BENSON — Despite having received only a handful of applications, organizers are optimistic the annual parade will boast its usual high number of entries.

Trudi Harlan of the GFWC-AZ Benson Junior Women’s Club, the group that organizes and spearheads the Butterfield Stagecoach Days Parade, expects entries to start rolling in.

“The majority [parade applications] are received in the two weeks before the parade so they should start coming in this week,” she said. The parade, set for 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12, kicks off the Butterfield celebration, which will feature live history displays, vendors and entertainment at Historic Apache Park on Sixth Street, along with the Butterfield Rodeo on Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 13.

“A Salute to State and National Parks” is the parade theme in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Arizona’s first national park, the Grand Canyon.

Jim Hansen, honored recently for having logged more than 31,000 volunteer hours at Kartchner Caverns State Park, is parade grand marshal.

“Applications received by this Friday, Oct. 4 pay $15; from Friday until Wednesday, Oct. 9, the entry fee will be $20. After Oct. 9, including day-of-parade, entries will be $30,” explained Harlan. “All proceeds benefit the GFWC-AZ Benson Juniors scholarship fund.”

Check in will be from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on parade day at the overflow parking lot at the BUSD football field. Day of parade entries are asked to check in by 8 a.m.

In addition to the Benson Juniors, parade sponsors include SSVEC, Arizona G&T cooperatives and Zearings Mercantile. Call (520) 720-8116 or email bensonjrs@gmail.com for an application.

Butterfield Stagecoach Days runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, at Apache Park, 150 W. 6th St., adjacent to City Hall, featuring the Mormon Battalion Foundation Encampment and Buffalo Soldiers, in addition to an action-packed roster that also includes The Cameo Ladies of Tombstone, for a tea and fashion show. Attendees can enjoy Native Flute, Mariachi, Rockabilly, Western Music, Folkloric and Aztec Dancers, geology digs, mini train, artifacts and Native American displays and the “Kids Kove.”

It’s two days of fun and activities for the entire family, chamber officials said. “Let’s join together to make these events memorable.”

The Butterfield Stage from the Overland Mail Company had two stage stations in the Benson area – Dragoon Springs and San Pedro River Station. The two served as stopping points for the Celerity wagons that carried both passengers and mail on the Butterfield Overland Trail from 1858 to 1861 on a 2,800-mile stretch that connected St. Louis to San Francisco, with a section of the route passing through the area.

Vendor and sponsorship applications are available by visiting bensonchamberaz.org or at the chamber office, 168 E. 4th St.

The Grand Canyon Professional Rodeo Association Butterfield Rodeo will have its two days of competition beginning Oct. 12 at 5 p.m. and at 1 p.m. on Oct. 13 at the Benson Rodeo Grounds at The Arena Bar. Kids rodeo is at 3 p.m. Oct. 12 and at noon that Sunday.

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