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April 24, 2012

Chandler Centennial Celebration Weekend is May 17-19, 2012

The City of Chandler will celebrate its 100th birthday with three days of free activities, at three different locations, May 17, 18 and 19, 2012. Chandler’s Centennial Celebration Weekend will start with a birthday party at City Hall, followed by an evening of art and entertainment in the historic downtown, and concluding with a family friendly celebration, complete with fireworks, at Tumbleweed Park.

On Thursday, May 17, the Happy 100th Birthday, Chandler! celebration will commemorate the day that Dr. A.J. Chandler realized his vision for a master planned community in the Arizona desert and opened the Chandler townsite office. The area around that townsite office became the downtown square that remains today, and surrounds the park bearing Dr. Chandler’s name.

The birthday party will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on May 17, in the courtyard of the Chandler City Hall complex, at 175 S. Arizona Avenue. The free event will include entertainment, guest speakers, the dedication of the 2062 time capsule, history and art exhibits, crafts for children, and plenty of birthday cake. Mayor Jay Tibshraeny will also recognize former mayors and council members, the winners of the Birthday Cake Design Contest, along with several of Chandler’s current centenarians. Centennial shirts and other merchandise will also be on sale.

The following evening, May 18, the monthly Friday night Art Walk will expand for 100 Artists Celebrating 100 Years, a free festival of art, music and dance from 4 to 10 p.m. The works of at least 100 local painters, sculptors, jewelers, photographers, and other artists will fill the downtown square on the west side of Arizona Avenue. In addition to viewing history displays, visitors can also pick up a free copy of a limited edition cookbook, the “Southside History Cookbook,” on a first come, first served basis beginning at 8 p.m. Former Mayor Coy Payne will also be on hand to sign copies of the cookbook.

The Centennial Celebration Weekend culminates with the Chandler Bash of the Century on Saturday, May 19, from 4 to 10 p.m., at Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road. Chandler residents are encouraged to bring their families and friends to the park, along with their blankets, lawn chairs, and picnic supplies (no alcohol) for a free afternoon and evening of fun and entertainment, including a grand finale fireworks display at 9 p.m.

Several outstanding local bands will entertain the crowd, and vendors will offer a variety of food, beverages and merchandise for sale. In addition, there will be crafts, interactive amusements for children, and a dunk tank. The Chandler Recreation Division will host old fashioned games and contests for all ages. Children can play musical chairs, limbo, and run silly relay races, while older youth and adults can compete in pillow sack and three-legged races, water balloon tossing, and pie eating contests. 

Chandler’s agricultural past will be on display at Tumbleweed Ranch in the southeast corner of the park. That’s where the Chandler Future Farmers of America will host a scavenger hunt, a Wooden Petting Zoo, Chandler history trivia contests, agricultural product booths, and tours of their current corn crop. The East Valley Astronomy Club will also be at Tumbleweed Ranch with their solar and star telescopes available for public viewing. Spectacular views of the sun will begin at 6 p.m., with star viewing beginning after sunset and ending at 10 p.m.

Entertainment schedules, band bios, game rules, and parking information for all three Celebration Weekend events are online at

“This is the big centennial party that everyone has been waiting for,” said Centennial Coordinator Jean Reynolds. “Our hope is that families will come out to have a great time and show pride in their community. We want to see Chandler clans in matching t-shirts or festive outfits, spirited signs or banners, and families sharing their old photos and stories with each other.”

Mayor Tibshraeny agrees with Reynolds, that the Bash of the Century is an opportunity for families to connect over the stories of the past and build bonds for the future. “Whether someone has lived in Chandler for decades, or just moved here recently, they are part of the fabric of this community,” the Mayor said. “It is a great time to live and work in Chandler, and our future is as promising as it has ever been. I hope everyone will join us on May 19th as we celebrate everything that makes our city special.”