BEST BETS: Spring festivals abound

Compiled by Jay Becker-Norman

Blessing of St. Patrick’s Day on you, or in the Gaelic spirit of St. Patty’s Day, Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

It’s springtime in Tucson, with sunshine and trademark warm weather galore. If green is your thing, or perhaps Elizabethan attire, there is plenty going on for everyone wanting to take advantage and soak up the sun.

St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade: March 15

Come “Be Irish for the day” a smidge early at the 27th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Our Strength is Our People.” The event offers everything Irish, including live music, dance, workshops, sporting events, children’s games and food and drink vendors.

Festivities get underway at 10 a.m. at Armory Park on Sixth Avenue.

The annual one-hour parade begins at 11 a.m. at Stone Avenue and 16th Street, and goes through downtown before ending at Armory Park. It features colorful floats, antique vehicles, dancers, live bands and green as far as the eye can see.



Civil War in the Southwest: March 15-16

Re-enactments of historical battles, including an Arizona Civil War clash, return to Picacho Peak State Park. Visitors will have opportunities to learn about the soldiers’ lifestyle in the Southwest in the 1860s.

The event runs from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. Vehicle entrance fee is $10 for up to four people and $3 for each additional person. Individual walk-in and bike fee is $3. Food and beverage concessions will be available.



4th Avenue Spring Street Fair: March 21-23

The annual Spring Street Fair takes place March 21-23 between Ninth Street and University Boulevard along Fourth Avenue.

The Tucson tradition offers 400-plus arts and crafts booths, shopping, food vendors, a main stage, street musicians and performers and a free child’s art pavilion.

Daily hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free parking is available, but space is limited. The website provides full details, including an event schedule.



Arizona Renaissance Festival: Through March 30

Hear ye, hear ye! The 26th annual Arizona Renaissance Festival, which takes place outside Phoenix, is a 30-acre medieval amusement park with 12 stages, performers, jousting matches and crafts.

The festival runs every weekend through March 30 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets cost $20-22 for adults and $10-12 for children 5-12. Visit the website to buy online tickets and get additional information, including directions and special events.



Tucson Festival of Books: March 15-16

With more than 100,000 in attendance the last two years, the Tucson Festival of Books is the state’s largest literary event. The event will host hundreds of authors from all genres, including a world-renowned pop-up book artist.

There will also be book discussions, workshops and literary activities. Currently in its sixth year, the festival will take place at the UA mall from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Attendance and parking are free.

Visit the website for further information, event details and guides, or download their mobile app on your iPhone, Android or Kindle.


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