One of the Biggest Apache Junction Events of the Year is Almost Here! Experience the Best of Apache Junction with the Lost Dutchman Days Parade, Rodeo, and Festival.

Backpack Pat here and I have been excitedly waiting for one of my newfound favorite times of the year, Lost Dutchman Days Weekend! This multi-day extravaganza typically takes place the last weekend of February and this year is no exception.  On this adventure of Backpack Pat, I am going to recall last year’s parade and festival to help those that may have not yet experienced the fun and thrills of Lost Dutchman Days.

 

Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo

 

Lost Dutchman Day Parade on Apache Trail

 

On the cool crisp Saturday morning of Lost Dutchman Days Weekend, thousands of spectators and dozens of parade participants line up on Apache Trail to celebrate everything Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, and the surrounding areas.  The parade kicks off at 9 am at the corner of Apache Trail Boulevard and North Apache Trail/Phelps Drive adjacent to the Downtown Focal Point. The two-mile parade route heads west to Ironwood Drive and then loops back going eastbound on Apache Trail towards Idaho Road in an effort for spectators on both sides of Apache Trail to see the beauty of the horses and experience the sites and sounds of various floats, bands, youth groups and other organizations.

 

Lost Dutchman Days Parade

 

Last year’s parade had over 70 entries to help woo and entertain the crowd.  The parade participants included local business owners, various City of Apache Junction departments, school groups and bands, non-profit organizations, and other entities.

 

Apache Junction Prospector Marching Band

 

This massive gathering is professionally organized by Apache Junction Area Chamber of Commerce. Where, on top of handling the registrations and gathering volunteers to set up the parade route, the Chamber staff work hard to promote the event, coordinate every aspect of the parade set up and even work with the announcers to highlight a number of facts and figures to educate and entertain the crowd during this approximately 60-minute parade. Kudos to the AJ Chamber for putting together an amazing civic event each year to give so many individuals and groups the chance to celebrate Apache Junction!

 

Time to Start the Show!

 

With the striking Superstition Mountains in the background, the parade kicks off on the northside of West Apache Trail and it is advised for spectators to find a spot along W. Apache Trail as soon as 8:30 am as the parade starts at 9 am exactly. If you need a little refreshment, be sure to stop at one of the stores or fast casual restaurants that are open on Apache Trail.

 

One of the Biggest Apache Junction Events of the Year is Almost Here! Experience the Best of Apache Junction with the Lost Dutchman Days Parade, Rodeo, and Festival.

 

 

The parade event volunteers help to make sure that the parade participants head down the parade route on a timed basis in order to give plenty of space in-between each float or parade group. These coordinators do an excellent job of diversifying the participants where a band may be next to an equestrian group followed by a float featuring a business or a local civic organization. Each participant gets the opportunity to wave to the parade goers, play a tune and show off their community pride.

 

One of the Biggest Apache Junction Events of the Year is Almost Here! Experience the Best of Apache Junction with the Lost Dutchman Days Parade, Rodeo, and Festival.

 

Getting to the parade is easy, even if Apache Trail is partially closed to accommodate the parade set up. Numerous parking lots are available to parade attendees both south and north of the parade route, especially the large shopping centers between Idaho Road and Ironwood Drive.  Do note, for the safety of parade spectators and in consideration of the local environment, parade participants are not handing out candy, flyers, or any other giveaways. However, feel to visit the shops and restaurants along the parade route in case you need a snack or have a few minutes to spare. Also, once the parade starts, crossing Apache Trail is not permitted. This parade is still fun to sit back and experience as the participants stroll down Apache Trail.

 

One of the Biggest Apache Junction Events of the Year is Almost Here! Experience the Best of Apache Junction with the Lost Dutchman Days Parade, Rodeo, and Festival.

 

After the parade ends and you and your friends and family say hello to fellow neighbors, it might be a good time to head over to the Apache Junction Rodeo Grounds and try the amazing food offerings, do some shopping, and experience all of the fun carnival rides at the Lost Dutchman Days Festival.

 

Lost Dutchman Days Festival at the Apache Junction Rodeo Grounds and Event Center

 

Located off of Lost Dutchman Boulevard and east of Idaho Road, the 30-acre Apache Junction Rodeo Grounds and Event Center boasts one of neatest places to be in Apache Junction for the month of February. From Friday to Sunday, the Apache Junction Rodeo Grounds and Event Center hosts numerous rodeo events, dozens of apparel and souvenir vendors, several restaurant booths, and countless carnival rides and games which results in a something-for-everyone festival.  There is a general admission fee of $2 per person to enter the festival, but this event is run by two non-profit organizations and the proceeds of this event go towards organizations that serve the area. You can learn more by clicking here.

Over 20,000 festival goers attend this Apache Junction celebration over the three-day event. The general public is  allowed to park on the rodeo grounds in the general parking area. If that parking lot fills up, then the parking lot at Prospector Park opens up. One of the largest draws to this annual event is the live entertainment. According to the Lost Dutchman Days official website, live performances start on Friday which will take place at the Carnival Stage.

 

One of the Biggest Apache Junction Events of the Year is Almost Here! Experience the Best of Apache Junction with the Lost Dutchman Days Parade, Rodeo, and Festival.

 

I don’t know about you, but after watching the parade, listening to music, walking around the festival grounds, and shopping at several of the local vendor booths, it feels like it’s time to eat!

 

Popcorn, Pretzels, Pop and More

 

One of the Biggest Apache Junction Events of the Year is Almost Here! Experience the Best of Apache Junction with the Lost Dutchman Days Parade, Rodeo, and Festival.

 

On a weekend day when the sun is glowing, the lines to the rides are growing, and all of the family is having fun traversing the rodeo grounds, it might be time to check out the numerous food options. After all, calories from carnival food vendors don’t count, right?! Just kidding, they do.

When I walked around the food offerings last year, I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer number of options including curly fries, jumbo pretzels, chicken tenders, cheeseburgers, cheese steaks, and other festival delights. For me, I grabbed a traditional corn dog and order of curly fries as I worked up quite the appetite from the morning parade. Condiments line up at the sides of each food vendor booth and there are plenty of napkins for the slightly messier items.

 

One of the Biggest Apache Junction Events of the Year is Almost Here! Experience the Best of Apache Junction with the Lost Dutchman Days Parade, Rodeo, and Festival.

 

Time to Get on Some Carnival Rides

 

Now that everyone has some food in their system, it’s time for kids and adults to experience the fun and excitement of the carnival rides. To get on the rides, there are a couple of options for admission. The Apache Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center (located at 567 Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ 85120) sells wristbands for $30 per person which allows that person to ride the carnival rides all weekend long. They have a limited number of these wristbands and it is first come first serve. The second option to get on the carnival rides is to purchase the wristband at the rodeo grounds for $40 the weekend of the event. After getting your wristband, it is time to get in line for one of the many rides!

 

Apache Junction Carnival Ride

 

Generally, the lines moved relatively fast since the carnival runs all three days. There are some very popular rides such as the Yo Yo Swing and the Super Slide that take carnival goers high into the air. The views are certainly great when up on these rides given that the rodeo grounds are even closer to the Superstition Mountains compared to other parts of Apache Junction.

 

One of the Biggest Apache Junction Events of the Year is Almost Here! Experience the Best of Apache Junction with the Lost Dutchman Days Parade, Rodeo, and Festival.

 

Other popular rides that might be a little easier for some attendees include the iconic Ferris wheel and the spinning cars. Parents and kids can share these rides and might be more age friendly to the smaller kiddos. Whatever ride folks want to try, there are many offerings to satisfy the various intensity levels for every thrill seeker. In addition to the numerous rides offered, there are quite a few carnival games where you can test your aim and skill to win a stuffed animal or another prize. Those games are not part of the ride wristband package.

Overall, go have a day of fun, say hello to your neighbors and celebrate everything Apache Junction the last weekend of February with the Lost Dutchman Days Festival, Parade, and Rodeo. A special thank you goes out to the Communications Staff with the City of Apache Junction for providing the photos found within this travel blog post.

  • February 8, 2024
  • 1701
  • Lifestyle , Outdoor
  • Comments Off on One of the Biggest Apache Junction Events of the Year is Almost Here! Experience the Best of Apache Junction with the Lost Dutchman Days Parade, Rodeo, and Festival.

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