Inside Arizona: Quartzsite draws snowbirds - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Inside Arizona: Quartzsite draws snowbirds

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Posted: Saturday, January 17, 2009 7:31 pm | Updated: 2:18 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Are you a winter visitor looking for fun in the sun? Put Quartzsite on the top of your list. Are you a resident looking to experience some of Arizona’s unique charm? It doesn’t get any better than this.

Quartzsite is a haven in the desert, the pot of gold at the end of the snowbird’s travels to the Southwest. It’s a little town of 3,600 folks who welcome more than a million visitors with open arms.

Quartzsite welcomes you like your hometown. All the clubs and groups open their get-togethers to visitors so that no matter what your interest, You can indulge in the company of new friends all winter long.

Play in a “jam session” or just relax and listen to the music — sessions go on every day of the week. Try karaoke or dance your heart out at square, line or ballroom dancing nights. The Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA) and the Quartzsite Senior Citizens Center offer bingo, craft classes, pancake suppers, quilting and sewing, and exercise groups to wile away the winter days.

If you are outdoors inclined, Quartzsite sits among acres of beautiful desert 20 minutes from the Colorado River, just perfect for riding ATVs, hiking, hunting, fishing, golfing and bird-watching.

Lots of special events add to the excitement of the winter season. On Friday-Sunday, the Hit and Miss Engine Show brings back the very popular gathering of old-time tractors — up to 150 of all sizes.

During the winter season, Quartzsite is one gigantic swap meet. Acres are covered in vendor booths selling everything under the sun. The Tyson Wells Showgrounds is one of Quartzsite’s biggest draws, hosting three major events of its own as well as a Bluegrass Festival on Feb. 27 through March 1 and the Chili Cookoff and Salsa Championship on Feb. 28.

Located on the southwest corner of Interstate 10 and state Route 95, the showgrounds’ vendors line up for 2.2 miles of aisle frontage, giving visitors access to items.

Now through Jan. 25 is the Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama with antiques, coins, crafts, hobbies, jewelry, gems, rocks and lapidary equipment, great food, and much more from 500 vendors. The Tyson Wells Art & Craft Fair on Jan. 30-Feb. 8 offers a huge array of creative, custom, and handcrafted works from some 200 artisans. Admission to all these events is free.

You’ll be warmed by hot, spicy tasting of chili and salsa at one of the most popular events of the year in Quartzsite — the sixth annual Chili Cookoff and State Salsa Championship. Held at Tyson Wells Showground. This event, sanctioned by the Chili Appreciation Society International, attracts entrants from all over the United States.

Admission is free to the public. Cooking starts at 10 a.m. with a $4 tasting cup on sale starting at noon. Three live bands and a big raffle add to the fun of the event, which finishes at 4 p.m.

It’s a tradition for long-term visitors and those just passing through to stop at Reader’s Oasis to exchange their books.

With over 180,000 titles, the store has something for every taste and interest.

From sunup to sundown there’s something to do in Quartzsite, and you can share the fun with your new best friends — some of the million-plus visitors who come annually to check out this amazing snowbird heaven.

Find the Monthly Newspaper AZ Tourist News at participating Village Inn, IHOP and JB’s restaurants as well as your local Chamber of Commerce and convention and visitors bureaus.

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