The Vail community's annual celebration and showcase, Vail Pride Day, is Saturday at the Pima County Fairgrounds.

The fairgrounds are at 11300 S. Houghton Road.

Now in its 13th year, the event kicks off today with a volunteer appreciation luncheon that will honor approximately 350 people who have volunteered their time to the Vail Unified School District over the past year.

On Friday, a staff appreciation event will recognize more than 1,000 Vail School District staff members.

The three-day celebration culminates Saturday with Vail Pride Day, a huge community-wide event that involves almost every student in the 10,000-student district as well as teachers, staff, businesses and community organizations.

All activities open at 9 a.m. in Pima Hall, Thurber Hall, Central Park and this year's special Centennial Heritage Tent (see related article on next page).

There will be approximately 125 classroom and district display boards, 30 community-interest groups, and six major sponsors in Pima Hall.

In addition, most of the fundraising for clubs and other school groups takes place inside Pima Hall.

Members of law enforcement groups such as the Pima County Sheriff's Department and the Department of Homeland Security will display their vehicles outside.

There will be three stages featuring continuous performances and other activities all day. The stage inside Thurber hall opens with the Posting of the Colors at 9 a.m.

Other activities inside Thurber Hall include Academic Jeopardy, Math Bowl, an Awards Ceremony and student band, choir and orchestra performances. The awards ceremony starts at 1:30, and awards will be given out by Sen. Frank Antenori, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Pima County School Superintendent Linda Arzoumanian and Pima College East Campus President Charlotte Fugett.

Displays inside Thurber Hall will include a science showcase and an art gallery featuring student work.

The Central Park Stage, between Pima and Thurber Halls, will feature performances by school clubs, local dance studios and other community members.

The Centennial Heritage Tent stage will feature the Vail Chorale, the Old Arizona Brass Band, Ken Whitecotton's cowboy poetry, audience-participation skits based on local history, a line-dance lesson and singalongs.

There will also be a Fun Run starting at noon. The run is open to anyone, including adults. Everyone who participates will get a ribbon, and there will be prizes for elementary, middle school and high school winners. No registration is necessary for the run, and participants should gather on the west end of Thurber Hall at 11:45.

Food and drink will be available for purchase from food vendors outside as well as from the many clubs and school groups inside Pima Hall.

If you go

• What: Vail Pride Day

• When: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday

• Where: Pima County Fairgrounds, 11300 S. Houghton Road

• Cost: Free; food will be available for purchase


Thurber Hall

• 9 a.m.: Posting of the Colors

• 9:15 a.m.: Academic Jeopardy

• 12:15 p.m.: Math Bowl

• 1:30 p.m.: Awards Ceremony

• 2:30-3 p.m.: Orchestra performance featuring Vail K-8 Orchestra students

• 3:30-4 p.m.: Band/choir performance featuring students from Desert Sky Middle School and Desert Willow, Mesquite, Cottonwood and Senita Valley elementary schools

• 4:30-5 p.m.: Band/choir performance from Acacia, Ocotillo Ridge and Sycamore elementary schools, Old Vail and Corona Foothills middle schools, and Vail Academy and High School

Central Park

• 9 a.m.: Empire High School Imperial PANdemic Steel Band

• 10 a.m.: Sycamore Muppet Club

• 10:25 a.m.: Signing is Fun

• 10:40 a.m.: Empire High School Thespian Club

• 11:05 a.m.: Rincon Vista Dance Club

• 11:15 a.m.: Ballet Folklorico

• 11:35 a.m.: Cottonwood Enrichment Center

• 12:05 p.m.: Ocotillo Ridge Enrichment Center

• 12:25 p.m.: Studio One

• 1 p.m.: Old Vail Middle School Cheer Squad

• 1:10 p.m.: Cienega Winter Guard

• 1:30 p.m.: Alisha Peru

• 2 p.m.: Dancin' Savvy

• 2:35 p.m.: Danzone

• 3:25 p.m.: Impetuous Boys

• 3:50 p.m.: My Town Music

• 4:30 p.m.: Springs Gymnastics

Fun Run

Participants should arrive at the west end of Thurber Hall 15 minutes before scheduled start time.

• Noon:. Quarter-mile (one lap) elementary school run

• 12:30 p.m.: Half-mile (two laps) middle school run

• 1 p.m.: 1 mile (four laps) high school/adult run

Bonnie Vining is the performing arts theater director at the Vail Theatre of the Arts on the Empire High School campus. She also is the founder of the nonprofit Live Acoustic Venue Association, which presents concerts on the east side.