There's always a special energy to early fall in Ajo, as summer winds down and the weather (finally!) cools off. But this year there's an extra buzz in the air being generated by new and growing businesses, a gaggle of entrepreneurs, and great events. Some highlights, as you plan your next trip to Ajo:
Harris & Smith, the new coffee shop in the Plaza, is bustling with activity - a creative menus of drinks and goodies, a new retail section (we love these crocheted cactus pillows by local crafter Wendy Hamilton!), and events like art workshops, a family "Sidewalk Scribble", and tours of the old Oasis Movie Theater (the next one is this Saturday, 10/7). Harris & Smith is partnering with us to offer our guests 15% off at the cafe during their stay at the inn - get your coupon at check-in!
Agave Grill, which opened last spring, has added a beautiful patio, revamped their menu, and now has a full liquor license with a daily happy hour. Some of our staff and guests headed there on a recent Saturday night for live music - Vicki Tapp, who works in our office, was performing with her group Diamonds & Rust - and the place was packed. Kudos to owner Freeman Fry and his team for their work on the restaurant; it's becoming a wonderful Ajo gathering spot.
In September our partners the Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture (ACSA) hosted the 3rd annual Baja Arizona Pomegranate Festival in our courtyard, which houses their Many Hands Learning Center & Farm. The event featured workshops, tastings, and crafts starring Ajo's favorite fruit, the lovely pomegranate. Over 200 people attended, and we can't wait for the Farmers Market - also organized by ACSA - to get underway in the Plaza on 10/14. No better place to spend a Saturday morning!
The 14th annual International Day of Peace festival was also in September, bigger than ever. The International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA) brought in bands, dancers and stiltwakers from Ajo, Tucson, the Tohono O'odham Nation and Sonoyta, Mexico, who marched in a parade and performed in the Plaza for over 500 residents and visitors. This event felt especially important this year, a chance to celebrate peace and friendship in our tricultural community and across the border. ISDA's next cool event: a free, outdoor screening of Ghostbusters in the Plaza this Saturday, 10/7!
A new karate and yoga studio has opened in the Plaza, Bonzai Studios. Sensei Arlette Espinoza has led children's karate classes for the past year in the Saguaro Room at the inn, and local yoga teacher Morgana Wallace Cooper was teaching some of her classes in the same space. Now they've teamed up to launch their own space, which is beautiful - big windows, high ceilings, and a new floor. We'll miss them holding their classes here, but love seeing a new business open in the Plaza. The yoga schedule is here and posted in our office, and stay tuned for special yoga events here at the inn with Morgana, like last year's Chakra Retreats.
The Curley School Artisan Apartments is launching a gallery this month, featuring the work of Curley School residents. Getting this volunteer-run gallery off the ground has been a labor of love, led by residents Bona Jordan and Karen Sucharksi. It will provide an opportunity for our guests to view and purchase work by Curley School artists. There's a soft opening this Friday 10/6 for the Curley School community, right after another gallery opening for the public: "Visions from Rocky Point" at the Copper News Gallery.
Lastly, we're so excited to have a new coffee roaster working out of our commercial kitchen. Curley School resident and artist Annelise Keuper is launching Curley Coffee this fall and is busy roasting up different varietals in our kitchen - so don't be surprised if you smell fresh-roasted coffee as you wander through our courtyard! Look for her products at the Farmers Market and in our office gift shop later this fall.
This list certainly isn't exhaustive; check out the Ajo Chamber of Commerce online calendar and our local paper The Copper News for other community events, openings, gallery shows, festivals, concerts...for a sleepy little desert town, we have an awful lot going on!