If you’re passing through Ajo Saturday, September 10, you want to build in some stopover time in your schedule. The community has developed a free “2nd Saturdays” project that offers visitors the opportunity to drop in and get a feel of the community. Here’s what the day has in store for you.
Ajo is developing a reputation for sustainable community gardening and the fruits of those labors are available from 8-10 a.m. at the Farmers’ Market in the historic Ajo Plaza. You can buy fresh produce and enjoy freshly ground coffees and espressos under the Plaza arcade.
You can gather at the flagpole in the center of the Plaza Park at 10 a.m. for a guided tour that highlights the 1900’s “City Beautiful” movement, featuring the Plaza, two architecturally significant churches, and the historic Curley School, now the home/studio residence for a variety of artists.
The Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors can catch a desert wilderness film, learn about the endangered pupfish and do some birding. The Clay Studio in the Manual Arts Building on the Curley School campus is also open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Cafeteria Gallery at 401 W. Esperanza with its offerings of fine arts, crafts, and featured shows, is open from 1-5 p.m., and a crafts class takes place at 2 p.m. The crafts class is free, but reservations need to be made in advance by calling 520-387-3570.
Reservations also need to be made in advance at the above number for the spectacular sunset tour of Childs Mountain to the north of the community. Participants will caravan to the summit and have the opportunity for some breathtaking photography. The trip – on a paved road – takes approximately two hours and offers spectacular vistas. Box dinners may be ordered.
2nd Saturdays end back in the Plaza Park with live entertainment, and food and drink available from local vendors from 6-9 p.m. And if you feel like you’d like to park it for the night, there are a variety of motels and RV parks in the community.
September is also the month for what has become an annual Ajo tradition with international roots and multicultural flavor. In 2001, the United Nations declared September 21st of each year the official “International Day of Peace.” In Ajo, a collaboration of local businesses, organizations, and individuals work to bring together residents of three neighboring nations – the United States, Mexico, and the Tohono O’odham Nation – to share and celebrate their cultures.
This year, the kickoff will be a free ice-cream social in the Plaza park from 6:30-8:30 p.m. with mariachi music and vocalist/guitarist Randy Albaugh, a former Ajo resident who now records and works in Texas, but comes home to Ajo each year for this event.
On September 21st, the 8th International Day of Peace will be celebrated from 4:30-8:30 p.m. in the Plaza. There’s always much music, lots of food, and a rich diversity of showcased cultures. A major highlight is the 5:30 p.m. parade which wends its way from the school campus down the main thoroughfare to the park and features dove puppet kites, Sonoran “desert critters,” and celebrants. Live entertainment is featured from 6-8:30 p.m., including a community-performed percussion/drum jam, Brazilian dancing, stiltwalkers, folklorico dancing and other cultural presentations.
Ajo is a terrific place to stop, recharge, and refresh on the way to and from our favorite beachfront community of Rocky Point – for a few hours or for a few days. For more information and tips, contact the Ajo District Chamber of Commerce at 520-387-7742.