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2/6/2012 8:03:00 AM
Verde Canyon Railroad Centennial celebration
Photo Courtesy of Verde Canyon RailroadChocolate and strawberries, along with a romantic excursion on the Verde Canyon Railroad Chocolate Lovers’ Train, might be the best way to spend Valentine’s Day. The Chocolate Lovers’ Train runs from Feb. 14 through Feb. 19.
Photo Courtesy of Verde Canyon Railroad

Chocolate and strawberries, along with a romantic excursion on the Verde Canyon Railroad Chocolate Lovers’ Train, might be the best way to spend Valentine’s Day. The Chocolate Lovers’ Train runs from Feb. 14 through Feb. 19.

Philip Wright
Staff Reporter

CLARKDALE - The Verde Canyon Railroad in Clarkdale will celebrate 100 years of railroading on Feb. 11 and 12. Then, on Feb. 14 (Valentine's Day), the excursion railroad will kick off its second century of service with the Chocolate Lovers' Train.

During 2012, the Verde Canyon Railroad turns 100 years old. The railroad will share the Centennial spotlight throughout the year with the State of Arizona and the Town of Clarkdale since both are also celebrating their 100th birthdays.

For the Centennial celebration on Feb. 11 and 12, the Verde Canyon Railroad station will be open to the public from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Breakfast and lunch selections will be available. A complimentary tour at the depot will offer a close-up look at the vintage engines and mid-20th Century passenger cars, as well as the John Bell Museum.

Free exhibits will be provided by Verde Valley vendors including agricultural and historical displays, area attraction presentations, wildlife and conservation as well as Native American Culture and artisans and entertainers.

The Verde Canyon Railroad features a 20-mile, three-and-a-half-hour vintage train ride that takes passengers through remarkable wilderness and 100 years of history. Since the Verde Valley Railroad became the Verde Canyon Railroad in 1990, it has carried more than 1 million passengers.

On Valentine's Day, Feb 14, (and continuing through Feb. 19), the Verde Canyon Railroad's Chocolate Lovers' Train rolls out of the station to provide sweethearts - or anyone with a sweet tooth - a delicious and romantic treat.

Revel in the breath-taking sights of the Verde Canyon while delighting in the breath-taking flavors of special coffee and specialty cocktails. A buffet of mouthwatering chocolate delights, including a fountain, will be provided.

Call (800) 293-7245 or book online at

Clarkdale-Jerome School will be the site for another Centennial celebration on Jan. 14. The town's Centennial Fair will be in the school's auditorium at 1 p.m.

The fair will include presentations, entertainment, student poetry as well as art and music. The United Methodist Bell Ensemble will perform patriotic songs at 2 p.m.

At 2:14 a special bell ringing ceremony begins and lasts for 100 seconds. As the bells silence, everyone will sign happy birthday to Arizona and Clarkdale.

At 5 p.m. will be the Centennial Fair's Chuck Wagon Dinner, catered by Randall's Restaurant. All proceeds go to benefit the school's reading program and also the To Clothe a Child program.

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