The temperatures are dropping and the thought of being outside is actually pleasant, making it an ideal time to experience Gilbert Days — a four-day extravaganza with a rodeo, carnival, dance and community parade celebrating the town’s western roots.
Due to financial issues with Gilbert Rodeo Park, the iconic rodeo was notably absent from the event last year, but thanks to community cooperation and the generosity of the Vertuccio family, the rodeo is back. It kicks off with a barrel racing competition at 5 p.m. Thursday at Vertuccio Farms. The Gilbert Promotional Corporation was allowed to use the land free of charge to erect a temporary arena with bleachers, ticket booths, fencing and an announcers’ booth. The IPRA rodeo, mutton busting, dummy roping and pony rides — and Saturday night’s Gilbert Days Dance — also take place there.
The annual carnival opens Thursday at 4 p.m. in downtown Gilbert, with the 5K and 1-mile run taking place Friday at 4:30 p.m at Freestone Park.
The community parade begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and proceeds down Gilbert Road from Juniper Avenue through the traffic light at Elliot Road.
There is no admission fee for the parade or carnival. Rides are priced individually.
IF YOU GO
Rodeo: 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18; Dance: 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17. Rodeo and dance are at Vertuccio Farms, 4011 S. Power Road, Mesa. Rodeo admission is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and children 7-15, free for military with ID and children 6 and younger.
Carnival: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, Nov. 16, noon to midnight Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18. Downtown Gilbert, at Vaughn Avenue and Ash Street. Admission is free, rides are separate.
Parade: 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17. Gilbert Road between Juniper Avenue and Elliot Road.
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