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History of the Lost Dutchman Days

A small 3-inch announcement in the November 27, 1964 issue of the Apache Sentinel, the Chamber of Commerce announced to the citizens of Apache Junction that the very first Lost Dutchman Days was coming , and will be held on January 23.

That is how it started and the first Lost Dutchman Day was just that, a one day event. C A Rodgers was in charge of the pancake breakfast. Lloyd Larsen was in charge of the art show. Jack Weaver headed up the carnival committee, and Ken Miller was the honcho of the “Horse Picnic”. The Jaycees pitched in and had a barbeque, and Jeanette Lake was in charge of the dance that finished that first Lost Dutchman Day.

A lot of people have a mistaken idea that Lost Dutchman Days is the evolved form of Burro Derby, an event that was started back in 1958 by the Apache Junction Lions Club. But today’s Lost Dutchman Days celebration is a combination of many fabulous events including aspects of the annual Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo and Parade. The Rodeo, Parade and a Queen contest were held in February and sometimes March.

It wasn’t until 1971 that the three things came together and Lost Dutchman Days, as most people know it today, came together and was actually born.

From that one day celebration in 1965, Lost Dutchman Days has grown into a major-premier event with a core three-day schedule of associated events that attract 30,000 spectators.

Over the years, many evolvements have taken place, various Arenas utilized for the Rodeo, different streets became the Parade route, and various locations for the Rodeo Dance were always moving. The main stable factor remained, promoting our great City and providing quality entertainment and fun for all ages. With the assistance of so many volunteers, Organizations and our City, Lost Dutchman Days has grown over the years, far surpassing the Founders dreams back in 1964.