FLORENCE — From ghost towns to murder mysteries to Arizona filmmaking, “Ernest Talks” is letting visitors experience the history of Florence and surrounding Pinal County in a new way at McFarland Historic State Park.
Arizona’s most unusual state park, located at 24 W. Ruggles St., is bringing back its popular discussion series on local culture for its 2022-23 event schedule.
Free events return from noon to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 24, with “Chiles & Chocolate: Foods in the American West” with Chris Glenn & Sandy Sunseri. The day begins with a farmers market from 8 a.m. to noon.
According to Sherri Crosslin with the Florence Visitors Center, “We have so many exciting topics lined up. These discussions with some of the area’s most engaging speakers let residents and visitors experience the stories of southern Arizona in a fun, interactive format.”
The series, initially launched in 2020, is a collaborative effort between McFarland Historic State Park, the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce, Florence Visitors Center, Explore Pinal County and Arizona Humanities.
The thought-provoking talks on subjects relevant to Florence and surrounding Pinal County are being hosted at McFarland Historic State Park, named for iconic Arizona statesman and Florence resident Ernest W. “Mac” McFarland.
“Pinal County has such a rich and unique backstory,” said Roger Biede, president of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce. “This series gives everyone a fresh perspective on the history in our own backyard.”
Ernest Talks are scheduled for Sept. 24 through April 23, 2023. On Oct. 8, the park will also be celebrating the birthday of Ernest W. McFarland from noon to 1 p.m. McFarland served as U.S. senator, U.S. Senate majority leader, Arizona governor, chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court and is widely regarded as a Father of the GI Bill — the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944.
For more information or to RSVP, call 520-868-4496 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other upcoming Ernest Talks:
- Thursday, Oct. 6, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., “Arizona: A History of the Grand Canyon State” with Jim Turner.
- Thursday, Oct. 27, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., “Specters of the Past: Ghost Towns that Built Arizona” with Jay Turner.
- Thursday, Nov. 3, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., “Miners, Cowboys and Washerwomen: The Worksongs of Arizona” with Jay Cravath.
- Saturday, Dec. 17, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., “How the Judge’s Brother Got Away With Murder.”
- Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., “Arizona Goes to the Movies: A Filmmaking History” with Jim Turner.
- Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, 11 a.m. To 12:30 p.m., “Our River Stories: The Gila and the Salt” with Zarco Guerrero.
- Thursday, March 23, 2023, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., “Saviors and Saints for the Arizona Frontiers” with Jan Cleere.
- Thursday, April 20, 2023, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., “The Evolution of an Icon: The Arizona Highways Magazine” with Win Holden.