It's that time of year! As the chill creeps in up north, Yuma, Arizona, is enjoying spectacular sunsets and fresh mornings as the world's sunniest destination. Make your travel plans now around one of Yuma’s upcoming favorite events.
Yuma is one of the world's leading producers of the gourmet Medjool date, shipped worldwide, even to the Middle East. Enjoy a full day of fun, with food, entertainment, recipe contests, displays of specialized machinery, farm tours and more at the Yuma Medjool Date Festival in Historic Downtown Yuma on November 16.
The invitational 23rd annual Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival on November 22-24 (various locations) is sponsored by the nonprofit Caballeros de Yuma and draws balloonists from as far away as England. The festival features flights on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and a "balloon glow" Saturday night.
Leading junior college football teams clash in the post-season El Toro Bowl at the Veterans Memorial Stadium, Arizona Western College on December 7, while their fans enjoy a weekend of festivities in the sunshine.
The December 7 evening Dorothy Young Memorial Electric Light Parade in Yuma’s Historic North End features marching bands and lots of decorated and illuminated floats. The theme this year is "Your Favorite Christmas Song".
The Somerton Tamale Festival on December 21 in Main Street, Somerton is your chance to sample tamales in varieties you didn't even know existed, all made with care by proud home cooks to raise scholarship funds for local ASU students.
With a history dating back to Fort Yuma and the Yuma Quartermaster Depot, Yuma has always been a "military-friendly" town. The Spirit of Yuma Military Festival January 10-12 in Historic Downtown Yuma honors vets and active-duty service members and celebrates its modern-day bases, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground.
Old West re-enactment groups from around the Southwest ride into town for the annual Gathering of the Gunfighters showdown on January 11-12 at the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park. But instead of hot lead, what's flying is fightin' words – and acting! Groups are judged on skits and whether their get-ups, gear and firearms are authentic to the 1876-1909 era. And though they didn't have shootouts in the prison, the historic setting adds flavor.
To plan your Yuma visit, head to www.visityuma.com.
For more information about top events in Arizona take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Arizona.