Gila Valley set to celebrate Independence Day this weekend

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM AND GREENLEE COUNTIES – Our nation’s Independence Day will have various celebrations throughout local communities this weekend. 

Graham County


The festivities start off in Pima, which will hold its “Small Town USA Independence Day” celebration on Saturday, July 3. 

The fun kicks off at 6:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at Heritage Park between the Pima Fire Station and Pima Library. Bring the whole family and enjoy a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and bacon for just $3 per person, with proceeds benefitting the Eastern Arizona Museum & Historical Society. Veterans and active military eat for free. 

Following the breakfast, cool off with a dip in the Pima Pool, which will have free admission from 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. While at the pool, enjoy a free lunch at the adjacent Blue Ribbon Park at 12 p.m. 

When dusk hits, at about 8 p.m., a fireworks show will take place at the Vard Lines Memorial Rodeo Grounds. 

The day’s festivities are sponsored by the town of Pima, Eastern Arizona Museum and Colvin Farms. 


Thatcher will hold an Independence Day parade on Saturday, July 3, starting at 8 a.m. at the Thatcher High School. 

After the parade, a flag-raising ceremony will be held at the Thatcher baseball fields, followed by a free pancake breakfast. A bouncing castle and water slide are expected to be available for children to play on at the ballfields. 


Safford will have a flag ceremony and musical performances at the Graham County Courthouse, beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 3. The performances will be followed by a parade down Main Street. 

The following day, on Sunday, July 4, a “Kids Fishing Derby” will be held from 6 – 11 a.m. at the Graham County Fairgrounds with free food and prizes for winners in each division. That night, a fireworks show sponsored by the Safford Lions Club will be held beginning at dusk. 

Greenlee County


The town of Duncan will begin its celebrations with a flag-raising ceremony at 6:15 a.m. on Saturday, July 3, at Centennial Park. A $5 per plate pancake breakfast will follow. 

A parade will then travel U.S. Highway 70 starting at about 8 a.m. at the Ranch House Restaurant and head to the Duncan High School. There will also be vendors, games, and activities at Centennial Park.

File Photo By Walt Mares: No parade in Arizona would be complete without horses ridden here in the Duncan July 4, 2018 parade. The horses are strong symbols of tradition in the American southwest. They were key in the settlement of Arizona providing transportation and working farms and ranches.

Basketball and volleyball games will be at Duncan High School, begging at 9 a.m. A corn hole tournament will take place on Main Street at about 9:30 a.m.

If the area sees enough rainfall, a fireworks display will be held at the Duncan High School football field, followed by a family dance from 9 p.m. to midnight on Main Street featuring a live band.


The Freeport-McMoRan Inc. Morenci Operations has been given permission to put on a fireworks show on July 4 under the direction of the Morenci Fire Association.