Hayden’s Ferry Days, March 2-4, is a three-day celebration of Tempe’s past and future, presented by the Tempe Historical Society.
Tempe History Museum

Hayden’s Ferry Days began to honor one of Tempe’s first businesses. Introduced in 1971 for the city’s centennial year, it proved to be a popular six-month celebration of heritage and history.

In 2016, Peggy Bryant, Tempe Historical Society member and former Tempe Daily News reporter and editor who worked on the 100th birthday event, suggested reviving the spirit of ’71 and turning it into annual tradition.

So, March 2-4, the Tempe Historical Society, along with numerous community partners, hosts the 3rd Annual Hayden’s Ferry Days – a family-friendly, city-wide festival paying homage to Tempe’s past and future.

The three-day event begins with a Friday night Founder’s Day Dinner at the historic Hackett House, presented by Tempe Sister Cities. Former city council member and longtime educator Joe Spracale will emcee an evening featuring a Western-style barbecue dinner and country band Three Horse Town. Tickets for the gala are $50.

Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is a free day of activities at the museum and in its plaza. Musical highlights range from ASU’s Tuba & Euphonium Ensemble to the Gilbert Town Fiddlers and Cisco and the Racecars.

Among a variety of booths, displays and hands-on activities are cactus brick Legos, a model train layout, a display of historic gramophones, antique cars and motorcycles, and just in time for spring training, a baseball history exhibit.

Along with many intriguing attractions is the Hayden’s Ferry Questers sponsored Vintage & Antique Indoor Market, and appraisal table in the Edna Vihel Center.

Sunday, March 4, focuses on tours of Tempe’s most fascinating historic sites – beginning with the Tempe Historic Preservation’s Annual Downtown Walk Thru History.

An 8 a.m. Continental breakfast at the Hackett House kicks off the event, followed by small group guided tours with some of our community’s most knowledgeable historians, architects and personalities.

Tickets for this once-a-year event are $25.

Four historic homes representing a broad cross-section of Tempe’s past will have their doors open to visitors. The free day of exploration includes the Hackett House, one of Tempe’s first spec buildings and home of an early bakery.

The Petersen House is the only remaining example of a wealthy rancher’s home. In contrast, the simple adobe Elias-Rodriguez House was the home of a pioneering Hispanic family.

When Rose Eisendrath, widow of a prominent Chicago glove manufacturer, was denied access to an early posh resort hotel because of her religion, she built Lomaki, (Hopi for “pretty house”) an adobe home with a spectacular view.

Free guided tours of this historic landmark will be offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Complete information about the day and ticketed activities can be found at eventbrite.com/e/haydens-ferry-days-2018-tickets-41802624776

– Vic Linoff is president of the Tempe Historical Society.

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