In Tucson, fall means festivals galore

By Miki Jennings

Turning the calendar page to October marks several milestones in Tucson: the sun finally tones down for fall, department stores fill with Halloween goodies and a broad variety of festivals start popping up around town.

Check out these fall events on Tucson’s festival scene:

Tucson Oktoberfest

Sept. 30-Oct. 3

Now in its ninth year, Tucson Oktoberfest takes place at Hi Corbett Field, 3400 E. Camino Campestre. With food, bands, dancing, a children’s play area and more than 100 arts and crafts booths, the festival provides fun for the whole family. Hours: 6-10 p.m. on Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission: $3, free for children under age 11. Free admission Sept 30 with a monetary donation to Tucson Optimists Childhood Cancer Campaign. Festival proceeds benefit Optimist Clubs of Tucson.

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Nightfall 2010 – 20 Years of Terror

Oct. 1-31

Old Tucson, on the far west side at 201 S. Kinney Road, transforms itself into an award-winning haunted town for Halloween. Hours: Fridays and Saturdays: 6 p.m. to midnight; Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays: 6-10 p.m. Admission: $25 adults, $20 children.

Additional details: 883-0100

Oktoberfest on Mount Lemmon

Oct. 2-3, 9-10

Get your drink on at a higher altitude at Mount Lemmon’s Ski Valley, 10300 Ski Run Road. Admission is free; parking costs $4. The 30-year-old German festival features entertainment and traditional cuisine. Food plates cost $10-12.

Additional details: 576-1400 or

Tucson Film and Music Festival

Oct. 7-11

Celebrate deep-rooted local talent at the fifth annual Tucson Film and Music Festival. Watch independent documentaries, music videos, animated shorts and narrative features at five city theaters, and catch local bands at venues such as the Rialto and the Hut. Tickets range from $3 to $20, with a limited number of multi-day passes available.

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Buckelew Farm

17000 W. Ajo Way

Pumpkin Festival:

Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 9-10, Oct. 16-17, Oct. 23-24, Oct. 30-31

Ride in a tractor-drawn wagon to pick your own pumpkins. Shop in the arts and crafts tent, play games, visit a 4-H petting zoo and race on a pedal cart track. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: $4. Food for sale includes hamburgers, corn on the cob, Indian fry bread and homemade pumpkin pie. Festival visitors pay separate admission to explore a corn maze: $8 adults, $6 ages 6-12, free for ages 5 and under.

Corn Maze Flashlight Nights:

Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 8-9, Oct. 15-16, Oct. 22-23, Oct. 29-30

College Nights Out: Thursday, Oct. 21; Thursday, Oct. 28; Sunday, Oct. 31

Hours: 5 p.m. to midnight. Cost: $13 per person. Flashlights: $5, or bring your own.

Terror in the Corn (Haunted Cornfield):

Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 8-9, Oct. 15-16, Oct. 22-23, Oct. 29-30

College Nights Out: Thursday, Oct. 21; Thursday, Oct. 28; Sunday, Oct. 31

Hours: after dark (6:30-ish) to midnight. Cost: $20 per person includes Corn Maze by flashlight and Haunted Cornfield. On Oct. 21 and 28, $5 off admission with college ID.

Additional details: 822-2277 or

Pride On Parade:

Friday, Oct. 8

Tucson’s annual gay pride weekend kicks off at 6 p.m. with a parade that starts on Fourth Avenue and ends at Winsett Stage between Seventh and Eighth streets for a block party.

Pride in the Desert:

Saturday, Oct. 9

Events at Reid Park from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. include performances by gay, lesbian and transgender artists and the drag king dance group Boys R Us. New this year: a dance stage that gives participants a place to cut loose and groove to the music. Vendor booths will offer informational displays and free goodies. Tickets cost $13 in advance, $15 at the door.

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Tucson Meet Yourself

Oct. 8-10

Bring your appetite for diverse food and cultural fun to the 37th annual Tucson Meet Yourself folklife festival (also known as Tucson Eat Yourself.) The free three-day festival at a variety of downtown venues spotlights more than 60 ethnic groups with performers, folk artists and vendors. This year’s event includes a Get Moving Tucson 10-Mile Run and 5K Family Fun Run-Walk at 8 a.m. Saturday. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

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Arizona State Fair (Phoenix)

Oct. 15-Nov. 7

The Arizona State Fair boasts an impressive lineup of entertainment, from musical acts to an Arizona Dames All-Girl Roller Derby bout. Of course there are also the Fair staples of rides, games and food. Musicians such as The B-52s, Megadeth, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Selena Gomez (how’s that for variety?) will perform on stage on different nights at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Reserved seating costs $15 to $20. General admission seating is free with Fair admission. The Fair is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Hours and admission costs vary.

Additional details: (602) 252-6771 or

Club Crawl

Saturday, Oct. 16

Music lovers aged 21 and up can mosey their way downtown for Tucson Weekly’s Fall Club Crawl. Eighty bands will play at 25 venues around the downtown/Fourth Avenue area and at six outdoor stages on Congress Street and Fourth Avenue. The eclectic music includes reggae, blues, jazz, honky-tonk, folk, Dutch indie-rock and a rockabilly group consisting of a man and his 18-, 14- and 9-year old sons (I’m not making this up, they’re called Mad Max & the Wild Ones!) Tickets cost $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

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Sunday, Oct. 17

AIDS Walk Tucson, held on the University of Arizona campus, hopes 6,000 walkers will help raise $180,000 to benefit the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation. Supporters can sign up for a 5K walk or 10K Fun Run, or sponsor a team or individual. 2010 marks the 22nd annual AIDS Walk in Tucson, and the 25th anniversary of programs that provide services to Tucsonans who are infected, at risk or otherwise affected by HIV/AIDS. Walk registration begins at 7 a.m.

Additional details: 628-7223 or

Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Festival

Sunday, Oct. 17

Enjoy the blues from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Reid Park. Performers will include Janiva Magness, Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta, Neon Prophet, The Sugar Thieves, The Coolers, Arizona Mass Choir and a Blues Challenge winner, Bryan Dean Trio. Festival admission costs $10 for adults, and is free for ages 17 and under.

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All Souls Procession

Sunday, Nov. 7

Participants will walk two miles through downtown Tucson for the All Souls Procession, which serves as a way to honor the dead and grieve for lost loved ones by dressing up and celebrating life. Some 20,000 walkers, artists and mourners will parade down streets decorated with art that has been installed for the event. They complete the walk by burning offerings and wishes for the deceased in a large urn. Participants will meet at Epic Cafe at Fourth Avenue and University Boulevard at 5 p.m., and leave at 6 p.m.

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