BEST BETS: Heritage, holiday festivals on tap

Compiled by Dana Boyd

Heritage and Harvest Festival

Nov. 29-Dec. 1

Old Tucson will offer a chance to go back in time during its Heritage and Harvest Festival Nov. 29-Dec. 1 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day.

The festival will showcase living history, traditional music and dancing, farming demonstrations and authentic food. Santa will make a special appearance, arriving by stagecoach to kick off a Christmas show.

Old Tucson Studios is located at 201 S. Kinney Road. Admission costs $16. 95 for adults and $10.95 for children ages 4-11, with discounts for Arizona residents.

Luminaria Nights

Dec. 6-8

Tucson Botanical Gardens will light the desert sky with luminaries and twinkling lights during its 27th annual Luminaria Nights Dec. 6-8 from 5:30-8 p.m. each day.

Thousands of visitors turn out to enjoy live performances, holiday decor and a visit with Santa. Complimentary cookies and cider is available, and popular Tucson food trucks will be on hand for purchases.

The Botanical Gardens are located at 2150 N. Alvernon Way.

Admission to Luminaria Nights costs $11 for adults and $5 for children. Parking is available at Emmanuel Baptist Church, with a free shuttle to the Gardens.


Zoo Lights

Dec. 6-23

Reid Park Zoo will sparkle with holiday displays and falling snow during its annual Zoo Lights Dec. 6-23 from 6-8 p.m. each day.

Zoo animals won’t be on display, but school and community groups will perform. Visitors can enjoy free cookies and buy hot chocolate for $1.

Reid Park Zoo is located inside the park, off South Randolph Way just south of East Broadway Boulevard. Zoo Lights admission costs $6 for adults and $4 for children.

Pima Community College students and employees can attend a private Zoo Lights preview on Monday, Dec. 9, from 6-8 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, with children 5 and younger admitted free.

Admission includes free holiday entertainment, hot cocoa, coffee and homemade treats. Participants may have their photo taken with Santa Claus.

People planning to attend are asked to RSVP before Nov. 29 by emailing or calling 206-4888.


Tamal & Heritage Festival

Dec. 7

Casino Del Sol will host the 9th annual Tamal and Heritage Festival on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The free festival offers activities for children and adults, including cultural dances, live music, food demonstrations and more than 50 food vendors.

Events will take place in the casino’s AVA Amphitheater, 7406 S. Camino De Oeste.


Celebration of Basketry and Native Foods Festival

Dec. 7-8

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum will commemorate native traditions of basket weaving and food preparation during a two-day festival Dec. 7-8 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. each day.

Hundreds of native weavers and food producers will demonstrate their crafts. The festival will also feature traditional singing and dancing, and a film showcase.

The Desert Museum, located at 2021 N. Kinney Road, charges $19.50 for general adult admission. The festival is free with museum admission.


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