by Ray Newton
The expanded event calendar for coming months promises to be “…bigger and more varied than ever,” said John Heiney, Community Outreach Manager, City of Prescott.
Heiney told several local business and hospitality leaders that increased community cooperation and participation created an excellent atmosphere for event variety. Residents and tourists alike can find something to enjoy during the rest of the year, he said.
The group met at the Hassayampa Inn March 5 for “Tourism Team Up,” a program sponsored by the City of Prescott.
The combination of City-coordinated “Special Events” and “Sporting Events” from April through December, 2019 numbers well over ninety.
Joe Baynes, City Parks and Recreation Director, made a point of letting people know the annual City-sponsored 4th of July Fireworks Show was being moved to Watson Lake for safety reasons. For the past several years, it had been at the Mile High Middle-School Athletic Field, but drought conditions and fire danger had caused it to be postponed.
Rick Hormann, City Recreation Supervisor, distributed a list of upcoming sporting events. It began March 9 with vintage baseball games and concludes Oct. 26 with The Prescott Sixer Bike Race. Sporting events range from baseball and softball leagues and tournaments to soccer, pickle ball, marathons, bike races, roller hockey and disc golf.
Prescott is known as the “…softball capital of Arizona,” Hormann said. “Most people don’t realize it, but Prescott has more games and teams every summer than the entire city of Phoenix.”
He said because of increasing number of sporting events, the City likely will be adding more ballparks and four more pickle ball courts.
Hormann noted that tournaments range from local to regional and state championships and, “…fill our local hotels and restaurants with teams and their families for multi-day experiences, which then promotes economic growth.”
Regarding pickle ball, he said, “Our program here has become so popular that we are thinking of sponsoring a national tournament.”
Michelle Stacey-Schroeder, City Recreation Coordinator, told of more than 60 events, most of which are in downtown Prescott. They began April 6 and run through Dec. 31. Events include arts and crafts fairs, antique shows, music festivals, car shows, wine festivals and several major parades.
She said other cities were contacting Prescott to model their event programs after the successful ones that ‘Everybody’s Hometown’ sponsored. “The economic impact from these events throughout the summer and fall is inestimable. We know this,” Stacey-Schroeder said.
Baynes told the group, “Events we’re talking about today do not include those planned down around the Courthouse Square by the County and by Prescott Downtown Partnership, Those bring in even hundreds more visitors.”
City personnel distributed a sheet of paper which cited some of the economic impact sporting events alone had. Last year, direct impact from sporting event spending was $2,565,625. The indirect economic impact totaled almost $6 million dollars.
More information is available at 928-777-1552 or online at www.prescott-az.gov/recreation-events/recreation-services