Since Tucson has limited chilly nights, locals have to make them count. This Best Bets is all about getting some fun in before it gets too cold and enjoying the holidays before we get too busy.
Tohono Chul Holiday Nights
Dec. 9-10, 16-17
Paths along the Tohono Chul gardens at 7366 N. Paseo del Norte will be decorated with millions of lights as musicians and artists perform from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Telescopes will be available for star-gazing, and vendors will sell hot chocolate and treats.
Admission is $16 for nonmembers, $12 for members and $3 for children under 12.
Through Dec. 11
Borderlands Theater’s “La Pastorela” holiday production is a comedic and culturally relevant nativity story based in the Southwest.
Performances will take place in the Cabaret at the Temple of Music and Art, 300 S. Scott Ave. General admission costs $22. Seniors get in for $18 and students for $12.
Zoo Lights at Reid Park
Through Dec. 23
Reid Park Zoo will celebrate the season with Zoo Lights, presenting animal-themed light sculptures from 6-8 p.m. each night. Food and drink will be available for purchase.
Admission costs $9.50 for adults and $5.50 for children ages 2-14, with discounts for zoo members. Tickets can be purchased online.
Luminaria Nights, Botanical Gardens
Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way, presents Luminaria Nights from 5:30-8:30 p.m. each night.
Festivities include live holiday music as visitors walk garden paths decorated with luminarias and colored lights. Children can visit with Santa Claus, and vendors will offer holiday drinks, food and treats for purchase.
Admission is $18 for adults and $9 for children, with discounts for members. Tickets can be purchased online 24 hours in advance.
Parking at the Gardens is limited to handicapped spots. Shuttles will run 5:20-9 p.m. from the southeast corner of North Alvernon Way and East Lee Street.
Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair
More than 600,000 visitors are expected to visit the annual street fair, which features 400-plus arts and crafts booths from 10 a.m. to dusk each day. Free and family-friendly activities include musicians, bands and entertainment.
Tip your baristas well (working the Fair separates the weak from the strong) and respect your vendors (most of them aren’t from these parts).
Winterhaven Festival of Lights
Houses in Winterhaven display lights and decorations daily from 6-10 p.m. Admisison is free, but the neighborhood asks visitors to donate non-perishable canned food or money for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
“A Southwest Nutcracker”
Tucson Regional Ballet’s “A Southwest Nutcracker” provides a local twist on the original. It’s set in the 1880s and includes coyotes, rattlesnakes and dancing chili peppers.
Performances will be at the Tucson Convention Center Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Shows are at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 11. Tickets can be purchased online and cost $36.
“The Nutcracker-Rat King”
Moscow Ballet comes to Tucson for ballet performances of “The Nutcracker-Rat King” with crystal-embedded costumes and Tchaikovsky included.
Performances will be at University of Arizona Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. The show begins at 7 p.m., and tickets start at $30.
Merry-Achi Christmas at the Fox Tucson Theatre
What is more spirited and intense than mariachi performances and Christmas festivities? Nothing, that’s what.
Fox Theatre’s Merry-Achi Christmas features Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez. Tickets are $24-$58, and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Downtown Parade of Lights
Parade of Lights floats, vehicles and entertainers start making their way through downtown at 6:30 p.m. while Santa Claus waits at the Historic Train Depot for visitors. Admission is free.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” at Fox Theatre
The magical 1946 classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” will screen at the Tucson Fox Theatre at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $7.
By FRANCISCO ZAPATA
The holidays offer numerous traditional and festive celebrations. Here are some of the coolest upcoming events:
Native American Indian Heritage Month Social and Indian Craft Market
Fifteen tribal nations will display authentic Native American arts and crafts, and present dance and musical performances at the Sheraton Hotel Ballroom, 5151 E. Grant Road, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. each day.
Admission and parking is free, with donations accepted to help fund scholarships.
Tohono Chul Holiday Nights
Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17
Paths along the Tohono Chul gardens at 7366 N. Paseo del Norte will be decorated with millions of lights as musicians and artists perform from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Admission is $12 for members, $16 for nonmembers and $3 for children under 12.
Other activities include viewing stars through a telescope, purchasing hot chocolate and treats, and stopping by the gift shop for a head start on holiday shopping.
Tamale and Heritage Festival
The 12th annual Tucson Tamale and Heritage Festival presented by Casino Del Sol Resort, 5655 W. Valencia Road, will take place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in the AVA Ampitheater. The festival is free and open to the public.
Multiple vendors will sell red, corn, sweet and vegetarian tamales. The vendors will also participate in a tamale contest to determine who makes the best tamale.
Reid Park Zoo Lights
Reid Park Zoo will again celebrate the holiday season with Zoo Lights, presenting thousands of sparkling lights with animal-themed light sculptures from 6-8 p.m. each night.
Food and drink available for purchase, including café items such as hot chocolate, s’mores and cinnamon rolls.
Admission cost $9.50 for adults and $5.50 for children ages 2-14. Discounts are available for zoo members. Tickets can be purchased online.
Details: Details: reidparkzoo.org/event/zoo-lights-2016
Luminaria Nights, Botanical Gardens
Dec. 4-6, 11-13
Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way, presents its 29th year of Luminaria Nights from 5:30-8:30 p.m. each night.
Festivities include live holiday music as visitors walk garden paths decorated with thousands of luminarias and colored lights. Children can visit with Santa Claus, and youngsters and adults may enjoy Art with Lego Bricks.
Numerous vendors will offer holiday drinks, food and treats for purchase.
Admission is $18 for adults and $9 for children, with discounts available for members. Tickets can be purchased online 24 hours in advance.
Parking in the gardens is limited to handicapped spots only. Shuttles will run from 5:20-9 p.m. at the southeast corner of North Alvernon Way and East Lee Street.
Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair
More than 600,000 visitors are expected to visit the annual street fair, which features more than 400 arts and crafts booths as well as numerous food and drink vendors from 10 a.m. to dusk each day.
Free and family-friendly activities including musicians, bands and entertainment.
Winterhaven Festival of Lights
The 67th annual Festival of Lights at Winterhaven offers exceptional displays of house lights that leave visitors in awe. The festival runs daily from 6-10 p.m.
Hundreds of thousands of southern Arizonans visit each year.
The event is free to attend but the neighborhood asks visitors to donate non-perishable canned food or money for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
Last year, the event gathered nearly $24,000 and more than 42,000 pounds in food.
Compiled by Ashley Munoz
With temperatures finally cooling down, Tucson is ready to jump into fall season with a gaming convention, music concert, film festival and, uh, did we mention the pumpkin patch? Nightfall? Slaughterhouse?
Rincon Gaming Convention
Sept. 30 – Oct. 2
RinCon 16 welcomes new, casual and master gamers to participate in this major national convention at the Sheraton Hotel, 5151 E. Grant Road. It offers games of all sorts, including role-playing, board games, mini-card games and Artemis.
Players can sample a wide range of games by signing up for a scheduled event or by checking out games from the game library.
Pre registration for this event is sold out, but tickets for single and weekend passes will be available for purchase at the door.
Tucson Pride Parade and Pride in the Park
Sept. 30, Oct. 1
The hour-long Pride on Parade procession will wind down North Fourth Avenue, starting at East Second Street at 7 p.m. and ending at Ninth Street. If you want to participate, download an application off the website.
The 39th annual Tucson Pride in the Park at Reid Park will begin at noon and last until 9:00 p.m. Live entertainment will be provided by hosts Lucinda Holliday and Tempest DuJour, and a lineup of Tucson and national artists. Food trucks and vendors will be selling beer, wine and cocktails. Jumping castle for children.
Tickets cost $10 online and $12 at the gate. Children under 12 are admitted free.
If you would like to save some money, donate six cans of food and get in for free or donate four cans of food for a half-priced ticket.
Details: tucsonpride.org, 602-793-2337
Oro Valley Music Festival
Prepare to enjoy 97.1 The Bull’s country extravaganza on Saturday with artists David Nail, Chris Janson, Dan + Shay, Cassadee Pope and Brett Young.
My 92.9 will kick things off on Sunday with pop and rock artists Daughtry, Phillip Phillips, Colbie Caillat, Simple Plan, Ben Rector and Howie Day.
Doors open at 1 p.m., shows begin at 2 p.m. and end at 10 p.m. on both days. The golf club at Vistoso, 955 W. Vistoso Highlands Drive, Oro Valley, will host the event.
General tickets cost $59 on Saturday and $45 on Sunday, while VIP tickets will set you back $150 on Saturday and $125 on Sunday. Two-day passes start at $85 for general admission and $225 for VIP status.
Tucson Meet Yourself
Tucson Eat Yourself, er Meet Yourself, offers music, food and live performances. This festival is known for showcasing Tucson’s diverse cultures including Mexican, Native American, Jamaican and more.
The downtown festival spreads across locations including El Presido Park, Church Street and Jacombe Plaza at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library.
Friday and Saturday hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday events take place 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Admission is free, but bring a few bucks and wear loose clothing because there is no way you can leave this event without stopping for some type of food.
Tucson Film and Music Festival
If you’re into independent film and music, check out this festival, now in it’s 12th year. It invites musicians, filmmakers and their fans to come together and enjoy the arts. Check their website for a full list of movie information and show times.
Get ready for the 29th annual NamJam. Held at Reid Parks Demeester Outdoor Performance Center, located on South Country Club Road at East 22nd Street. It will run from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Bands and other artists perform throughout the day. There will be vendors, and military displays. Free admission.
Last four weekends in October
Journey south to 17000 W. Ajo Way for the pumpkin-picking fall festival or start looking for a date to run with through the Terror in the Corn, because it’s that time of year again.
Fall festival activities including pumpkin painting and unlimited wagon rides get underway at 10 a.m. The pumpkin festival will be open the last four weekends in October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
General admission is $10, but a child in diapers gets in for free. Admission for seniors age 55+ with ID costs $8.
Details: tucsonpumpkins.com, 822-2041
Terror in the Corn at Buckelew Farm has been around for 10 years and keeps getting scarier. A haunting trail through the corn maze with the scariest Halloween creatures running after you, is the best way to kick off this spooky season.
The maze opens at 6:30 p.m. and closes at midnight. Be sure you arrive early enough to complete the maze and not get stuck in the underworld.
Participants age 21 and over can enjoy a cold beer from Tucson breweries, and everyone can sample treats from favorite local eateries.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.
Admission is $25.00 all ages
Fast Pass: $30.00 (no wait in line)
Details: tucsonterrorinthecorn.com, 822-2277
Sept. 29-Oct. 31
Prepare for your favorite time of the year by dodging clowns with chainsaws, zombies and even skeletons.
Interested yet? Well wait, there’s more. You can enjoy complimentary freak shows and get your Criss Angel on with magic shows.
Get your ticket to Tucson’s own haunted town at the Old Tucson grounds just west of Gates Pass, 201 S. Kinney Road.
Tickets cost $28 plus tax for ages 12 and up, and $21 plus tax for children ages 9-11.
On opening weekend, Sept 29-Oct 2, you’ll be able to get a discount from Wendy’s. You can get a coupon of $5 off adult and $5 off child admission at Tucson-area Wendy’s locations.
Details: nightfallaz.com, 883-0100
Sept. 24-Nov. 5
Bring a change of underwear when you make your way to the Slaughterhouse and prepare for five heart-pounding haunted houses full of evil clowns and zombies, including an infested boiler room and an all-new Voodoo Bayou.
Be warned that you can and will be grabbed once you enter at least one of these spook houses, and all ticket buyers sign a liability waiver before entering. There is something to terrify even the bravest.
Tickets can be purchased online. They cost $23 for the zombie apocalypse experience, $23 for the four haunted houses or $35 for all five, not including service fees.
Details: slaughterhousetucson.com, 784-2501
Marana Pumpkin Patch & Farm Festival
The Marana Pumpkin Patch & Farm Festival, 1401 N. Wentz Road, will hold its opening weekend on Oct. 1-2 with admission costing $10. Following weekends will cost $12. Monday-Thursday tickets are at $10.
There will be a showing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on Oct. 1 at 6:30 p.m.
The pumpkin patch is open Monday-Thursday from 3-7 p.m. and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Details: maranapumpkinpatch.com, 305-548
Fall in love with these September events
Compiled by Katelyn Roberts
With the anticipation of crisper air and lower temperatures, September offers a selection of cultural festivals and special events sure to please everyone from beer connoisseurs to theater buffs.
Arizona Underground Film Festival
Arizona Underground Film Festival will screen international and local independent movies for its ninth straight year at The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress.
A pass for every movie is $45. Admission for an individual screening costs $8.
Founder and festival director David Pike says he’s particularly excited about a documentary on UFO abductee Travis Walton. After the documentary screens on Sept. 17 at 1 p.m., Walton will conduct a question-and-answer session and a book signing.
Tucson Beer Cup
Ten local breweries will compete for Best Flagship Beer at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Competition begins at 6 p.m. among 1055, 1912, Barrio, Borderlands, Catalina, Dragoon, Iron Johns, Nimbus, Pueblo Vida and Sentinel Peak.
Participants must be age 21 and up. General admission tickets costing $25 provide tastes of every beer and tasty snacks. If you spring for $50 VIP tickets, you’ll get more beer and can enjoy an expanded VIP buffet.
Tickets are $15 for selfless and sober designated drivers.
Details: hotelcongress.com, 622-8848
Tucson Greek Festival
The Tucson Greek Festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary with dance performances, live music, special guests and, heaps of Greek food and beverages for sale. The festival takes place at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 1145 E. Fort Lowell Road.
Admission is $3. Admission and raffle tickets can be purchased online.
Details: tucsongreekfest.com, 888-0505
Through Sept. 25
Playgoers have an opportunity to take a visual journey through border culture as Borderlands Theater hosts Richard Montoya’s “Nogales” at the Temple of Music and Art Cabaret Theatre, 330 S. Scott Ave.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.
Weekday tickets cost $12 for general admission and $7 for students, while weekend tickets are $26 for general admission and $14 for students. Senior discounts are also available. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 882-7406.
Details: borderlandstheater.org, 882-7406
Mount Lemmon Oktoberfest
Sept. 17-Oct. 9
Beginning on Sept. 17, and continuing every weekend through Oct. 9, Mount Lemmon Ski Valley will host “Tucson’s most authentic Oktoberfest.” Expect traditional German eats, live German music and, of course, German beer!
Admission is free, with food and beverages available for purchase. Ski lift rides will also be available.
Keep your pet at home unless it’s a service animal.
Compiled by Andres Chavira
With the temperature at the nice spot between winter and 100 degree summers, spring brings great festivals to Tucson. Enjoy the nice weather, games, rides and tons of carnival food.
The University of Arizona will host the 42nd annual Spring Fling at the UA Mall. With more than 40 rides and attractions, Spring Fling continues to be the nation’s largest student-run carnival. General admission is $5.
There will be free parking April 9-10 at the parking garages on Highland Avenue, Park Avenue Main Gate, Sixth Street and Tyndall Avenue. On Friday, parking costs $5.
Chalk Art Festival
Professional and amateur artists, as well as children and art enthusiasts, will gather to create chalk art during the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance’s third annual festival at the Park Place Mall courtyard, 5870 E. Broadway Blvd.
The event is free to the public. Festivities will take place Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Details: saaca.org/Park_Place_Chalk_ Art.php
Cyclists, walkers, skaters, skateboarders and any other non-motorized transportation enthusiasts are invited to celebrate a day completely dedicated to them. During Cyclovia, certain roads are closed to car traffic from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. so riders and walkers can enjoy the “open streets.”
This year’s 2.5 mile route will begin in the Lost Barrio district on South Park Avenue at Miles Street, and end at Himmel Park, 1000 N. Tucson Blvd. Activity hubs along the way offer entertainment, music, interactive games, demonstrations and food vendors.
The free event is open to the public.
Earth Day Festival
The 22nd annual Earth Day Festival will be held at Himmel Park, 1000 N. Tucson Blvd., from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The free festival will include a parade, live music, food and hands-on activities for children, as well as environmental exhibitions.
The non-motorized parade will begin at 11 a.m. on the west side of Himmel Park and proceed along a short route on Tucson Boulevard and Third Street.
April 14 – May 1
The Arizona International Film Festival, the longest running and largest film festival in the state, celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2016
This year’s festival will show 30 features and 58 shorts from 25 countries.
Films will be shown at The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St. Admission costs vary.
Pima County Fair
The Pima Country Fair returns for its 103rd visit to the Pima County Fairgrounds. The fair will include new musical entertainment as well as the usual rides that Tucsonans look forward to every year.
Musical acts will include Nelly, MC Magic, Post Malone and P.O.D. Concert admission is included in the price of fair entry tickets.
General admission will be $8 and parking will cost $5. Wristbands for unlimited rides will be available on Thursdays and weekends.
GABA Spring Bike Swap
The Greater Arizona Bicycling Association will host the second largest bike swap meet in the country and the largest in the southwest from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. on Seventh Street between Fourth Avenue and Sixth Avenue.
The annual event attracts thousands of participants seeking to swap or sell bike parts and accessories.
Bicycles of every description are present and welcome. The event is free to the general public.
Compiled by Melina Casillas
Fourth Avenue Spring Street Fair
Tucson’s largest arts venue returns to Fourth Avenue between Ninth Street and University Boulevard. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. each day.
The street fair brings together 400-plus arts and crafts booths, 35-plus food vendors, street musicians and street performers.
A free shuttle will be available to and from the Pennington parking garage and Main Gate Square. Free valet bicycle parking will also be available. No pets are allowed.
Run for Your Life 5K
The University of Arizona Student Health Advocacy Committee will host its 10th annual 5K run/walk. Proceeds benefit Tucson Hopefest, a nonprofit that serves the impoverished.
The race will begin at the UA Mall in front of the administration building and take place around the mall.
Parking will be available at the Second Street and Cherry garages.
The advanced registration fee starts at $15 and increases to $20 on March 18.
Onsite registration and check-in will begin at 8 a.m., and the race gets under way at 9 a.m.
Chalk Art Festival
Amateur artists, professional artists, students and children will come together to try their hand at sidewalk art when the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance holds its third festival at Park Place Mall, 5870 E. Broadway Blvd.
Admission is free and all ages are welcome. The event will run Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Mural artists will create elaborate, large-scale pieces in the south and north outdoor walkways, as well as indoors near Sears.
Children ages 3-12 can participate in the Kidzone, located in the Sears and Macy’s outdoor courtyard.
Other designated community participation areas will be available next to Total Wine.
Experience Tucson’s streets without cars. Walkers, cyclists, skaters and people using any other form of self-powered movement are invited to celebrate neighborhoods and alternative transportation.
The free annual event, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., will feature a new route this year covering 2.5 miles from Lost Barrio to Himmel Park.
Activity hubs along the route will spotlight entertainment, music, interactive games, demonstrations and food.
Compiled by EDDIE CELAYA
St. Patrick’s Day Festival
The Tucson St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade, the largest event of its kind in southern Arizona, returns for its 29th year.
The event will offer the same Irish hospitality but a new theme: “Freedom Rising” in honor of the Irish Easter Rising of 1916.
For those who enjoy running before their bangers and mash, the seventh-annual “Green Isle Mile” and 5K will take place on Aviation Bikeway.
Armory Park festivities will begin at 10 a.m. with live music and dance, a children’s play area, and food and merchant vendors.
The parade begins at 11 a.m., winding from North Stone Avenue through Downtown to Armory Park.
Festival attendance and parking are free.
Tucson Conquistadores Classic
Professional golf makes a return to the Old Pueblo for the second-annual Tucson Conquistadores Classic.
Featuring some of the best the Senior PGA Tour has to offer, the Classic will be held at the Omni Tucson National Resorts Catalina Course.
Players scheduled to appear include Fred Couples, Tom Watson and Colin Montgomerie.
A sanctioned Pro-Am on March 16-17 will be followed by a 54-hole tournament March 18-20.
Once the golf wraps up on Friday, the Classic will host a free after-party at the clubhouse.
Tickets range from $20 for general admission to more than $4,000 for ticket packages. Tickets for the main event range from $29 for single-day general admission to $12,000 for specific ticket packages.
Civil War in the Southwest
Take in scenery and history at Civil War in the Southwest at Picacho Peak State Park northwest of Tucson on Interstate 10.
Gates open at 9:30 a.m. as three separate battles are commemorated and re-enacted each day.
Visitors can attend presentations ranging from the roles of women in the west to Civil War life through the eyes of a solider. Vendors will sell period-specific merchandise and food will be available.
The daily finale will be the Battle of Picacho Pass, the westernmost battle of the Civil War and the only battle to take place in Arizona.
The park will close its entry gates to spectators at 3 p.m. and the finale re-enactment will take place at 3:30 p.m.
Park admission is $10 for a car of up to four people. Entry costs $3 for each additional person and for bicylists or walk-ins.
Compiled by Eddie Celaya
A historic Tucson tradition since 1925 and cause for a deeply appreciated four-day Pima Community College holiday, the 91st annual Tucson Rodeo Parade kicks off festivities for Rodeo Week on Feb. 25.
The parade is billed as “The World’s Longest Non-Motorized Parade.” As many as 200 non-motorized floats will begin their journey at 9 a.m. along a 1.5 mile route that starts at Park Avenue and Ajo Way, and proceeds south on Park to Irvington Road.
This year’s parade grand marshal is Chandler Warden, a former radio host and noted philanthropist.
Street spots along the route are free, with seating first-come, first-serve. Grandstand seating is available on Irvington, with tickets costing $10 for adults and $5 for children under 13. Call 294-1280 for tickets.
La Fiesta de los Vaqueros
Through Feb. 28
More than 650 competitors from all over the world will vie for nearly $500,000 in prize money as La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros hosts multiple events through Feb. 28.
Daily activities including traditional rodeo events, barn dancing and workshops take place at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds, 4823 S. Sixth Ave. The rodeo finals will be held Sunday, Feb. 28, starting at 2 p.m.
Daily admission prices range from $14 to $70, depending on seating area and day. Barn dances cost an extra $5 and parking costs $7.
Call 741-2233 for tickets.
Tucson Peace Fair
and Music Festival
With the theme “Compassion for Refugees and Migrants,” the Tucson Peace Fair and Music Festival enters its 34th year.
Festivities take place at the Reid Park band shell, near 22nd Street and Country Club Road, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free.
The gathering will feature music by bands including One HeartBeat and Tucson’s Raging Grannies. There will also be art and activities for kids, and food vendors.
The Peace Fair is the largest gathering of peace, justice and environmental groups in Arizona.
Arizona Renaissance Festival
Through March 27
The dark ages and medieval times return every Saturday and Sunday through March 27 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Arizona Renaissance Festival. Boasting 12 stages and new attractions, this year’s festival promises to make anyone say, “Hazah!”
Now in its 28th year, the festival features a traditional jousting tournament, a corn maze and period-specific arts and crafts. Don’t forget the turkey-legs, and the candied apples!
No pets will be permitted. Tickets cost $23 for ages 12 and older, with discounts available. Parking is free.
From Tucson, take Highway 70 to Florence Junction, then go west 7 miles on Highway 60 to Festival Village.
Compiled by D.R. WILLIAMS
Tucson Gem and Mineral Show
The Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave., will be filled with rocks, gems, coins, fossils and other rarities for the 62nd Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.
With a theme of “Shades of Blue: Minerals of the World,” the event will run from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday.
Admission costs $13, while children 14 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Discount coupons are available.
Chinese New Year Festival
A celebration for the Chinese New Year will be held at the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, 1288 W. River Road.
Food and drinks accompany activities including silent auctions, children’s games, and arts and crafts. The festivities start at noon, with authentic performances kicking off every hour until 9 p.m.
Admission is $2 for adults, $1 for children 12 and under, and free for children under 5.
Cruise, BBQ & Blues Festival
Old-school classic cars will be on display alongside new-school motors in Oro Valley, with the smooth sounds of blues in the background.
Live performances from the George Howard Band and Bluz Nite will fill the air, while BBQ off the grill fills people stomachs.
Judges will examine 43 categories of cars and award trophies based on make, model, color, engine and interior.
The festival takes place at the Oro Valley Marketplace, on the southwest corner of Tangerine and Oracle roads, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Admission is $5 for ages 10 and up, with proceeds benefiting the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance.
La Fiesta De Los Vaqueros
A Tucson tradition lives on as Pima Community College students are given two days off from school to celebrate the cowboy lifestyle.
The Tucson Rodeo grounds are located at 4823 S. Sixth Ave. Parking costs $7.
Rodeo admission starts at $14, or $28 for VIP tickets. Children’s mutton bustin’ begins the day at 11 a.m., with additional events such as barrel racing, team roping and steer-wrestling running until shortly after 4 p.m.
Barn dances costing an additional $5 close out the day.
Compiled by David Pujol
Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase
Jan. 31-Feb. 14
The Gem and Mineral show is a Tucson tradition and brings in thousands of guests to our city each year. There are more than 45 shows set up across Tucson in tents, hotels and exhibit halls. Some of the pieces that will be on display are precious jewels or minerals, crafts and even dinosaur fossils. Most citywide shows are free and open to the public. The main event of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show takes place on Feb. 11 to 14 at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave. Admission to the convention center show costs $10.
Arizona Renaissance Festival
Feb. 6-March 27
This festival just outside of Phoenix is a 30 acre medieval amusement park with 12 stages, an arts/crafts fair and jousting tournament. The 28th annual Renaissance festival runs every Saturday and Sunday from Feb. 6 through March 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets cost $23 for ages 12 and up, with discounts available and parking is free. Although no pets are allowed, maybe you will find a dragon or two. For directions and a list of activities, visit their website.
Flame Off 2016
Local and visiting glass artists will compete and create in front of a live audience at this fundraiser featuring fire, some food trucks, live music and beer on tap. Flame Off features glass artists competing solo and in teams to make glass art creations in various categories. This year’s competition theme is “what a long strange trip it’s been.” There will be an auction onsite and online to bid on pieces made at the event and proceeds benefit the Sonoran Glass School. The event is open to all ages and takes place on Feb. 5 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Sonoran Glass School at 633 W 18th St. Admission is $20.
Savor Food and Wine Festival
Indulge yourself with a collection of meals from many of the finest chefs and local restaurants in the area. The menu tastings offered are sure to please the foodie’s heart. The Savor food festival showcases the culinary diversity throughout the Arizona region and presents examples of some the desert’s best cooking. Along with a variety of opportunities to nosh away, there will be live musical performances on two stages from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event takes place at the Tucson Botanical Gardens at 2150 N Alvernon Way from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Feb. 5. Tickets are $65 and include admission to the gardens, food and wine samples, activities and entrance into a raffle.
Compiled by Jamie Verwys
As the weather suddenly moves from late summer to winter weather in the span of a day, it’s clear holiday season is right around the corner. Before you dig up all your winter clothes, which have laid dormant for months, take this opportunity to get in some exercise outdoors. Soak in some art, some nature and maybe even a few sexy dance moves and you’re ready for a cheery winter.
Fall Open Studio Tour
Sample Tucson’s art offerings all around the city for the 28th Fall Open Studio Tour Nov. 14 to 15. Hosted by the Tucson Pima Fine Arts Council, the event opens the door to artist’s studios city wide.
The tour runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a full list of participating artists and their locations is available on the Tucson Pima Fine Arts Council website.
The event is free to the public.
Meteor Mania with the Leonid
Experience a little 4th of July in November by watching some of nature’s fireworks, meteors. Leonids are unique types of meteors producing a slow, bright light and vibrant trails.
They will be in Tucson’s sights on Nov. 17 and the Kitt Peak Observatory, intersection of Arizona State Route 86 and Arizona State Route 386, is the best view in town. From 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., watch the meteor shower, learn about space and touch a real piece of asteroid.
Admission is $45 for adults, $25 for children and free to tribal members. Guests need to register before attending the event.
Suicide Girls: Blackheart Burlesque
When pop culture does a sexy dance with the world famous Suicide Girls, you get the spectacle that is Blackheart Burlesque. The tattooed, alternative pinups will strut their stuff in this special themed show and do a striptease tribute to some icons of film and television, including “Star Wars” and “Orange is the New Black.”
Hailed as “Comicon meets burlesque nerd orgy,” by Vice Magazine, the tongue and cheek act is always highly anticipated.
The ladies will come to Tucson on Nov. 19 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Tickets are $26 for general admission and premium tickets range from $41-$101, with meet and greets available.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the fun starts at 8 p.m. This show is for guests 18 and up.
El Tour de Tucson
Don your most aerodynamic spandex, strap on your helmet, make sure your bike tires got plenty of air and join 9,000 other cyclists in Tucson’s largest bike event. El Tour de Tucson is the largest perimeter cycling event in the country, with rides ranging from 5 to 104 miles for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. The start and finish line is located on Sixth Avenue between Armory Park and the Children’s Museum, 200 S. 6th Ave. The event will take place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Riders can register and view a breakdown of fees online.
Family Festival in the Park
Enjoy a day of fun, food and family at Reid Park, 1100 S. Randolph Way, on Nov. 21. Tucson Parks and Recreation Department’s Family Festival in the Park will give you and your little ones a plethora of fun offerings. There will be a carnival, activities, sports, crafts and entertainment from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Edith Ball Adaptive Recreation Center will be open for free swimming from noon to 4 p.m. Food vendors will be at the festival all day, so there will be plenty of snacks available. The festival is free and includes free admission to the Reid Park Zoo.
Compiled by Nick Meyers
It’s Halloween in the desert once again, and Tucson’s creepiest and crawliest emerge for some fun. Whether you want to take part in Southwest tradition, find ghosts or just get your drink on with some friends, find out what you’re doing this All Hallows’ Eve.
Nightmare on Congress
Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., will be alive with the spirits of the dead this weekend. Friday will feature a series of musical performances starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7 in advance and $9 at the door. Find out what spirits still live within the Hidden Room as Magic Kenny Bang Bang Macabre and Midnight Malange seek those in the great beyond. Tickets are $15 at the door at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Oct. 29 and 30. This event is 21+ at Hotel Congress.
Rocky Horror Picture Show 40th
Grab some goodies, sing-a-long and do the Time Warp at The Loft, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd, on Saturday, Oct. 31. Whether you’re a veteran or a virgin, there is no experience quite like the shenanigans at the Rocky Horror Picture show. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 for members and $10 for general admission. Goodie Bags are available for $3.
‘Many Bones, One Heart’
Take a look behind the stage of the All Souls Procession with a screening of the documentary, ‘Many Bones, One Heart,’ at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Stick around afterwards for a chance to talk with the film’s creator and the organizers of the All Souls Procession. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $9.25.
Dia de los Luchas
Looking for something a little different this All Souls Day? Check out a night of luchador wrestling at the Rialto, 318 E. Congress St., with a concert by Los Torta. All ages are invited and a portion of the proceeds go to Many Mouths, One Stomach. The show starts at 8 p.m., doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $10-$12.
All Souls Procession Weekend
The grand finale of fall festivities, the All Souls Procession has become a Tucson tradition. Grab your face paint and friends and take part in the two-mile walk from 6th Avenue and 7th Street to Avenida del Convento for the ceremonial burning of the urn. The Procession of Little Angles and Night of the Living Fest will take place on Sunday.
Compiled by Michael Romero
Great Tucson Beer Festival Oct. 17
The 29th Annual Great Tucson Beer Festival returns for another round from 6 to 10 p.m. at Kino North Soccer Stadium, 2817 E. Ajo Way. Those over 21 can choose one of two options to wet their palate: General admission, $45 before the festival, $50 the day of the festival and VIP $90 before the festival, $100 the day of the festival. General admission will include the cost of craft beer and food samples from the featured booths. The VIP admission includes the extra benefits of entrance to the wine garden, catered food and a souvenir mug. The festival will also offer a designated driver ticket price which will be available the night of the festival at $20. There will be a Designated Driver Pledge to insure no consumption of alcohol for those planning to drive to help patrons get home safely. Featured vendors among the 60+ attending include Stone Brewing, Odell Brewing and Mr. Beer by Coopers, as well as non-alcoholic vendors like Eegee’s and the good guys at Kalil. Tickets can be purchased online at azbeer.com or various Food City locations around South Tucson, or you can call 296-2400.
Women’s Day Out Oct. 24
The Women’s Day Out Expo is coming to Tucson to bring women together in celebration of womanhood through fashion, beauty and health. The event will take place at the Doubletree Hotel, 445 S. Alvernon Way, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A range of products from cosmetics, clothing and health supplements will be showcased to promote style and well-being. There will be door prizes at the free event, as well as samples from the exhibitors. For more information you can visit womensdayout.com or call (602) 625-3000.
Nightfall Oct. 1-31
Recently nominated as a contender for the top Theme Park Halloween Event for USA TODAY’S 10 Best Reader’s Choice travels, Nightfall is celebrating its 25th year of terror at Old Tucson Studios. Ghosts and ghouls will haunt the grounds at 201 S Kinney Road from 6 to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Sunday, and until midnight on Friday and Saturday. Walk-through attractions for the brave include Psychomania, The Bunker and The Iron Door Haunted Mine. Another featured walk-through will be an exhibit celebrating the 25 years of Nightfall with displays and nostalgia from past years. Tickets will be $26 for ages 12 and up and $21 for ages 9-11. For tickets and more information on rules and promotions, you can visit nightfallaz.com or call 883-0100.
Marana Pumpkin Patch Oct. 3-31
For those looking for a nice family day out, the Marana Pumpkin Patch & Farm Festival has an assortment of activities for all ages. Located at 14901 N. Wentz Road in Marana, the farm grounds are open all week. Operating hours are 3 to 7 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Sunday. Activities include a 50-acre pumpkin patch with pumpkins priced at 50 cents a pound, jumping pillows, a petting zoo with chickens, pigs, lambs and miniature donkeys, and featured concessions: hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, nachos, pretzels. The price of admission is $10, Monday through Thursday, and $12, Friday through Sunday, for all ages. Children under 32 inches tall get in for free. For more information you can visit maranapumpkinpatch.com or call 305-5481.
Compiled by Audrie Ford
With the season of pumpkins and ghouls just beginning, Tucson is already rolling out the Halloween festivities. If you’re hoping to be scared out of your wits or simply want to enjoy time with your family in the warm autumn air, this month is ripe for the picking.
Mt. Lemmon Oktoberfest:
Sept. 19-Oct. 11
The Mt. Lemmon Oktoberfest is known as one of the most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations in Arizona. It will feature specialty beverages and foods, such as Bavarian Bratwursts and live music from talented acts such as the John Prokop Band. The event is sponsored by the Ski Valley and the Iron Door Restaurant, and is held in the scenic Santa Catalina Mountains. The remaining dates are Oct. 3-4 and Oct. 10-11.
Halloweek at Hotel Congress:
Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., is hosting a 21 and over event to celebrate the paranormal history of the Hotel Congress. After the fire of 1934, the “Hidden Room” of Congress was left mysteriously undamaged and Hotel Congress has brought in occult experts Magic Kenny Bang Bang Macabre and Midnight Malanga to summon the spirits of the ghosts that still lurk the halls. The event will kick off at 7 p.m. on Oct. 1 and the festivities will run all month long. Tickets are $15 at the door. Shows will last 45-minutes with a limit of 30 guests per performance.
Arizona Opera with Arizona Lady: Oct. 10-11
The Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave., along with the Arizona Opera, will be the first major U.S. opera house to premiere Hungarian composer Emmerich Kálmán’s love letter to the Wild West with “Arizona Lady.” This musical treasure features lively, upbeat music and a wacky libretto. First written in 1954, “Arizona Lady” brings audiences back to the tale of leading lady Lona Farrell and her dreams of winning the Kentucky Derby with a horse named Arizona Lady. The show will be performed in German, Spanish and English with English subtitles. Prices vary based on seating.
Tucson Fashion Week: Oct. 15-17
Sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Tucson, this Fashion Week event will cater to a wide variety of audiences. Fashion industry leaders from Derek Gores to Stevie Boi, as well as some talented up-and-comings, will be participating in the main venue. The event will begin at the Moen Mason Gallary, 222 E 6th St., for the kickoff party at 6 p.m. The main fashion venue, on Oct. 16, will be held at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 160 S Scott Ave. On Oct. 18 the event will conclude with fashion inspired culinary tastings at the University of Arizona Old Main from chef and restauranteur Joseph Keller and other local talents. Tickets for each day are sold separately with significant student discounts available.
Walk For Wishes: Oct. 18
At 7:30 a.m. on the University of Arizona Mall, wishes will become reality. Make-A-Wish Arizona will be hosting Walk For Wishes to raise funds to help local children with life threatening diseases. This event will not only provide children with the medical funding they need, but will encourage and inspire them. Registration is free for individuals and teams, but participants are encouraged to raise funds for the campaign. The event will feature both a 3k and one mile run.
Compiled by Travis Braasch
Summer may be winding down but there’s no shortage of fun in Tucson. When it’s time to take a break from all the books and studying, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor events this coming month to take your mind off all of the stresses of school and work. From music and beer festivals to art exhibits and even theater, Tucson always has something for everyone.
Born & Brewed Local Beer Festival: Sept. 18-19
Club Congress, 311 E Congress St., is hosting the fourth anniversary local beer festival from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday celebrates all things locally brewed with a competition for this year’s Beer Cup, along with live music provided by LeeAnne Savage & The Curveball Cowboys. Saturday will have an open beer garden from 1 to 5 p.m., locally made food, music and other entertainment. The event is 21 and over and tickets are available for $30 at the Club Congress Hotel and online at ticketfly.com.
Details: hotelcongress.com, ticketfly.com
Tohono Chul El Dia de los Muertos Art Exhibition:
Aug. 28-Nov. 8
Tohono Chul is hosting an art exhibition in honor of El Dia de los Muertos at the Tohono Chul Main Gallery, 7366 N Paseo del Norte, from Aug 28 to Nov. 08. The large gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with other exhibitions throughout the month. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $3 for children and children under 5 are free. Tickets can be purchased at the Tohono Chul Main Gallery. For more information contact the gallery at 520-742-6500.
Arizona Underground Film
Festival: Sept. 8-26
The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St., is hosting the 8th annual Arizona Underground Film Festival. There will be several cult films screened over the course of the month, with tickets available for $8 per screening or $45 for an all access pass for the length of the festival. Tickets are available online at azundergroundfilmfest.com or at the box office of the Screening Room.
Philabaum Glass Gallery & Studio Exhibition: May 02- Sept. 26
The Philabaum Glass Gallery & Studio, 711 S Sixth Ave., is celebrating 40 years with an exhibition featuring work by local artists in blown glass, hand built and painted glass. Admission is free to this exhibitio and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 11a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit philabaumglass.com or call 884-7404.
The National Circus and
Acrobats of the People’s
Republic of China “Peking Dreams”: Sept. 24
The National Circus and Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China will be performing an amazing combination of acrobatics and Peking Opera at Fox Theatre, 17 W Congress St, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $21 to $49 and are available at the Fox Theatre box office or at foxtucsontheatre.org.