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Happy anniversary, Harold’s! Iconic Cave Creek restaurant celebrates 81 years

10/5/16

CAVE CREEK – Harold’s Cave Creek Corral will celebrates its 81st anniversary with a big bash on Saturday, Oct. 15, featuring a fireworks show, live music from two bands, a mechanical bull riding contest, a cornhole bean bag tournament, a Kids Zone, and more. The festive event starts at 6 p.m. with an outside barbecue and live music on the outside stage, featuring Nashville pop-country band Two Way Crossing, at 8 p.m.

“Most people know we like to throw a big party on our anniversary,” said Danny Piacquadio, co-owner of Harold’s Corral. “We’re proud to be one of Arizona’s iconic establishments, and we owe it all to our great patrons.”

The barbecue is free for kids 12 and under. Families will have fun at the Kids Zone, which will feature a game truck, face painting, snow cones, and more. Parents are encouraged to bring cash since vendors charge a small fee.

A cornhole bean bag tournament with over $1,000 in cash and prizes starts at 6 p.m.; registration is at 5:30 p.m. The entry fee is $40 for a two-person team.

The spectacular fireworks display starts at 9 p.m. and country band Mogollon takes the stage right after. Then, the party heats up with a Sexy Mechanical Bull Riding Contest at 10 p.m., with $100 in cash prizes.

If there is one constant about Harold’s over the past 81 years, it’s that many patrons form special bonds at the restaurant.

"People come to Harold’s as strangers and they leave as friends,” said Bill Vale, Harold’s co-owner. “Many of our patrons are like family to us.”

As one of the state’s oldest restaurants, Harold’s has a colorful, rich history: several Western movies were filmed there, actor Dick Van Dyke played the drums there many years ago, and the cowboy bar has hosted four Steelers Super Bowl parties that people still talk about today.

A man named Johnny Walker built the original structure of Harold’s Corral in 1935. Back then, it was known as The Cave Creek Corral Bar, and it became popular with patrons who spent their days building Bartlett and Horseshoe Dams. There were seven bars in Cave Creek at that time, but by 1947, when the dams were finished and the workers left, The Corral was the only bar that survived.

Somewhere around 1950, Harold and Ruth Gavagan purchased the building, changing the name to Harold’s Cave Creek Corral. Though Harold passed many years ago, and ownership has changed just three times, the restaurant’s current owners continue the legend with good food, live entertainment, and unique hospitality and atmosphere.

While there will be plenty of open seating, patrons can reserve outside seats for the barbecue and fireworks show online for $10 for two seats; $15 for four seats and $30 for 10 seats.

Harold’s Corral is located at 6895 E. Cave Creek Rd. in Cave Creek. For information, call (480) 488-1906 or visit www.haroldscorral.com.