Florence will commemorate the 127th birthday of Ernest McFarland, a long-time Florence resident, former U.S. Senator and former Arizona governor, with a special celebration.
The festivities take place Oct. 9 starting at 8 a.m. at McFarland Historic State Park at 24 W. Ruggles St.
The special event features a farmer's market, art show and silent auction, tales of frontier justice in the Old West, members of the Florence 1800s group dressed in period costumes, and more.
During the celebration, the state park will offer a reduced admission of $2.50 for adults. Admission is free for those age 18 and under. A portion of event proceeds will benefit McFarland State Park programs.
Festivities will kick off with a farmer’s market on the patio from 8 a.m. to noon, with treats available from Peace Love Cinnamon Rolls and beverages from Maui Wowi of Mesa.
At 11 a.m., Susan Jackman from the Greater Florence Visitor’s Center will provide a special presentation about McFarland, followed by a Q & A and tours and stories about the unique history of the park, the oldest courthouse in Arizona.
Finally, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors can enjoy the “Art Behind Bars” art show and silent auction, which showcases artwork created by inmates at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence.
McFarland, known simply as “Mac,” also served a majority leader in the U.S. Senate. After his term as Arizona governor, McFarland was appointed chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. Nationally, his greatest achievement was being one of the “fathers” of the G.I. Bill while he was in the U.S. Senate.
The popular politician also played a crucial role in the fight for water rights in Arizona and founded KTVK, Phoenix’s fourth TV station, in 1955 while serving as governor. McFarland died in 1984.