We’ve “discovered” another Southern Arizona Hidden Treasure. Of course, like all “hidden treasures” we have discovered since starting Southern Arizona Guide 2 years ago, this one is hidden in plain sight. It’s just that most locals and almost all visitors don’t yet know about it. We would like to help correct that.
Arizona Folklore Preserve is located in Ramsey Canyon south of Sierra Vista. It was founded in 2000 as a partnership between Dolan Ellis, Arizona’s Official Balladeer, and the University of Arizona South.
For years, Mr. Ellis envisioned a place where our Western heritage could be performed and preserved for posterity. This lovely little theater in the canyon opened in 2001. As Artist-In-Residence, Mr. Ellis performs one weekend a month. Guest artists perform on the other weekends.
We first visited the Arizona Folklore Preserve in May 2013 and enjoyed a fine performance by Mr. Ellis. In November 2013, we returned and were treated to an amazing performance by guest artist, singer/songwriter Michael Grande’.
To say that Mr. Grande’ is a guitar picker is a bit like saying Mt. Everest is a mountain. Both would be a gross understatement. He is one of the only guitarists in the world who picks with all five fingers & he is a master. His life stories are written in his songs: poignant, heartfelt, funny, melancholy. He had his audience, including us, all over the emotional spectrum.
If you have never been to the Arizona Folklore Preserve in Ramsey Canyon, you’re in for a real Southern Arizona treat. And either before or after the performance, you can drive up the canyon a short ways to the end of the road, visit the Ramsey Canyon Preserve Visitor Center & Bookstore, and maybe hike further up this beautiful canyon protected by the Nature Conservancy.
As we left the theater heading for our car, we saw about a dozen wild turkeys in the parking lot. With Thanksgiving only a week away, they all decided to keep their distance from us. We grabbed a camera out of our car, but were too late. They had all disappeared into the surrounding forest.
Shows are usually Saturday & Sunday matinee, start at 2 PM, and last about an hour & a half.
Admission: Adults $15; Children Under 17-years-of-age $6. Reservations are highly recommended. Doors open at 1 PM on performance days. We also recommend you arrive about 45 minutes early, pay, and then browse their bookstore or just enjoy the scenery.
Reservations: (520) 378-6165
Location: 56 East Folklore Trail, Hereford, Arizona 85615