Erica Perez hopes giant versions of lawn games such as Jenga, Connect Four and ladder ball and a wide assortment of family-friendly activities will translate into big fun for patrons at the town of Queen Creek’s annual Founders’ Day celebration.
More than 50 vendors and almost as many games and activities are planned for this year’s community-wide event that marks Queen Creek’s 27th anniversary. It will be held 5–9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at Founders’ Park, 22407 S. Ellsworth Road.
The event has gotten so big its site was expanded to include the Aldecoa ballfield in Founders’ Park to accommodate the large numbers of people who are attending, Ms. Perez said during a phone interview.
Ms. Perez is the town’s special events coordinator. The Sept. 24 community-wide event will mark her third year overseeing all aspects of the celebration, which grows annually, she said.
“Many of our popular events, like the Battle of the Badges between fire and law enforcement, are returning but we’ve added some new activities this year, like the Battle of the Bags cornhole tournament,” she said. “There will be a lot of free lawn games that are giant in size; eight food vendors who’ll be selling hot dogs, shaved ice, pizza, barbecue beef, kettle corn and Mexican and Asian foods; a 4-H zone with equine experiences; and 46 other vendors, including crafters, nonprofits and information booths.”
Other activities include inflatables and interactive attractions, for which a wristband must be purchased. They include a bounce house, rock wall, jousting arena and obstacle course.
In addition to the lawn games mentioned above, other games include horseshoes, KerPlunk and lawn pong, according to the town’s website: www.queencreek.org/foundersday. These lawn games are free.
The event schedule includes a welcome by Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney at 5 p.m., followed by pig races at 6:15 p.m., the Battle of the Badges with members of the Queen Creek Fire and Medical Department and Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office at 7:15 p.m. and the Battle of the Badges awards presentation at 8 p.m.
The number of volunteers also is big. Central Christian Church, Queen Creek campus, is one of the event sponsors. Campus Pastor Duane Boyett expects 70-80 of his congregants will volunteer to work the event, he said during a phone interview.
“Close to 50 attended the volunteer training session (conducted by the town) Sept. 10 and we expect that number will grow by event day,” Mr. Boyett said.
This is the church’s first time sponsoring and working at the Founders’ Day celebration, Mr. Boyett said. Central Christian seeks out community involvement as part of its “More for More” philosophy of reaching outside the church walls to make a difference with events such as Queen Creek Compassion Day and Adopt-A-Family, he said.
For Founders’ Day, Central Christian will partner with the town to oversee the Battle of the Badges relays, Mr. Boyett said. Church volunteers will count points and mark punchcards at the relays, as well as oversee some lawn games and activities in the toddler center and face-painting, he said.
Central Christian also will have a booth at which members will distribute information about the church as well as helium balloons, the campus pastor said.
Presenting sponsor Dignity Health Mercy Gilbert Medical Center will provide a giant obstacle course for kids, Shawna Green, Dignity Health’s marketing representative, said during a phone interview. Admission is free, she said.
The course will feature eight stations at which participants will run, walk or crawl.
“The course is geared to kids under the age of 14, but anyone is welcome to do it,” she said.
Rowan Pickering of Event Team Inc. is this year’s emcee, Ms. Perez said. A Queen Creek resident for 16 years, Mr. Pickering may be a familiar voice to people who regularly attend the town’s community-wide events. He also emceed Lemonade Days on May 21 and last year’s Bacon, Brews and Blues, which returns Nov. 5, he said during a phone interview.
Mr. Pickering will keep the crowd engaged, the show flowing and announce the events as they’re happening, he said.
“Everything is giant this year, so I’ll make announcements about the different vendors and events, play music and provide commentary on the Founders’ Day challenges such as the Battle of the Badges relays,” Mr. Pickering said.
“There’s going to be a lot of family fun.”
Battle of the Badges
Relay participants will choose to represent either Team Fire or Team MCSO-Queen Creek and then they will receive a punchcard for the 15 relays. The winner of each relay will score two participation points for their public safety organization, Mr. Pickering said. The losing participant will score one point for their organization, he said.
At the end of the tournament, the scores will be added to the scores the teams have accumulated over the evening. The winning public safety organization will receive a trophy, Mr. Pickering said.
In addition, for every three punches participants have on their punchcard, they will receive a raffle ticket for prizes to be awarded throughout the evening. The majority of raffle prizes will be awarded at 8:15 p.m.
Battle of the Bags
In addition to the competition between fire and law enforcement, the community is invited to participate in the Battle of the Bags’ cornhole tournament. Sixteen teams will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis to participate in the inaugural event, according to a press release.
Battle of the Bags will begin at 5 p.m., and is a pool-style tournament with a three-game guarantee. The first place team will receive a $100 Visa gift card and trophy and second place will receive a $50 Visa gift card, according to the release.
The Battle of the Bags entry fee is $40 per team. Pre-registration ends Sept. 20; however, on-site registrations will be accepted if space is available, according to the release.
Admission to the event is free. Two wristbands will be sold. The general wristband costs $7 and includes all Battle of the Badges participant relays. The all-inclusive wristband costs $10 and includes all Battle of the Badges participant relays plus inflatable and interactive attractions, according to the town’s website.
Parking will be available at Founders’ Park; the Queen Creek Municipal Services Building, 22358 S. Ellsworth Road; and the Queen Creek Pocket Park for Pups, 22526 S. Ellsworth Road.
Handicapped parking will be available at the Founders’ Park Community Center adjacent to the splash pad.
Due to the size of the event, a free parking shuttle will be offered to transport attendees from the Queen Creek Branch Library parking lot at 21802 S. Ellsworth Road to Founders’ Park. The shuttle runs 4-10 p.m., Ms. Perez said.
In addition to Dignity Health, Founders’ Day sponsors are: Pediatrics of Queen Creek, Kids First Pediatric Dentistry, Garn and Mason Orthodontics, Event Team, Queen Creek 4-H, SRP, Joyride Express Car Wash and Central Christian Church.
For more information, visit the town’s website or call 480-358-3700.
If you go
What: Queen Creek Founders’ Day community event
When: 5-9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24
Where: Founders’ Park, 22407 S. Ellsworth Road in Queen Creek.
Why: To celebrate Queen Creek’s 27th anniversary of incorporation.
Activities: Pig races, lawn games, Battle of the Bags cornhole tournament, Battle of the Badges relays, 4-H zone with equestrian experiences, food vendors, business and organization vendors, more.
Cost: Admission is free. Two wristbands will be sold. The general wristband costs $7 and includes all Battle of the Badges participant relays. The all-inclusive wristband costs $10 and includes all Battle of the Badges participant relays plus inflatable and interactive attractions.
Parking shuttle: Free shuttle service between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. from the Queen Creek Branch Library parking lot, 21802 S. Ellsworth Road. Event parking also at Founders’ Park, Dog Park and Queen Creek Municipal Services Building. Handicapped parking at Founders’ Park Community Center lot.
For more information, visit www.queencreek.org.