Spirit of Yuma festival honors military
A brass band, Army artwork and a celebration of the military will captivate Yuma's Main Street during the third annual Spirit of Yuma Military Festival.
The three-day event will be held Jan. 11-13 on Main Street to pay tribute to the area's military and to raise awareness of its importance to the community's economy and its fabric, said Perlita Wick, coordinator for Heritage Festivals, which puts on Spirit of Yuma.
The Yuma area is home to two military installations: Yuma Proving Ground, the U.S. Army's largest test range in terms of work and dollars, and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, a premier aviation training base. The military sector is considered the second leading economic leg of the area's economy.
In addition to active duty military here, 16,000 veterans live in the Yuma area year round, Wicks said. And the area attracts numerous other veterans as winter visitors.
The festival's hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
“It will be free, fun and educational,” Wicks said.
The 62nd Army Band's brass quintet from Fort Huachuca will perform rousing patriotic marches and jazz standards from the Big Band era each day of the festival. Other entertainment will be featured as well throughout the festival on the stage on Main Street in front of the Yuma County Administration building.
Saturday, Marines dressed in uniforms from different eras in the Marine Corps' history will talk in character about their experiences.
Historic presentations by guest speakers will be presented Friday and Saturday in the Historic Yuma Theatre and a movie about the military will be shown Friday afternoon in the theater.
For those who are into shopping or eating, vendors will line Main Street and several Main Street merchants will be open for business. There will also be a beer garden for those who get thirsty located on 3rd Street Friday and Saturday.
Meanwhile, an exhibit of military artwork, photographs and newspaper clippings will open Friday evening in the Yuma Art Center and remain on display for six weeks.
The centerpiece of YPG's exhibition will be a collection of 40 high-quality reproductions of artwork produced by American soldiers. This year's exhibition will highlight historic images of Army operations in the Southwest and during the Vietnam War period.
MCAS Yuma will be present with a large exhibit, as well, with a series of photographs of the station from its beginnings to the present day. It also will show a video of the recent arrival of the F-35, the nation's newest fighter jet.