Western Week

One of the top attractions of Western Week remains the Parada Del Sol. (Facebook)

Western Week returns to Scottsdale beginning Saturday, Jan. 28, bringing a broad range of classic events that pay homage to the history of the “West’s Most Western Town.” 

This year brings plenty of promise as two keystone events will be celebrating big anniversaries. 

 The Hash Knife Pony Express will make its 65th annual pilgrimage from Holbrook to Scottsdale to deliver the mail via pony express and the Parada Del Sol will march for the 69th consecutive year.

The parade follows a route from Drinkwater Boulevard along Scottsdale Road, finishing at Brown Avenue and Indian School Road.

 Immediately following the parade,  Old Town transforms into a massive Western-style block party with a kids’ zone, food trucks, merchandise vendors and multiple stages with live entertainment from today’s popular bands to traditional performers. 

This year’s theme – Cowboy Kickoff – recognizes Super Bowl LVII the following weekend. Guests can expect a fun melding for both modern-day cowpokes and football fans.

All the events will be restriction-free for the first time in three years.

“Last year, I was pleasantly surprised with the number of people we attracted for both Hash Knife Pony Express and the Parada Del Sol,” said city Tourism and Events Director Karen Churchard. 

“You could tell that even last year, people were excited to be out again. I think this year we’re anticipating record attendance at a lot of our upcoming events.” 

Western Week kicks off on Saturday, Jan. 28, with casual events like the OldTown Farmers Market and specialized Puzzle Rides. 

However, the events pick up steam as February unfolds. 

One event Churchard expects staggering attendance at is the Arizona Indian Festival Feb. 4-5.

“One of the biggest things that we’re excited about is having the Arizona Indian Festival back in the Civic Center where it debuted as an annual event seven years ago and will be one of the first free events in the newly opened Civic Center,” Churchard said. 

However, the cornerstones of Western Week are still the arrival of the Hash Knife Pony Express and the Parada Del Sol that follows a day later. 

Because of this, Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West offers a unique conversation with Hash Knife Pony Express Captain Mark Reynolds – which Scholefield says has been a popular attraction during Western Week. 

“Last year, we formally scheduled Mark to formally speak at the museum and despite the suggested guidelines we had in place to keep everyone six feet apart, we had a standing-room-only crowd in our theater,” said museum spokesman David Scholefield. “Although we advised people to be concerned about COVID, they persisted because they thought ‘this is so interesting.’” 

This year, Reynolds will speak at the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Theater/Auditorium at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West at 9:45 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. on Feb. 3 and Feb 4. The free talks are part of the museum’s free admission days Feb. 3 and Feb. 4. 

Reynolds will not be the only voice delivering an informative talk at the Museum of the West. Scottsdale historian Joan Fudala will discuss the past six decades of the Parada Del Sol Feb. 2. 

Western Week will also benefit from the coming uptick of tourism brought on by the Super Bowl at State Farm Stadium Feb. 12.

Because of this, Churchard teased that there could be some cross-partnership between the Super Bowl and Western Week. 

“We’re working with the Arizona Super Bowl host committee about having some components to recognize and celebrate when the Super Bowl comes into town the following weekend,” Churchard said. 

More information: scottsdalewesternweek.com.