The annual Billy Moore Days festival

The annual Billy Moore Days festival celebrating Avondale’s past and present is online this year, with many virtual events at billymooredays.com.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has been anything but normal.

In another tip of the cap to keeping the community safe, the city of Avondale is making this year’s Billy Moore Days festival an online/virtual event, through Saturday, Oct. 17.

“The street festival, carnival and parade that were previously planned have been canceled,” the city announced.

But the show will go on—online, that is. The festival celebrates the history of Avondale and the Western roots of the West Valley.

The online events include a “Yeehaw” photo contest, with the winner announced at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, on Avondale’s social media pages.

Grab a fork for the pie-eating contest at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15.

An all-day scavenger hunt starts at 8 a.m. Friday, Oct. 16.

Saturday is Fire Hose Frenzy, with a telethon from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., followed by the fire hose battle from 3 to 5 p.m.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Southwest Lending Closet, which provides home health equipment to those in need.  

Teams of three will compete in the amateur or professional division of the competition. The cost per team to register is $500.

The event will be broadcast live at firehosefrenzy2020.com and will feature a day full of activities, including a performance by Matthew Morrison, an actor, dancer and singer-songwriter. He is known for starring in multiple Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, including his portrayal of Link Larkin in “Hairspray” on Broadway. 

Morrison also played Will Schuester on the Fox TV show “Glee.”

The festival’s culminating event will feature raffles, with prizes including hotel stays and NASCAR fan packages.

Speaking of NASCAR, the 2020 Billy Moore Days Grand Marshal is Julie Giese, president of Phoenix Raceway (formally ISM Raceway).

Giese and Phoenix Raceway are getting revved up to host the NASCAR Championship Weekend, coming to Avondale in November.

The parade Honorary Pioneer is Martha Aragon Bodnar, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday.

When Martha was 10, she moved with her parents and 12 siblings to Coldwater — which became Avondale in 1946.

The Aragon family is known well for helping establish and develop the Avondale and Goodyear communities, helping build the first Catholic church in the West Valley, Saint John Vianney.

When it comes to West Valley history, one of the most beloved pioneers is William “Billy” Moore, who came to Arizona in l867. He made his way to the west banks of the Agua Fria River and established a stage coach station. He added a general store and became the postmaster of the settlement he named Coldwater. 

Billy Moore Days began as an opportunity for Avondale and surrounding communities to celebrate the area’s history.

An annual tradition since 1954, Billy Moor Days continues this year, despite the pandemic that has canceled many events.

“The COVID-19 situation has challenged us to find new ways to share the excitement of Billy Moore Days,” said Miranda Gomez, Avondale Parks and Recreation assistant director. “Why not take this opportunity to highlight the history of the event and introduce newcomers to everything that makes Billy Moore Days Parade and Festival so special?”

To register for events and more information, visit billymooredays.com.