Renaissance in the Desert

I attended my first Renaissance Festival this weekend. It was a bombardment on the senses in the best possible way. From the food to the uniquely dressed patrons, there was always something to see, smell, taste or touch. The Renaissance Festival is held in Apache Junction between Tucson and Phoenix on 30 acres of desert land. There are hundreds of shows, shops, games, and other amusements such as fortune telling and face painting. So after purchasing a garland of flowers for my hair, I set off with my camera to capture as much of the festival as I could. It was impossible to see it all, but I was able to see what I had come to see…jousting and my brother-in-law eating a turkey leg with his bare hands.¬†Renaissance Festival 1Renaissance Festival 2Renaissance Festival 3Renaissance Festival 4Renaissance Festival 5Renaissance Festival 6

The Gateway to the West

Yuma, AZ is known as the “Gateway to the West” because it was the first place the railroad and highway bridges crossed the Colorado River that separated California from the Yuma Territory, long before Arizona was a state. Although Yuma is steeped in history, what Yuma is most known for today is it’s agricultural influence (Yuma is the largest producer on winter vegetables in the country) and it’s heat. The ¬†Guinness World Records determined Yuma to be the sunniest place on earth – 91% of daylight hours are sunny! Also according to Guinness, Yuma is the driest place in the nation with an average of 3 inches of rain a year. To this day however, Downtown Yuma is a great place to step back in time and experience some of Yuma’s ‘Old West’ history. It is one of two National Heritage Areas in the nation west of the Mississippi. I recently took a nighttime stroll through the Downtown area with my family. Below are some of the images from that night.Downtown Yuma, Arizona Downtown Yuma Arizona at night