Cotton Festival Blog #6: Busy Weekend in Marana


Every month the Town of Marana provides a column from one of our Town Staffers to the Marana News and Explorer News. This month Special Events Coordinator Monique Hagberg wrote about the Cotton Festival she is working to put on, as well as Parks and Rec's Wild Burron Trail Dirt Dash.

This weekend will be a busy one in Marana, with two different events that both touch on some of the very things that make the town so special. The Cotton Festival celebrates Marana’s history, and the Wild Burro Dirt Dash is a great way to explore our great trails. 

The Marana Cotton Festival celebrates the Town’s agrarian and rodeo heritage by providing a day of fun for the whole family. The event will be held at the Marana River Heritage Park from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 15, and is free to the public.

We want our signature events to appeal to the whole family, so we have made sure there is plenty to do for everyone. For the kids there is the giant cotton pile, free carnival rides, petting zoos, mutton busting and plenty of games. 

Best of all, most of the kids events (save for the mutton busting) are free. Our events are designed to be a fun, inexpensive night out for the families in Marana. 

For the grown-ups there are two beer gardens, the Chili Bowl chili cook-off and the steak fry. 

The whole family will enjoy the rodeo activities and all of the great food vendors. Music will be provided by the Marana Community Theater: Community Choir and “Nu Country” band Blue Monsoon. 

The emcee for the event is KIIM 99.5 DJ Buzz Jackson. Not only does he represent KIIM-FM, but Jackson is a resident of Marana and has enjoyed our signature events in the past.

The town’s parks and recreation department loves trying out new events, and one of the newest is the Wild Burro Dirt Dash on Sunday, Oct. 22. The sport of trail running is gaining popularity, and we are hosting our first trail running race. Not only does the event celebrate the town’s commitment to health and fitness, but it provides a unique way for us to show off our great trails and the beautiful Tortolita Mountains. 

Trail running is not unlike cross country, but cranked up a notch. The dirt dash is a grueling 18.1K on a one-of-a-kind single-track course. If you can handle it, this race will force you through massive elevation gains, extreme downhills and many technical sections. 

This is not for the inexperienced runner, as endurance levels are guaranteed to be pushed while immersing you in beautiful desert views that are sure not to disappoint. 

Whether you are an experienced runner or hiker, or have partaken in trail running, this is a great way to experience Marana’s Tortolita Trail system like never before.

Just like Marana’s road races, there is electronic timing, a race bib and finish line snacks, but new to this event is a custom participation metal featuring our Wild Burro mascot.

Space is limited as this event is exclusively for the first 250 registered participants. 

Marana has so many things to offer our families, and these two events are fantastic showcases for some of the best aspects of our town. Whether you want to celebrate history, hear some great music, eat some great food, or just watch the kids have fun, then the Cotton Festival is for you. If you want some great exercise, some great views, or to push yourself as an athlete, then the Dirt Dash is the event you are looking for.