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Looking for information on visiting Cochise County (Benson, Bisbee, Douglas, Sierra Vista, Tombstone, Willcox)? Please visit our website: http://www.ExploreCochise.com and check out our blog: http://www.ExploreCochise.com/blog.

Thank you for your interest in Cochise County!

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Our blog has moved!

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Thanks for visiting!

We have moved our blog. If you would like to see the most recent blog posts from the Cochise County Tourism Council, click here. Visit http://www.ExploreCochise.com for info on traveling to Cochise County in southeastern Arizona.

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Arizona ghost town: Gleeson

I took a trip out to the ghost town of Gleeson one day last month and met up with the jail’s owner, Tina Miller.

Gleeson Jail; Photo by Luanne Mattson

She and her partner bought the jail, and have turned it into a mini-museum. Inside the jail, you can see Native American artifacts, Western gear including old saddles, tack, an old bunk, mining and prospecting tools, ranching tools and other antiques.

The jail was built of reinforced concrete in 1910. Before that, the town jail was a nearby tree.

Gleeson's Jail Tree

The marshals would handcuff the prisoners to the tree, and they’d be forced to endure the elements. Next to the Jail Tree is a natural wash. Sometimes after a rainstorm, the water would rise dangerously close to the prisoners.

Since I was headed down, I called ahead, and Tina met me to open the jail. She then treated me to a tour of the area.

Between 1900 and 1920, Gleeson’s population swelled to about 1,000 people. On the website, it says, “In the downtown section of Gleeson, the population is exactly zero.” A few people live nearby, but they generally like the wide open spaces of this little ghost town. Mining

Here are pictures of other structures nearby:

Joe Bono saloon (Photo by Luanne Mattson)

This saloon, once owned by Joe Bono, is practically falling down. If you go, please do not attempt to enter it!

Gleeson's Shannon Hospital (Photo by Luanne Mattson)

Gleeson school

The foundation is all that remains from Gleeson’s third school (they kept outgrowing them).

There are plenty of other stories waiting for you to discover! The Gleeson jail is open to visitors the first Saturday of each month. Historian Glenn Snow is usually there to tell visitors about Gleeson’s heydays and the area’s history. Gleeson is about 15 miles from Tombstone via a dirt road. It’s also accessible by a paved road off of Highway 191 from the east.

For directions, check the Gleeson Web site. Please check their  calendar and hours of operation before you go. The jail is privately owned, as is most of the surrounding land.

If you want to explore the history a bit before you go, check out the historical sketches, which are written by Glenn Snow and are about bootleggers, scam artists and unsavory characters of the Old West.

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Fall fun in Cochise County

The communities in Cochise County are gearing up for visitors. Every fall they host fun, unique events: wine tastings, home tours, cycling events, garden tours, art festivals and more!

Here’s the September lineup:

Sept. 5, 45th Annual Brewery Gulch Daze, Bisbee

Events such as the “Miz Old Biz” contest and the new Belt Sander Races make up this unique event celebrating Bisbee’s past. Once home to more than 20 bars and brothels, Brewery Gulch was one of Bisbee’s liveliest avenues. Brewery Gulch Daze features a pancake breakfast, pet parade, chili cook off, recycled art show and kiddie carnival games. Look for the waiter/ waitress relay races, always good for a giggle. All proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Bisbee.

Details: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 5 in Old Bisbee. For more info, call 520-432-3554 or 1-866-2BISBEE.

Sept. 4-6: Rendezvous of Gunfighters, Tombstone

Gunfighter groups from throughout the U.S. compete in this weekend event. In addition, there will be a costume parade on Sunday on historic Allen Street.

Free admission. Call  520-457-9317, 1-888-457-3929 or www.tombstonechamber.comfor more info.

Sept. 10 & 11, Bisbee Plein Air Competition Weekend & Bisbee Bloomers Garden Tour

Artists are invited to Bisbee to paint the picturesque hillsides of Tombstone Canyon and the Mule Mountains of Southeastern Arizona. Meet Arizona’s many Plein Air painters and take advantage of a well-organized and beautiful venue to share and sell your work. On Sept. 11, tour Bisbee’s delightful gardens as residents open their yards to the public. A shuttle bus will be available.

Garden Tour tickets are $10 and are available at the Bisbee Visitor Center. Call 520-432-3554 or 1-866-2BISBEE for information on each event.

September 23-26, Cochise County Fair, Douglas

Enjoy carnival rides, 4-H demonstrations, livestock auctions, collegiate rodeo, bull riding, food concessions, retail booths, animal exhibits, arts and crafts, and live entertainment.

Details: 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday at the Cochise County Fairgrounds, Leslie Canyon Road in Douglas, AZ. Admission is $6 for adults; $3 for seniors (age 60+) & children (age 6-17); children up to age 5 get in free.

Info: Cochise County Fair Association, 520-364-3819 or www.cochisefair.org

Sept. 24, 22nd Annual Elks Oktoberfest

Authentic German food and music, games for kids, dancing. Wine and beer available. 4-10 pm. Free.

Details: 4-10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Elks Lodge, #1 Elks Lane in Sierra Vista. Admission is free, beer is extra! Info: 520-458-2065

Sept. 25, Bisbee Blues Festival

The Fourth Annual Bisbee Blues Festival will feature live blues. This year’s artists are Tab Benoit, Shemekia Copeland, the Rhythm Room All Stars, Train Wreck and The Hounds. Food and beverages will be available.

Details: 11a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 25 at Warren Ballpark in Bisbee. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For more info contact the Bisbee Visitor Center at 520-432-5421 or 1 (866) 2BISBEE or visit http://thebisbeebluesfestival.com/

Sep. 30-Oct. 3 Rex Allen Days, Cowboy Hall of Fame Ceremony & Banquet

The Cowboy Hall of Fame is the kick-off for the Rex Allen Days celebration. Western fun, Willcox style, this event honors their hometown hero. Rex Allen gained fame as a singer, cowboy movie star and narrator for Walt Disney Productions. This year will celebrate 59 years of Rex Allen Days, and the 2nd Annual Western Legends Award will be presented. Activities for Rex Allen Days include a parade, rodeo, General Orlando B. Willcox International turtle race, cowboy dances and country music concerts featuring Rex Allen Jr., Johnny Western and Jimmy Fortune. 

Details: Held at the Willcox Community Center. Admission varies per event. For more info, contact the Rex Allen Museum at 520-384-4583 or the Willcox Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture at 520-384-2272.

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Rex Allen Days 2010 in Willcox, AZ

Western fun, Willcox style! Each year, Rex Allen Days honors Willcox’s hometown hero, Rex Allen, who became famous as a singer, cowboy movie star and narrator for Walt Disney Productions.

Rex Allen (Photo courtesy of the Rex Allen Museum, Willcox, Ariz.)

Special guest stars at this year’s Rex Allen Days will be music stars, Jimmy Fortune of the Statler Brothers fame, and Johnny Western. The Cowboy Hall of Fame kicks it off. The 2nd Annual Western Legends Award will be presented this year. Other activities include a parade, rodeo, General Orlando B. Willcox International turtle race, cowboy dances and country music concerts. 

Details: Admission varies per event. Contact the Willcox Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture at 520-384-2272 or the Rex Allen Museum at 520-384-4583, www.RexAllenMuseum.org for more information.

Do you remember Rex Allen? Are you sure? If you’re of a certain age (say 40s or older), you might have heard of him even if you don’t recognize his name. He was the narrator of Disney for years in the 60s and he was the narrator of the 1973 animated film, Charlotte’s Web. So you probably have heard of him.

View a clip from a Walt Disney show, “Yellowstone Cubs“. Do you remember those wholesome Disney shows? I do! I looked forward to Sunday evenings in front of the TV with Mom and Dad and my sisters and brother. For me, it really was a “Wonderful World of Disney”!

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Hey kids, let’s go to the… saloon?

Relax, folks this is a wholesome saloon. It is brand new to the movie set at Gammons Gulch, just north of Benson.

Gammons Gulch's new saloon set ©Gammons Gulch

Last year, a movie called “The Gundown” was filmed at Gammons Gulch, here in Cochise County, and the moviemakers wanted a saloon to film in. So, after raising money, the saloon was built. It’s now an 1,100-square-foot movie saloon!

They don’t serve alcohol, so it’s safe to bring the kids.

Just imagine: a gunslinger charges through the swinging doors, card games screech to a halt and chairs scrape the floor. A shoot out is bound to happen! But we’ll just have to wait to see if The Gundown includes one of those scenes or if a wise sheriff or marshal will talk them out of pulling that trigger.

George Scott, former mayor of Benson and a member of Southeast Arizona Economic Development Group, helped raise funds to build the saloon.

Take a tour of Gammons Gulch today to learn about the movie set and see what I call a place that is like the “Antiques Roadshow on Steroids”!

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July 4th getaway

Looking to get away for July Fourth? Start celebrating early with Benson’s fireworks and Sierra Vista’s talent show on Saturday July 3. Then round out your weekend on July Fourth with coaster races, mucking and drilling contests, softball tournaments, the People & Pets Parade and fireworks in Bisbee, Sierra Vista and Tombstone.

Benson July Fourth Celebration, to be held July 3, 2010

Get a preview of fireworks in Benson! The community will commemorate its 130-year anniversary with a then-and-now slide show, the annual parade, and the popular “Water Fight” at Lions Park. Volunteer fire departments compete in the water fight. They use fire hoses to move a barrel on a pulley system, sliding the barrel toward the opposing team. Spectators often get a refreshing soak, and the kids get to play in the mud.  Entertainment and music throughout the day, with fireworks at dusk and a family dance held at Lion’s Park at night.

When:  July 3, 2010 Parade 9 a.m., Water Fight 10:30 a.m., Fireworks 8:30 p.m.

Where:  Benson

Admission:  Free

Info:  520-586-4293, Benson Visitor Center or info@bensonvisitorcenter.com

4th of July in Bisbee, Bisbee

The famous Bisbee Coaster Races, the oldest and longest gravity-powered race in the U.S., start down Tombstone Canyon at 8:30 a.m. Between heats, the Bisbee Iron Man Mile will be held. A parade will be in Bisbee’s Warren section. Re-created Bisbee’s early miners’, mucking and drilling contests are held in the afternoon with shovels and four-pound hammers flying. The Bisbee Copper Kings will host its third annual baseball tournament Warren Ballpark, with fireworks at dark.

When:  beginning at 9 a.m., July 4

Where:  Bisbee locations

Admission:  Free

Info:  520-432-6016 or Bisbee Visitor Center events

43rd Annual 4th of July Festivities, Sierra Vista

The party begins July 3 with a youth talent show at Veterans’ Memorial Park, followed by a street dance with the popular band “Train Wreck.” Celebrations include the Pets & People parade, with entertainment, food and displays. City officials and dignitaries will address the crowd at a noon ceremony. A spectacular fireworks show starts at dusk at the Paiz/Stone Complex, on Tacoma Street.

When:  6 p.m., July 3; all day, July 4

Where: Veterans’ Memorial Park, 3105 E. Fry Blvd.

Admission: Free

Info:  520-266-2304 or Sierra Vista Visitor July events calendar or www.visitsierravista.com

July 4, Family Style 4th of July at Medigovich Field, Tombstone

America’s independence is celebrated in Tombstone with the annual softball tournament. Street entertainment and a rousing fireworks display at dusk round out the too-tough-to-die town’s events.
When:  8:30 a.m.

Where:  Medigovich Field, Allen Street

Admission:  Free

Info:  520-457-3994 or Tombstone Chamber

July 3 & 4, Douglas’ “sporty” July 4th

If you and your kids can’t get enough of sports, check out the July 4th celebration in Douglas. They’ll have a variety of sports tournaments: youth soccer, golf, adult flag football and softball. You must pre-register. In addition, there will be food and craft vendors plus a Patriotic Parade downtown on Avenue G at 10 a.m. Fireworks will shoot off at on July 4th at 8:45 p.m.

For more info contact the City of Douglas Recreation Center at 520-417-7340.

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