APACHE JUNCTION — The biggest event of the year takes place at Superstition Mountain Museum in mid-January each year.
Superstition Mountain Heritage Days and Apacheland Reunion will take place this year the weekend of Jan. 13-14.
Each year, this spectacular two-day shindig celebrates the history, lore and culture of the Superstition Mountains and Central Arizona, including the story of Jacob Waltz, the Dutchman, and his Lost Gold Mine.
Admission is $5 per person, with youngsters 10 and under admitted free.
The featured performers during the two-day event are the world-famous Yellowbird Indian Dancers, award-winning superstars of Native American dance. The Yellow Bird Indian Dancers are comprised of the talented Native American Duncan family from Mesa, AZ. The group travels around the world as ambassadors of America sharing the music, dance and lore of the Native American culture with viewers.
At this event, they will be performing a repertoire of authentic dances, from both the Southwest and Midwest native cultures. These dances and the narrative and music that accompany them are both colorful and educational. Performances will be at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day.
With history taking the spotlight at this event, the area’s history isn’t complete without the history and memories of Apacheland Movie Ranch located in what is now Gold Canyon. Opened in 1959, it was a Western movie mecca and hosted the shooting of 17 television series, 29 full-length feature films, and hundreds of commercials before it burned down on Valentine’s Day, 2004.
The Elvis Chapel, now an iconic landmark on the Superstition Mountain Museum grounds, is so named because it figured prominently in the Elvis Presley movie "Charro!" that was filmed at Apacheland. The big barn on the side of the hill on the museum is also an Apacheland Movie Ranch survivor, and is now known as the Apacheland Audie Murphy Barn because of the lengthy gun battle that was staged in the film “Arizona Raiders,” a film starring Murphy.
Award-winning actor Michael Dante, who co-starred in “Arizona Raiders” with Murphy, will be one of the featured guests for the weekend event. A free showing of another of Dante’s films "Apache Rifles” will take place in the Elvis Chapel on the Museum grounds on Friday, Jan. 12, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. with a question and answer symposium after both showings. Michael Dante played the title role in the classic film “Winterhawk” and has completed the sequel, in book form, entitled “Winterhawk's Land.”
Other Apacheland alumni including local resident Hank Scheffer, Charlie LeSueur and Ron Nix and others will gather in the Apacheland Barn on Saturday to autograph books and share stories.
Also performing twice a day both days of the event are John Wayne impersonator Ermal Williamson and six-time National Champion yodeler Paula Williamson. Amazing trick roper Cowboy Steve, will also perform both days. See a special appearance by the Buffalo Soldiers of the Arizona Territory – Ladies and Gentlemen of the Regiment, as they presenting colors on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 9:30 a.m. Other attractions are Native American and Western vendors, food and family fun in the way of gold panning and other activities.
Superstition Mountain Museum is located at 4087 N. Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ. For more information, go to superstitionmountainmuseum.org or call 480-983-4888.