Festive and Free

More than 20,000 are expected to attend the parade Del Sol parade

Horse-drawn carriages, wagons and stagecoaches. Bands playing lively tunes. Local celebrities, horse riders, dancers and more.

These are just a few of the many wonderful sights and sounds that will be part of the 66th Annual Scottsdale Parada del Sol Parade on Saturday, February 9. The theme for this year’s parade is “Arizona Heroes.”

When the parade is over and the final entrant has gone by, the streets of Old Town Scottsdale will transform into the Trail’s End Festival, a street festival featuring western bands, street dancing, and a Cowboy Kids zone filled with a petting zoo, bounce houses, cowboy drama and horse rides.

“The parade is a true community event showcasing our multi-cultural heritage and it is free to attend,” says Wendy Springborn, president of the Parada del Sol Parade, adding that for 66 years the Scottsdale Parada del Sol committee of volunteers has coordinated the parade filled with horse-drawn carriages, bands, wagons and stagecoaches.

“I truly believe this event brings our community together for a day of celebration, a chance to highlight some of the best of Scottsdale including our schools, businesses and organizations, and it’s free to attend. How can it get any better than that?”

As Springborn notes, the parade entries and Trail’s End Festival definitely have something for people of all ages, from horse-drawn carriages and folklorico dancers to Native American royalty and more.

The family-friendly parade, which is expected to draw about 20,000 enthusiastic spectators – so arrive early and bring chairs – has an interesting history.

“The Scottsdale Parada del Sol was created in 1957 by members of the Scottsdale Jr. Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the history of the ‘West’s Most Western Town,’” says Ellen Bilbrey, media contact for Parada del Sol and Trail’s End Festival. “The first parades had cows running down the middle of the street as a cattle drive. The town was a dusty place along the road with a few businesses.”

The ironic part about this story, Bilbrey notes, is that Scottsdale is now a popular tourism destination with some of the best high-end spas in the country, hotels and restaurants – and probably not a cow in sight running down the street.

About 120 entries are expected for this year’s parade, Bilbrey says, including individuals and groups that travel from around the state to take part in the parade. “A good example is the Ram Dancers who come from the bottom of the Grand Canyon Hualapai Tribe. There are also the Cabalgando horses – the team is focusing on the ‘spirit’ of the old west and lore that has attracted visitors from around the world to Scottsdale.”

The famous 1959 “Howdy Dudettes,” ambassadors from the Embassy Suites Hilton Scottsdale Resort, will be official western ambassadors during the festivities, Bilbrey says, adding that a colorful and fascinating cultural Arizona Indian Festival will take place on the same day at the Civic Center Mall.

“The three street stages at the Trail’s End Festival will have rockabilly, string, and rock bands. The Arizona Wine Garden will feature award-winning wines from Arizona, and Aztec and folklorico dancers on the Hispanic stage, and street entertainers will offer photographers a vast array of vivid color and western style,” Bilbrey says.

Bilbrey says Rock Lobster, The Herndon Brothers and The Raun Alosi Band are the featured bands, and that Times Media Group president Steve Strickbine will sing the National Anthem on the Silverado Stage.

The festivities actually begin the Friday before the parade, Bilbrey says, when the Hashknife Pony Express riders will bring in the U.S. mail at noon, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will a cowboy camp for kids at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West.

For Springborn and several fellow committee members, the parade is a walk down memory lane – literally and figuratively. “This event is a blast from the past for me. In the early to mid-1970s, I had the chance to march in the parade as a student from Ingleside Elementary,” Springborn says, adding that for two years she was a baton twirler. “It was so exciting to be able to march in the parade and then later in life, be able to ride a horse in the parade as a Scottsdale Jaycee.”

Springborn says one of her co-chairs, Dr. Don Chiappetti, had a very similar experience as she did with the parade. “A number of our committee members and volunteers grew up around Parada because their parents participated on committees and now they are giving back to continue to ensure the ongoing success of the Scottsdale Parada del Sol Parade and Trail’s End Festival.”

Parada del Sol Parade, “Arizona’s Heroes”

Saturday, February 9


9 a.m.: Pre-parade entertainment

10 a.m.: Scottsdale Parada del Sol Main Parade

12 p.m.: Silverado Stage VIP Presentations

12-4 p.m.: Trail’s End street festival in Old Town

9 a.m.-6 p.m.: Arizona Indian Festival, Scottsdale Civic Center (concurrent event)

For information on the parade route and more, please visit


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