As we get ready to welcome the heat and say goodbye to our seasonal residents, it seems fitting to look at a brief history to explore the culture that Surprise offers. The beautiful town of Surprise developed its name on a fluke when our founder, Flora Statler, said, “I would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much.” Little did she know, in 1938, that the one square mile piece of farmland would end up as one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation!
It’s hard to imagine the six lanes of Grand Avenue was once a trail called Vulture Road. After harvesting, mule teams would use Vulture Road to take goods to mining communities. In 1868, a stagecoach line began operation, running for 30 years. The railroad was welcomed in 1895 when lines officially opened to the Phoenix area.
In 1941, the City of Phoenix leased 1440 acres of land to Luke Air Force Base for $1 a year which was the beginning of the base. During WWII, Luke was the largest fighter training base in the Army Air Forces. Many residents would be interested to learn that the current City Hall is located on the site of one of Luke’s former auxiliary airfields, to which you are still able to see the runways via aerial view.
Surprise was growing and changing long before it officially became incorporated in 1960. Changing from farm fields to military bases to rows of homes, the land of Surprise has transformed drastically as it grew to be home to the nearly 133,000 residents we have today!
The West Valley Arts HQ, located at 16126 N Civic Center Driver, will hold Lunchtime Theater on April 4 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. featuring The Marvelous Wonderettes. Please call 623-584-2626 for more information. The cost is $11.95.
Hop aboard the Public Art Bus Tour to Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg on April 13. There is no cost to participate. The bus will depart from City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza, at 11:00 a.m. with a return time of 3:00 p.m. Museum entry is $9.00. Please call 623-214-7537 for more information.
Come enjoy the spring air at the Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival on April 14 from 4 – 8 p.m. at Mark Coronado Park, 15960 N. Bullard Avenue. Several foods trucks will be there to satisfy your taste buds. Bring your blanket or chair and enjoy live music by Steven P Project. Admission is always free!
WHAM, located at 16560 N Dysart Road, is hosting Open Mic night for poetry, free verse and storytelling on April 19 from 6 – 8 p.m. Everyone is welcome to participate as performers and/or listeners. This is a free event. If you would like more information, please call 623-334-5271.
Spring Eggstravaganza is scheduled for April 20 from 7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Kansas City Royals Practice Field, 15850 N Bullard Avenue. Toddlers to 10 year olds are invited to join the search for more than 50,000 candy and toy filled eggs. This is a free event for the whole family that will feature face painters, balloon artists, inflatables, and of course, Mr. & Mrs. Bunny! Gates open at 7:30 a.m.
As always, I invite you to join me at one of my monthly meetings. I meet the second Wednesday of each month from 3 – 4 p.m. in the Arizona Traditions Classroom. Please ask the gate guard for directions upon arrival. Additionally, I meet the fourth Tuesday of each month in the Sun City Grand Palm Center – Mediterranean Room (19726 N. Remington Dr.) at 10 a.m. Please stop by and chat with me about what’s going on in the city!