59th Annual Mul-Chu-Tha Fair Returns After Two-Year Absence

February 3, 2023


GRIN Staff



After two consecutive years of cancellations due to COVID-19 precautions, the 59th Annual Mul-Chu-Tha Fair and Rodeo will return from March 17 to 19 at the Sacaton Fairgrounds. This year’s Mul-Chu-Tha’s theme – “Celebrate Our Strength and Resilience As One!” – will serve as an inspiration to tribal participants in events including a carnival, a rodeo, a parade and the Chicken Scratch Battle of the Bands.


“This return has really been anticipated by so many Community members,” said Kelly Whitman with the Communications & Public Affairs Office, who is coordinating this year’s fair. “It’s like the prayers of the Community have been answered. I think I speak for so many Community members when I say that having the Mul-Chu-Tha return this year brings a sense of normalcy which has been absent. We missed it.”  


Originally established in 1962, the first Mul-Chu-Tha came about in order to raise funds to build a swimming pool for the Community. That first event featured foot races – “Mul-Chu-Tha” which means foot races in O’otham – as well as a wood-chopping contest, a small carnival and a fashion show. The Miss Gila River Pageant was established, with contestants selected by their districts to compete for the title of Miss Gila River. 


In the decades since, Mul-Chu-Tha has grown in prominence to become one of the well-attended and recognized tribal fairs in Indian Country. 


This year’s three-day event will also feature a Pow Wow, a car show, cultural demonstrations, arts and crafts vendors and scores of food vendors – the latter being a personal favorite for Whitman.


“The sounds of music from the fair has always been something I love,” she explained. “And the smells of all the food vendors preparing their delicacies. I can’t wait.”


More information about this year’s Mul-Chu-Tha can be found online by visiting www.mulchutha.com. Entry forms for the rodeo and other events will be posted during the month of February, as will more information about the calendar of events and tickets sales. 


Questions will also be answered at https://www.facebook.com/mulchutha or by telephone at (520) 562-9713 or (520) 562-9715.