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Friday, September 4, 2009

22nd Annual Moonlight Madness Street Festival

Enjoy Labor Day Weekend in Sedona - Fun, free and saves gas too!

Tell all your friends, neighbors and guests about it. Enjoy festivities day and night all Labor Day weekend at 22nd Annual Moonlight Madness Street Festival & Sidewalk Sales in Sedona Main Street District, beginning Saturday August 30th from noon to 9 p.m. and continuing through Monday, September 1 of Labor Day weekend. This street festival includes a wide variety of live music and entertainment, activities for adults and children, plus sidewalk sales at numerous stores along Hwy. 89A & Hwy. 179 in the Main Street District. The merchants and properties make it all possible and they're getting everything planned and arranged now.

This free community event is presented and coordinated by Sedona Main Street Program and the businesses in the District. Bring the extended family for a special time of fun, food, music, and shopping in your community! Park once and ride the free Roadrunner Shuttle throughout the area.

If you have any questions, call 204-2390 or e-mail For a downloadable PDF of the entire weekend's festivities visit Sedona Mainstreet's Website.

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Camping in Sedona - 3 of Sedona's Best Spots

By, Megan Aronson

Q: What are the best campsites/campgrounds in Sedona?

A: All of them. (But I do have a few favorites - read ahead!)

I'm asked this question quite frequently and every single time I get so excited to share my answers. Where do I even begin? I feel like I'm sitting on a proverbial treasure chest of jaw-dropping goodies I can't wait to share with the world! I grew up HATING camping. I couldn't stand the thought of getting dirty in the woods, not having my hairdryer, curling iron, running water or a civilized toilet to use. Then I met my husband who is Mr. Outdoors and he begged me to go camping with him. I fell in love with camping for the first time on those first few trips we took around Northern Arizona. Now, I am in love! We don't go camping nearly as much as I would like though - I think I'd go every weekend if I could. There are so many incredible spots all over Northern Arizona, especially right here in our own backyard.

Even though my parents dragged me along unwillingly at the time, I grew up camping all over the Southwest so I do know good camping and I can honestly say Sedona has some of the best in the land. There's really not a bad campground in Sedona. Almost all of them are located on the banks of a creek (we have lots of those running through this old desert!) and with cool evening temperatures year-round, sleeping under the stars is always an option here in Red Rock Country.

Now, I cannot disclose all my secret spots because then they wouldn't be my special secret spots anymore! However, I can tell you about all the incredible campgrounds we have here in Sedona because there truly is not a bad one to be found.

My favorite campgrounds are the 3 located in Oak Creek Canyon just a little ways North of the Sedona's main shopping & business district. The drive along this meandering highway has actually been named one of the Top 10 Most Scenic Drives in America by Rand McNally. The scenary is spectacular with red rock vistas jutting up from the banks of Oak Creek into the crystalline blue skies. The further you head up the canyon, the more pines and overall greenery you'll find AND the lower the temperatures get!


I love Cave Springs Campground most of all because its tucked in off the road just far enough that you get that peaceful feeling of isolation. Its still right on the creek though with lots of little trails right down to the water for exploring, trout fishing, bug catching, bird watching and more. You can easily find a quiet spot on the creek that'll make you feel like the only person in your own beautiful moment. Red rock walls tower above in many directions and grassy meadows beckon a stroll with the family. Also, right across the highway is the trailhead for the Harding Springs/Cookstove trail. If you can handle a "fast and furious" sort of hike that's not too long but straight up the whole way, the views at the top are unlike any other. Less than a mile in total, you can climb to the top just to stop and enjoy the view or continue further on the Cookstove trail to Thomas Point for a complete loop. Pack a little picnic and enjoy it at the top of the rim. You will never forget it. Soooooooo worth the huffin' and puffin' on the way up!

Manzanita Campground is next on my list because it is just south of Slide Rock State Park (so if you don't mind taking your life in your hands, you can just leave the car at the campground and walk the very narrow non-existent shoulder 1/4 of a mile up Highway 89A to the park) and it sits right on a spacious expanse of Oak Creek. This is one of the first campgrounds to fill up Spring-Fall because its small but sweet. You'll have prime fishing holes, swimming spots, and wildlife-watching right in your backyard. The only drawback is that this campground is so small you can only tent-camp it here. No RV's or trailers allowed.


My 3rd favorite in Oak Creek Canyon is Pine Flats. Furthest up Oak Creek Canyon, this one is by far the coolest, literally. Since I grew up camping in Colorado a lot, I love it because it reminds me of Colorado with the towering pines, cool crisp air, and that sweet, soothing aroma of burning campfires. One drawback is that it is fairly close to the highway but thankfully it is tucked away just far enough that most visitors don't find it an issue. The sounds of creek down out the highway noise and there's hardly any highway noise after 8 p.m. since there aren't too many cars on the road at that time. Usually when I drive down Oak Creek Canyon late at night, I'm the only car on the road! Pine Flats does have one very cool amenity that cannot be found anywhere else in Sedona and that is a fresh artesian well where you can just fill up your water jugs as often as you like! Also, many of the prime sites are literally right on Oak Creek or very close to it. You're also just a few miles from the Westfork Trailhead which is one of the most popular hiking spots in Sedona, known for it's mention in "The Call of the Canyon." Here, incredible red rock cliffs tower above you as you criss-cross the creek on a mild 1-3 mile jaunt through thick greenery, under red rock cliffs, alongside beautiful swimming and fishing holes.
Like I said, there really isn't a bad campground or campsite in or around Sedona in my opinion. There are some though, that are spectacular! So pick your spot, grab your camping gear, swimsuit, a bag of marshmallows, some chocolate bars and graham crackers and make some memories in the red rocks on your next vacation in Sedona.

For more of the details on these campgrounds like specific costs, locations, availability, etc. visit the Coconino National Forest website. Many of these campgrounds do require reservations so be sure to call ahead!

Megan Aronson is the host of "Out &About with Megan" on Red Rock TV Channel 16 in Sedona, AZ. She also the Author of the Blog. She has been a resident of Sedona for nearly a decade and her family has been in this area for over 40 years.
Campground photos courtesy of Coconino National Forest

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

"What's Old is New Again" at the Slide Rock Apple Festival September 19 & 20

From 9 am  - 4 pm on September 19th and 20th, Sedona's well-known Slide Rock State Park will host the Slide Rock Apple Fest. This extensive events draws thousands of visitors each year to come and experience a piece of Sedona's apple-growing history.

A celebration of Oak Creek's agricultural and farming history, the Slide Rock Apple Fest is a two-day event with live music, activities for children and adults, food, arts & crafts, natural exhibitions, educational booths, homesteading demonstrations and lectures about sustainability. The Apple Festival activities will include apple-sorting demonstrations, cornhole and a beer garden, face painting, children's arts & crafts, apple-themed activities, history walks, live demonstrations, an apple cooking contest (see below), a dessert auction and music including performances by Red Rock Country Band and Porchlights. A Plein Air "Paint Out" will also take place at the event.

Slide Rock State Park, originally the Pendley Homestead, is a 43-acre historical apple farm located in Oak Creek Canyon. Frank L. Pendley, having arrived in the canyon in 1907, formally acquired the land under the Homestead Act in 1910. Due to his pioneering innovation, he succeeded where others failed by establishing a unique irrigation system still in use by the park today. This allowed Pendley to plant his first apple orchard in 1912, beginning the pattern of agricultural development that has dominated the site since that time.

The park is named after the famous Slide Rock, a stretch of slippery creek bottom adjacent to the homestead. Visitors may slide down a slick natural water chute or wade and sun along the creek. The swim area is located on National Forest land which is jointly managed by Arizona State Parks and the U.S. Forest Service. Together these areas have seen the making of many Hollywood movies such as "Broken Arrow" (1950) with James Stewart, "Drum Beat" (1954) with Alan Ladd and Charles Bronson, "Gun Fury" (1953) with Rock Hudson and Donna Reed, and a scene from "Angel and the Badman" (1946) with John Wayne.

Fees and Tickets: Vendor Booths $50 (limited space available call 928-282-1418); Entrance Fee - $8 per car load, or take the free trolley and receive a complimentary ticket. Volunteers are needed for this event. This event is sponsored by the Friends of Slide Rock State Park, a local non-profit group dedicated to protecting, preserving and promoting appreciation and enjoyment of the historical, ecological, scientific, recreational and cultural resources of Slide Rock State Park.

Trolley Stops: Go Green: Take the free trolley from one of 3 pick-up points in Sedona and receive a complimentary ticket to the event. Trolley runs from 9 am to 4 pm.

Baked Goods Show: All entries in the Slide Rock Apple Fest's Food Contests must include apples in the ingredient list. This includes, but is not limited to, whole apples, apple flavoring, sauces or jellies.

For a complete listing of the best Sedona Events, visit our Sedona Calendar of Events.

Photos by Kathy Pendley Shaw and Sharon Mott.

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