One of the biggest winter events in Quartzsite, the annual Hi Jolly Daze Parade, will be held starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 11 in Quartzsite. In addition to honoring the camel driver who was one of Quartzsite’s most colorful early residents, this parade also honors Quartzsite’s 150th anniversary.
The parade is being sponsored by the Quartzsite Chamber & Tourism and the Desert Messenger,
Line-up starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Quartzsite Fire Station, which is located on Tyson Road near the intersection with State Route 95. The parade starts at 11 a.m. and will move east along Tyson Road and then turn south on Plymouth Avenue. The parade will end at the Quartzsite Town Park, which is across Plymouth Avenue from Town Hall and the Quartzsite Justice Court. It’s easy to find if you look for the two fighter planes.
There will be live music and food at Town Park following the parade. The band Skyhawk will be performing. There will be other activities as well.
The parade and celebration honors Hadji Ali, whose given name was Philip Tedro. He was nicknamed “Hi Jolly.” A camel trainer from Syria, he came to the United States in 1850 as part of a U.S. Army experiment on using camels in the desert.
The Army ended the experiment when they found the camels and the Army’s mules didn’t like each other. Ali stayed on in what would become Quartzsite, where he owned and operated a succession of businesses. He’s buried in the Quartzsite cemetery. His grave is easy to find. The head stone is a large pyramid with a camel on top.
The Quartzsite Chamber hopes a lot of people and groups will participate in this parade to honor their town’s history. Entry in the parade is free. Entry forms are available at McDonald’s in Quartzsite, the Quartzsite Chamber office, and on-line at the Quartzsite Chamber’s Facebook page.
For more information on the parade, go to www.quartzsitetourism.com.