After months of dedicated planning, the Arcadia Camelback Mountain Neighborhood Association (ACMNA) is ready for the annual Arcadia Neighborhood Picnic on Saturday, November 6, 2021, from 2-5 p.m. at Hopi Elementary School (5110 E. Lafayette Blvd.).
Former president and long-time ACMNA member Craig Steblay said that although the picnic tradition was postponed last year, it’s back and bigger than ever this November, offering more family-friendly activities the whole neighborhood can enjoy. He said that the event has a long history of bringing the community together.
“The Arcadia Picnic was started in 1992 by Arcadia Pride, which was a booster organization for the four Arcadia area schools: Tavan, Hopi, Ingleside and Arcadia High,” Steblay said.
To help with their mission of promoting diversity in education programs for Arcadia kids, Arcadia Pride had several fundraiser events: The Arcadia Home Tour, Arcadia Pride Golf Tournament, and the Arcadia Picnic every November.
“The Arcadia Pride organization folded in about 2007, at which time the ACMNA assumed the sponsorship and organization of the annual Arcadia Picnic,” he said.
Since then, the association has embraced all aspects of planning and ensuring that it stays a free family event that fosters neighborhood connections. This year, popular attractions like the Dino Crew and local Arcadia band Dusty Tuffet and the Phoenix Police, K9 units, and Phoenix Fire ladder truck will return.
Live animals from Deb’s Dragons Interactive Wildlife Encounters and a Safe Decisions Teen Driving Exhibit are new this year.
In addition to balloon animals and games, there will be plenty of food to eat, including Chick-fil-A and burgers and hot dogs (for free!). Two ice cream trucks will be there, offering Leo’s Ice Cream and popsicles from the Phoenix Police.
After coming onboard three years ago, ACMNA Event Chairman Brian Flader has been focused on making the picnic bigger each year, starting by moving the event to Hopi for a larger space where families and friends can congregate. He’s hoping to see 300 locals turn out for a Saturday of family fun where they can meet fellow residents and the first responders who keep Arcadia safe.
“We have a great relationship with the Phoenix Police, and we want locals to meet the people who protect our neighborhood, as they may rely on them someday,” Flader said. “It’s just our way of giving back to the community.”
ACMNA President Tristahn Schaub said that the event is part of a larger Block Watch initiative of Getting Arizonans Involved in Neighborhoods.
“It started as a simple barbecue with representatives from Phoenix Police and Fire and has grown into a large-scale neighborhood affair with music, entertainment, fun stuff for kids, food, and a host of city departments/officials,” Schaub said. “We want to bring neighbors together to have fun, enjoy the weather, and further relationships within our city departments.”