Family Festival offering varied weekend activities

J.T. Chance prepares to “hang” Cole Thornton from the gallows as part of a show by the Arizona Wild West Gunfighters.<BR>KIM STEELE/Miner

J.T. Chance prepares to “hang” Cole Thornton from the gallows as part of a show by the Arizona Wild West Gunfighters.<BR>KIM STEELE/Miner

KINGMAN - The Arizona Wild West Gunfighters, a Western acting troupe that combines history and comedy into 15-minute shows, will make its Kingman debut during this weekend's Kingman Family Festival.

Members of the troupe, who live in or frequent Kingman and go by the names of the famous cowboys they admire, will perform gunfights, hangings, fistfights and other stunts six times a day Friday and Saturday at the Mohave County Fairgrounds.

The shows are part of Kingman Family Festival, a first-time event from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. both days featuring a variety of shows and activities. Admission to the festival is $5 per person and parking is $2 per vehicle. Infants will be admitted free.

The festival includes music by two bands - Tumbleweed Junction of Phoenix and West Coast Travelers of Kingman - and a BMX bike show featuring performances by Matt Olsen, a local rider. Also, the festival includes a parrot show sponsored by Feathered Friends, the Mohave County K9 Unit and a 40-foot swimming pool for children provided by Prince Pools.

Promoter Frank Wills said more than 100 product and 150 food vendors will be available during the event. Also, children can walk through WOW Bubbles, a series of see-through bubbles, and play in bounce houses. Several raffles will take place, one for a $500 BMX bike and another whose proceeds will go to the Catch It Early Foundation to prevent breast cancer.

"I'm doing this because there is a need in Kingman," said Wills. "People in the community are always complaining there is nothing to do here, so I came up with this idea for a family festival.

"I'm bringing in things people have never seen here, like the BMX show and a huge swap meet. I'm trying to get something for everyone, and I'm expecting a good crowd."

The producer of the Arizona Wild West Gunfighters, who calls himself Jim Sonnett after a character from an old television show called "The Guns of Will Sonnett," said he recently restarted the troupe in Kingman because he waned to bring unique entertainment to the city. The gunfighters regularly performed in Chloride last year but disbanded because of problems with their location.

"Sonnett," 67, said he has been involved in Western shows for 35 years, starting at Old Tucson, and has acted in a variety of movies.

"Sonnett" said he worked as a stuntman, and has done everything from falling off a roof to being set on fire.