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Help Keep the Gold Rush in Town

Webmaster Note: Since Gold Rush Days are coming up here in Wickenburg, I thought I’d rerun this article by John Aabbott, originally published February 10, 2006. If you’re visiting Wickenburg for the “big event,” please support the local businesses while you’re enjoying the Chamber-sponsored activities. After all, those are the businesses who fund the Chamber; it would be nice if they benefited from this event. – Maria

This weekend is Wickenburg’s annual “Gold Rush Days” celebration. It’s the town’s one annual big event and it draws thousands of people to town, with an art fair, carnival, and parade, as well as other scheduled events.

It’s kind of a shame that the town has to manufacture an event to get people to come here. There’s lots to do and see in Wickenburg, yet the weekend the town gets the most visitors is the same weekend that hundreds of outsiders set up booths and carnival rides in an area away from the local shops and restaurants. As a result, all those visitors spend most of their money at the art fair, carnival, and food booths. A few local shops and restaurants that happen to be within walking distance of the Community Center get a share of the crowd, but the ones that aren’t nearby don’t see much extra traffic at all. It seems that the big winners at Gold Rush Days — other than the outside vendors — are the hotels, a handful of restaurants, the Town (through sales tax and business license fees), and whoever collects the fees for all those booths.

If you’re coming to Wickenburg for Gold Rush Days, I urge you to see more of the town than what’s in the Community Center parking lot. Take a walk on East Wickenburg Way, North Tegner Street, North Frontier Street, and the other connecting streets in downtown Wickenburg. Or hop in the car and take a drive down West Wickenburg Way. Throughout Wickenburg, you’ll find shops and restaurants that are open for business all year long — not just one weekend out of the year. These are the folks who work hard to make their businesses survive, the people who depend on visitors like you to succeed. They’re friendly and eager to please and they’ll make you glad you stopped in.

If you’re spending more than a day or two, do some homework at your hotel. Learn about the kinds of activities Wickenburg has to offer: museums, a nature preserve, hiking, golf, Jeep tours, helicopter tours. Or just keep browsing this site. There are lots of ideas for activities right here.

And remember, Wickenburg is open for business all year — not just the second weekend in February.

Last 5 posts by John Aabbott

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