What to Do in Casa Grande
Surrounded by deserts and mountains, Casa Grande, celebrating its 127th anniversary in 2006, boasts an abundance of sunny days, dazzling sunsets, a rich multi-cultural history, and area residents who immediately make you feel like friends. Add this to the area’s unique natural beauty where the Old West meets the New West and you have the secret to Casa Grande’s allure.
The city bustles with activity during the fall, winter, and spring. The season is jam-packed with festivals, activities, and fun, such as the Annual Fiddlers’ Bluegrass Jamboree, Heritage Tourism Days, Wuertz Farm Family Gourd Festival, O’Odham Tash Festival, Arizona State Open Chili Championship, Cactus Fly-In, Civil War re-enactment, and much, much more. In addition, there is a special series of events specifically created for 55+ winter visitors and area residents, called the Winter Celebration, as it is designed to take advantage of Casa Grande’s seven months of glorious weather.
Of course, there are year-round activities for visitors and residents of all ages such as Skydive Arizona, which now boasts an indoor wind tunnel – for the experience of skydiving without actually jumping out of a plane! Casa Grande offers museums, parks, golf courses, a variety of restaurants, movie theaters and more.
An Interstate hub of Arizona, Casa Grande is strategically located halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, and at the intersection of Interstates 8 and 10. The city is the retail center for western Pinal County and includes many merchants from national retail chains to smaller specialty stores to antique shops, a beautiful Historic Downtown district, and the Outlets of Casa Grande with more than 35 quality outlet stores, which attracts nearly two million shoppers per year.
Casa Grande is a modern city with a rural heritage. Although all the modern amenities can be found in the progressive city, it still maintains its small-town charm and relaxed lifestyle that set it apart from other cities of its size. Founded in 1879 and incorporated in 1915, Casa Grande is the second largest community in Pinal County with a population of nearly 36,000 year-round residents.
Casa Grande traces its beginnings 126 years ago, to the Southern Pacific Railroad. In the summer of 1879, railroad crews stopped working on the rail line that was being constructed through southern Arizona, due to the heat. By the time the railroad moved on, supplies had built up at this “end-of-the-line”, and the resulting community was named Terminus. The town was later named Casa Grande for the Hohokam Indian ruins, 20 miles away. By 1882, the town had a diverse multi-cultural population of 500 residents.
Downtown Casa Grande burned three times between 1884 and 1915. Each time, merchants and business leaders rebuilt the town. In the 1890s, a national mining slump almost devastated Casa Grande, and by 1902 the business district had declined to a mercantile, a saloon and two smaller stores. Agriculture saved the day, and Casa Grande flourished once again.
The town whose residents refused to let it die, today still prospers from that same progressive attitude and community spirit – creating a warm and fun-loving city. And, that is the true secret of its charm.
For more information of event schedules, call the Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce, (800) 916-1515, or (520) 836-2125. Website: www.casagrandechamber.org.