One of the best things about traveling on US Route 89 is unexpected encounters with interesting people. So when we stopped in White Sulphur Springs to get gas and saw a store with the name Red Ants Pants we had to investigate. That’s how we met Sarah Calhoun.
Sarah is the founder of Red Ants Pants which makes workwear for women. The name comes from the fact that in red ant colonies, the female ants do all the work. Sarah who taught Outward Bound and worked on trail building crews after college, became frustrated with having to buy men’s pants that were tough enough but very uncomfortable. Sarah saw this as an opportunity, not a problem, and set out to design and manufacture pants for hard working women.
To Sarah it only seemed natural that if she was making workwear, she needed to support the women wearing her product. In her words, “It had to be more than a pair of pants.” Thus the Red Ants Pants Foundation was born with mission of expanding leadership roles for women, supporting working family farms and ranches, and promoting rural communities.
Red Ants Pants Music Festival
What does all of this have to do with a music festival on a ranch in rural Montana? Foundations need funds and what better way to raise money and build community at the same time than a music festival. The second annual Red Ants Pants Music Festival will take place from July 26nd through July 29th at the Jackson Ranches in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. The headliners are Ennylou Harris and the Red Dirt Boys, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Taj Mal along with thirteen other first-class performers and groups.
Prices for the Festival are the 3-day weekend pass: $115 in advance; $130 at the gate; one day pass: $45 in advance; $50 at gate. Kids 12 and under are free, if accompanied by an adult. Camping on site, open Thursday through Sunday, is $10 per person for the entire weekend (kids under 12 free). To purchase tickets and get more information on the festival, schedule, accommodations and directions go to the Red Ants Pants Music Festival website.
Workshops and Community Grants
In keeping with the mission of the foundation, the festival includes agricultural and work skills demonstrations including ranch horsemanship, sheep shearing, blacksmithing, meat processing, crosscut saw bucking and grain milling. Preceding the festival a four-day timber skills workshop will be held in which participants will learn everything from harvesting timber, to milling the lumber and ending with constructing a pole shade structure on the festival grounds.
The Red Ants Pants Foundation will use funds raised at the festival to make grants to individuals and organizations. The grants are to help fund projects that align with the foundation’s mission and values. Grant applications are being accepted until July 20, 2012, and the recipients will be announced at the festival. More information and a downloadable application form are on the foundation website.
Supporting the work of the Red Ants Pants Foundation and similar efforts to promote the well being of folks living along US Route 89 is one of the goals of the US Route 89 Appreciation Society. I can’t think of a more fun way to do that than attending this outstanding music festival.
Got fireworks? Got parades? Well, there will be many to choose from for the 4th of July 2012 along US Route 89. Nearly every one of the 150 cities and towns on the highway have something planned. I’ve done some research and compiled the following list. There are a wide variety of choices from big city extravaganzas to small town parades and some special and unique western events. Please note that not all of the events listed are actually on July 4th so check the websites for dates, times and places.
Tubac Old Fashioned 4th of July
Old fashioned games for the kids in the morning at the Tubac Presidio State Park and fireworks in the evening at the Tubac Golf Resort & Spa. Shops, galleries and restaurants open all day, 10am to 5pm.
View the “A” mountain fireworks display from the Tucson Convention Center parking lots including food vendors and a beer garden from 7 to 9 pm.
Florence Freedom Fest
Family Day events including a horseshoe tournament, “Fiery Salsa” challenge, Red, White and Blue Family Parade, and fireworks show.
An afternoon and evening of music and fireworks in Tempe Beach Park.
Phoenix Fabulous Fourth
The Freedom Wireless Fabulous Phoenix Fourth will again highlight the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department’s Independence Day celebrations in 2012. Festivities will kick off at 6 p.m. July 4 at Steele Indian School Park, 3rd Street and Indian School Road in central Phoenix. The fireworks display will begin at 9:30 p.m.
Peoria All American Festival
Music, kids’ events, hot dog eating contest, F-16 flyover and fireworks at the sports complex.
Wickenburg Fourth of July Celebration
July 3rd-vendors, entertainment, food, fireworks “Out Wickenburg Way.”
Prescott Frontier Days
June 28-July 4-the world’s oldest rodeo and other events including a parade, dances and a fine arts and crafts show.
Clarkdale’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July
Activities start a 7 am with a pancake breakfast. The kid’s parade at 9 am is very special and is followed by activities in the town park including music performed by the Clarkdale Community Band.
Cottonwood Fantastic Family Fourth of July
End your 4th of July celebration in the Verde Valley with a watermelon eating contest, patriotic salutes and the best pyrotechnic display in northern Arizona.
Sedona: Tlaquapaque Sizzling Summer Bash
July 7th activities include music by local bands, an outdoor barbecue and a pie eating contest.
Williams Hometown 4th of July Celebration
Barbecue, home-made ice cream, a parade and fireworks on US Route 89 (they call it Route 66, but we know better).
Flagstaff Fireworks Show
The Flagstaff Mall and the Marketplace is an official viewing location for the City of Flagstaff Fireworks Show. The fantastic Fireworks show takes place behind the Flagstaff Mall.
Grand Canyon Fourth of July
The Electric Light Night Parade in Tusayan will set into motion an evening filled with live music, dancing, great food and drink.
Page Fourth of July
Activities include watermelon eating contests, three legged races, Pet “Wet T-Shirt Contest”, hotdogs and fireworks.
Gunnison Hometown Patriots Day
Start with the community dinner on July 3rd and continue with breakfast and a parade on July 4th.
Manti July 4th Celebration
A full day of events starting with ringing the bell at the American Legion, the Little Mr. and Miss Fashion Show, family events in the park and a parade.
Provo America’s Freedom Festival
July 2-4-America’s Freedom Festival honors July 4th with the Grand Parade, Hot Air Balloon Fest and the Stadium of Fire, one of the nation’s largest firework shows.
Salt Lake City 4th of July Celebration
There’s lots of activities in and around Salt Lake culminating with fireworks at the SugarHouse Park.
Jackson Hole 4th of July Events
Start with a pancake breakfast, enjoy the Howdy, Pardners’ Parade and fireworks at the base of Snow King Mountain.
Livingston Festival of the Arts
June 30 through July 2-Presented by the Livingston Depot Center, the show features 100 skilled artists and crafts people and the famed and acclaimed pie booth.
Great Falls Downtown 4th of July Parade
From clowns to antique cars you’ll be well entertained. The parade starts with a gun salute, plus helicopter and mercy flight fly-overs. The local municipal band and combined high school bands provide patriotic music. Finish the day with fireworks along the west bank.
Choteau July 4th Celebration
July 3-4-Events include an arts and crafts festival, volunteer fire department’s keg hockey, street dance, steak fry, rodeo and fireworks.
This is only a sampling so check your local listings if you can’t make it one of these celebrations. Have a happy and safe 4th of July on US Route 89.
I think of Sunday as my day to laze about the house, so it was with some reluctance that I allowed Jim to talk me into making the one hour drive to the Casa Grande Ruins for the 2011 American Indian Music Fest. The promise of Cheetos and a diet Coke on the drive back was what got me off the couch.
Off we went. This is another lesson in the value of mustering up the energy to try something new. The one hour drive from Oracle is beautiful. You can look at some of the spectacular wild flowers Jim shot last summer along the Pinal Pioneer Highway (historic US Route 89). At this time of the year, there is less overt color, but it’s still a wonderful stretch of mostly undisturbed desert. From Tucson, it’s a 68 mile drive north and from Phoenix, it’s a 56 mile drive south to the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.
Full disclosure: I’d never been to Casa Grande Ruins before. It can be seen from the road, looming off in the distance, but somehow in my 32 years in Arizona, I’d never taken the time to go there.
Since the parking lot at the monument was being used by Native American artists and crafts people to display and sell their work, a shuttle system had been set up by the town of Coolidge to transport visitors to the Park. It was great. The shuttles arrived every 5 minutes, so virtually no waiting was involved.
When we arrived at the Park, we could hear the music, so we made our way directly to the stage, which was set up adjacent to the ruin. It was an amazing experience to hear the music and see the dancers with the majestic and mysterious ruins as a backdrop.
We were lucky enough to catch the performance by Estan-Bah–Tony Duncan, Darrin Yazzi, and Jeremy Dancing Bull. I was so taken with Tony Duncan’s flute music that I just had to buy one of his albums. He’s a champion hoop dancer as well, and it was amazing to watch him work his magic, dancing while creating patterns with over a dozen hoops. While he made it look as easy as pie, this is a skill his father began to teach him starting when he was five years old.
The clear air, deep blue sky with the occasional crows flying overhead, the haunting sound of flute, the crowd of people enjoying a unique experience connecting prehistoric and modern Native American cultures together, made this foray into the unknown something I won’t ever forget. And the Cheetos and diet Coke were a great way to end the adventure.
We live close to Tucson. A short drive from sleepy Oracle gets us to a vibrant city with plenty of interesting cultural opportunities. All located on US Route 89!
Jim and I had an afternoon and evening on the town a couple of weeks ago. We don’t go to concerts often, but I couldn’t resist booking tickets for the Amos Lee concert at the Rialto Theater.
In order to make the trip into Tucson multipurpose, we decided to stop by Tohono Chul Park to see a couple of art exhibits. Of particular interest was the Family Ties exhibit, which runs through April 3. It was interesting to see the way in which the relationships between husband and wife, father and son, etc. influenced each person’s work. A number of the artists in the show live in Oracle.
From there, to the Tucson Museum of Art, where we planned to see the Lewis and Clark exhibit. It helps to check the calendar. The show was gone and most of the museum was closed for new installations. Since we’re members, we went in anyway and spent a little time roaming around. Sure is a lot of neat stuff in the gift shop. Way too many temptations. Four new exhibits opened simultaneously on February 12th. A great excuse for making the trek downtown again soon to take a look.
Hunger struck, and we proceeded to El Charro, the oldest continuously family run Mexican food establishment in the country. The food is really good, the atmosphere is great and the people watching is fascinating. Always a treat.
When visiting Tucson, it’s well worth checking the Rialto Theater to find out what kind of events are scheduled. There always seems to be something interesting going on there, reasonably priced and bound to be an experience.
On this evening, we decided to cruise by the Rialto to check out the scene before going to get a bit of dessert. Lo and behold, there was already a line at 6:30 (show scheduled to open at 8 pm). So we cashed in the idea of dessert (probably not a bad thing anyway), found parking, got our tickets and got in line. I dare say we were among, if not, the oldest people in line. The doors opened at 7 pm and in we went. As I said, we don’t go to concerts very often. Things change. I have no idea if this is standard or not, but the theater was set up with a handful of chairs in the back and lots of open (standing room) space in the front. Since we’d toughed out the wait, we got seats. Not that most people seemed to want to sit. Lots of toing and frowing of the audience, moving about, jockeying for position, all in a most friendly way.
At last the concert started with the opening act, a musican from Africa, Vusi Mahlesela, with a great voice and interesting things to say about his part in the political scene in South Africa. Then Amos Lee came on stage. I was enthralled. We really do miss out when we don’t see live performances. It’s good to be reminded of this. Kind of like looking at art on the internet versus looking in person. So much is lost in the translation. Anyway, it was a wonderful experience. I felt like I was transported to another place. Of course, I couldn’t leave without buying Mission Bell, Amos Lee’s latest album. I’ll be able to relive the concert, listening to the music while painting up a storm in my studio.
The art scene is Tucson is lively and growing. Check back here often for updates or subscribe to the blog on your RSS reader.