were in the City Park collecting donated Teddy Bears they plan to distribute to county emergency responders. The group also held a fundraiser in the park, with the money supporting its charitable endeavors.
Scheduled as a three-day event, Doc Holli-DAYS started Friday and goes through Sunday.
“We’re holding a beard and mustache competition between 10 and 3 tomorrow (Sunday), where contestants wander through town and are judged,” Sherry Rudd said. “Sunday at noon the Mayor (Dusty Escapule) is presenting certificates of appreciation to the celebrities and Buck Taylor is going to be presented with a bronze sculpture by artist Larry Gay.”
For event information, visit theannualdochollidays.com.