by Michael Grady
When Yavapai College opened the doors to its very first class, “Basic Electricity,” in October 1968, no one ever said, “Someday we’ll get a ‘Tonight Show’ host to congratulate us on this!”
And yet, here we are. That’s how dramatically Yavapai College has outperformed even the most optimistic expectations. So, it only makes sense to celebrate YC’s 50th anniversary with a six-weekend, countywide celebration that breaks barriers, embraces the entire community and reaches for the stars.
Jay Leno will be the star-in-residence Saturday night Aug. 25, the first of six celebrations across Yavapai County.
The award-winning former “Tonight Show” host will cap an Aug. 24-25 Prescott Campus weekend that will include: a block party with live music, a Dollars for Scholars Fun Run, The Prescott’s Got Talent competition, soccer games, food trucks and more.
Then on Sept. 15, the celebration moves to YC’s Prescott Valley Center, where the health-care programs there will offer a daylong wellness-themed event with free food, diabetes testing, flu shots and wellness checks.
Two weeks later, YC’s Career & Technical Education Center (CTEC), on Ruger Road, will put a science and technology spin on the festivities Sept. 29. Look for robot bartenders in the beer garden, drone races, stomp rockets, food trucks, shooting simulators and a hidden auto-parts assembly contest.
The 50th anniversary moves to wine country Oct. 20 when YC’s Verde Valley Campus hosts an arts carnival featuring live music, culinary, ceramics and sculpture demonstrations and an evening alumni reception at the Southwest Wine Center.
On Oct. 27, YC’s Chino Valley Center combines with the Chino Valley Fall Festival for a rural/equestrian take on the 50th, with horse and canine contests, hayrides, beer gardens, corn mazes, food trucks – and drone and lineman trade demos.
The 50th fun comes to a tasty end Nov. 3, at YC’s Sedona Center, where its newly expanded culinary program rolls out free cooking classes and on-site demonstrations for the community.
For more information on Jay Leno or the 50th anniversary celebration near you, visit YC’s 50th anniversary website: 50th.yc.edu/.
YAVAPAI COLLEGE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
1100 E. Sheldon Street, Prescott 86301