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Cave Creek Museum holding Miner’s Dinner fundraiser


CAVE CREEK – Take a step back in time at the Cave Creek Museum next Tuesday at the Miner’s Dinner fundraiser. Enjoy a miners-style dinner, tour the museum, and watch the historic Golden Reef Stamp Mill in action during Nov. 15 event.

Evelyn Johnson, Cave Creek Museum Executive Director noted that the Miner’s Dinner offers participants an experience that’s “different than anywhere else.”

“We will run our stamp mill promptly at 4:30,” Johnson said, noting that the museum’s stamp mill is the only fully operational 10-stamp stamp mill in Arizona.

“It’s still operating in its original mining district,” Johnson added.

The Golden Reef Stamp Mill was brought to the museum in metal pieces, with 80,000 total pounds of metal. The museum team assembled the mill, making it fully operational, and now the museum runs the stamp mill several times per month.

Before being assembled at the museum, the Golden Reef Stamp Mill had last been used sometime around 1940. The mill, which is over 17 feet tall, operates by crushing rocks down to sand and was used for mining.

“We talk about the whole process,” Johnson said.

During the Miner’s Dinner, in addition to the stamp mill demonstration, museum members who have collections of miners’ helmet lights will display a variety of these lights. 

Miner’s Dinner attendees will have the chance to pan for gold, and Johnson noted that they’ll be panning from the crushings of the original Golden Reef Mine.

The Miner’s Dinner event is a main fundraiser for the Cave Creek Museum, and it’s also the only fundraiser of the year in which the proceeds are dedicated to the restoration of the stamp mill. Right now, the museum is working on adding a new component to the stamp mill exhibit, and funds from this event will help support that endeavor.

In addition to stamp mill activities, during Miner’s Dinner, attendees can tour the Cave Creek Museum and bid in a silent auction on a variety of items, including jewelry, gift certificates, and original art. Live entertainment will be provided by Down Home Arizona.

Of course, a Miner’s Dinner event includes dinner, and this meal will be eaten outside at the museum. Depending on weather, the museum will run heaters outdoors, and attendees are encouraged to bring jackets.

“It’s a fun experience. You’re out looking at the stars,” Johnson said.

The Buffalo Chip chuck wagon will be furnishing a miner’s meal with main dishes of smoked beef, pork, and chicken or a vegetarian option. Sides include beans and honey biscuits, with fruit cobbler for dessert.

Reservations for Miner’s Dinner are required, and spaces fill up fast. Tickets are $55. Attendees can register online at or call (480) 488-2764 for more information.

Johnson encouraged the community to take part in this event, including families with children, saying that, “the future of our history is in the hands of engaging that younger generation.”

“We really need to have our families involved, and this is a perfect opportunity for that,” Johnson emphasized.