Gil Gifford always ready to share his voice

Gil Gifford

Gil Gifford is preparing for his 46th year as an announcer at the Annual Scottsdale Parada del Sol Parade and Trail’s End Festival.

The 64th Annual Parade will be held in downtown Scottsdale at 10 a.m. on Feb. 11.

Since its start in 1953, the Parada del Sol has grown to be one of the world’s longest horse-drawn parades and boasts more than 100 entries, including floats, bands and individual riders. The parade and festival represents the multicultural heritage of Scottsdale — not only Western, but Hispanic and Native American as well.

Gil, and his wife, Kathaleen (who he met in the first grade), moved to Scottsdale from Worcester, MA in 1973.  Gil served as executive director of the Boys Club of Scottsdale, AZ, with prior Boys Club experience in Whittier, CA, Palm Springs, CA, Sterling, MA, Washington, NH and Worcester, MA.

When Gil moved to Arizona, he was asked by the Scottsdale Jaycees to be an announcer and script writer at the 1973 Parada del Sol Parade and has been announcing at the parade ever since.

Gil is known for his one-liners, gags and jokes. He has overflowing categorized files of jokes that he uses at events, and as a charity auctioneer and radio announcer.

He is known for enjoying life and bringing humor into the lives of everyone he meets. Over the years, Gil has announced at many national and valley events: Scottsdale Follies; United Way of Scottsdale; Scottsdale’s 4th of July, Veteran’s and Memorial Day celebrations; Fountain Hill’s parade announcer; voice of Ronald McDonald shows in Arizona, California and New Mexico; voice of Scottsdale talking police car; voice of Westworld video presentations; MC at Scottsdale’s Entertainment Extravaganza; spring training baseball games, golf tournaments, marathons, trade shows, Special Olympics and many more events.

As former U.S. Army bugler and U.S. Army Band member, Gil plays taps at funerals of veterans and at Scottsdale’s Memorial Day and Veterans Day celebrations. Gil is an active member of Rotary Club of Scottsdale and former Club President of Papago Rotary Club.

In one way or another, Gil has served or been active in many community organizations: Chamber of Commerce, Jaycees, Diocese of Phoenix CDA Appeal, United Way, Optimist Club, faith communities and more.

He has been involved, as an auctioneer at many fundraisers – Boy Scouts, Boys Club, churches/schools, Chamber of Commerce, Symphonies, Schools, Cancer Fund, Easter Seals, Rotary, Garden Clubs, Cerebral Palsy, Museums – to name a few.

Gil over the years has received many awards and accolades: Induction into Scottsdale’s History Hall of Fame, Honorary Jaycee, by proclamation named Scottsdale’s official bugler, United Way Board member, Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year…  With his unique “let’s have fun” and raise lots of money attitude, Gil looks forward to assisting community organizations in raising thousands of dollars and expects to continue enjoying his announcing gigs, especially at the Parada del Sol Parade.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Honora Norton is a Scottsdale Rotarian.

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