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Wed, Jan. 29

Don't miss Railroad Days celebration

Railroad history will come alive this September when the Grand Canyon Railway and the City of Williams celebrate their centennials with an event that captures the Old West and railroad days gone by.

On Sept. 17, all of Arizona and the Grand Canyon Railway (GCRY) will be officially celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first train ride to the Grand Canyon.

Williams has always been home to the Grand Canyon Railway and as such is known as The Gateway to the Grand Canyon®.

As a special community tribute to the town’s unique history with the railway and the Old West, Williams is partnering with the GCRY to offer Railroad Days, a once in a lifetime celebration.

The formal 100th anniversary dedication of the railway line will take place on Sept. 17. However, festivities start on Sept. 14 and will continue the whole weekend.

Train enthusiasts from all over will be flocking to Williams Railroad Days events set in the historic district of downtown next to the railroad depot where every morning at 10 a.m. the steam train departs to the Grand Canyon with nostalgic whistle blows.

Some of the event’s activities include special train rides to the Canyon, re-enactments of the original Harvey Girls, nightly gunfights with the Cataract Creek Gang, railway exhibits, the railway museum and a 2,500-seat concert 8 p.m. Sept. 15, featuring the popular Country Western artists Rascal Flatts in Williams rodeo arena.

Rascal Flatts

In May, Rascal Flatts nailed the Top New Vocal Group award at the 36th annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

The trio who make up Rascal Flatts includes Gary Levox and Jay DeMarcus — who are second cousins — and Joe Don Rooney. They honed their unique harmonic sound in Nashville’s Printers Alley.

Released in June 2000, Rascal Flatts’ first album debuted at No. 14 on Billboard’s Top Country Album Chart.

The band’s first single “Prayin’ For Daylight” peaked at No. 1. Their second single, “This Everyday Love,” went top 10 and their current single, “While You Loved Me,” is quickly climbing the charts in the top 10.

Tickets for the Rascal Flatts concert are currently on sale in Williams at De Berge Gallery of Fine Art, Miss Kitty’s/the Mountain Side Inn and the visitor center as well as several outlets in Flagstaff.

Railroad Days’ major sponsors include Arizona Public Service, Best Western Inn, Budweiser, GCRY, HomCo, KAFF Country Radio, Mountain Living/Flagstaff Live, Pepsi-Cola, McCoy Motors and The Arizona Republic.

Vendors

The Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Association are looking for arts and crafts vendors to take part in this historic event and invite all others who may be interested in participating.

“We will be limiting all arts and crafts to high quality fine arts vendors who will complement this Railroad centennial with a theme of either the Old West or the railway,” said Donna Cochran, Williams Main Street manager. “We welcome artists, photographers, antiques, jewelry, hand made crafts and train memorabilia of all kinds.”

However, Cochran said quality local vendors will be accepted even if their craft items fall into other categories than western or railroad. The vendor application deadline is Aug. 31.

For more information and vendor applications, please contact the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce at 928-635-1418 or 800-863-0546.

The chamber e-mail address is info@williamschamber.com and its website is: www.williamschamber. com.

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