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Best Bets: Spring celebrations fill festival calendar

Best Bets: Spring celebrations fill festival calendar

Compiled by Erik Medina

From award-winning Mexican cinema to car-free neighborhood strolls, upcoming festivals offer varied ways to celebrate spring. Here are our suggestions for top choices.

Tucson Cine Mexico: March 22-26

The showcase, co-sponsored by the University of Arizona Hanson Film Institute and by New York’s Cinema Tropical, is the longest-running festival of contemporary Mexican film in the United States.

This year’s line-up features a mix of award-winning thrillers, comedies and documentaries. Filmmakers will interact with audiences during question-and-answer sessions.

Venues include:

  • Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St.
  • Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave.
  • Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18, 5455 S. Calle Santa Cruz. (Interstate 19-Irvington Road)

Admission is free but it is recommended to reserve seating at


Fourth Avenue Spring Street Fair: March 24-26

Tucson’s largest arts venue returns to Fourth Avenue between Ninth Street and University Boulevard. Hours are 10 a.m.-dusk each day.

Activities include 400-plus arts and crafts booths, food vendors, stage musicians and street performers, plus a free children’s hands-on art pavilion. No pets are allowed.


Marana Founders’ Day Festival: March 25

The Marana Heritage Conservancy and the Town of Marana celebrate Marana’s roots from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Ora Mae Harn Park, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road. Activities include a vintage tractor and car show, heritage village, live entertainment, kid’s zone and food court.

A parade begins at 10 a.m. along Marana Main Street. Parking will be accessible from Bill Gaudette Drive.

 Details:, calendar tab

Africa Night Dance Fusion: March 25-26

Diaspora Showcase presents a night of live music and dance performances at Grand Luxe Hotel, 1365 W. Grant Road. An eclectic mix of African sound, salsa and reggae will play from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Admission costs $20 in advance and $25 at the door.


Cruise, BBQ & Blues Festival and Car Show: April 1

After a weather cancellation in February, the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance has rescheduled its annual festival.

Thousands of participants will enjoy live blues music and purchase barbecue as they view a variety of cars and trucks that celebrate the art of vehicle design.

The event takes place 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Oro Valley Marketplace, 12155 N. Oracle Road. Tickets cost $5, with a $1 discount for veterans and active duty military with ID. Ages 10 and under are free. Cash only.


Cyclovia Tucson: April 2

Walkers, bicyclists and roller-bladers celebrate neighborhoods and alternative transportation from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. during this annual car-free event.

Living Streets Alliance has designed a new route that makes its way from downtown Tucson through historic neighborhoods to South Tucson.

For the first time, portions of West Alameda Street and Church Avenue will close to vehicle traffic. Participating downtown museums include the Tucson Museum of Art, which will offer free admission.

The route continues down South Eighth Avenue, ending at a Healthy South Tucson Coalition health fair. Activities will include music, activities and demonstrations.


Cyclovia Tucson – midtown route
Sunday November 01, 2015.
Photos by: Mamta Popat

What’s next after spring cleaning?

What’s next after spring cleaning?

Compiled by Dale Villeburn Old Coyote

It’s March, time to get out of the house and embrace spring. Thankfully, there are plenty of great opportunities for food and fun to get you up and moving.

Lord of the Wings: March 4

Forty restaurants will submit their best wings to compete for the title of “Lord of the Wings” from noon-4 p.m. at Rillito Park Race Track, 4502 N. First Ave.

In addition to sampling wings, attendees can choose among 30 craft beers. Other activities include live music, carnival rides, challenges and a hot wing eating competition. The event is for ages 21 and over. Ticket prices are $40 general admission, $85 for a VIP package.



Tucson Festival of Books: March 11-12

Visit the state’s largest gathering of literary authors, book discussions, workshops and activities during the ninth annual Tucson Festival of Books at the University of Arizona.

Activities run 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. both days. The event is free to attend and free parking is available.



St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival: March 17

 An hour-long parade starts at 11 a.m. at Stone Avenue and 16th Street, and will end at Armory Park on South Sixth Avenue.

A festival featuring Irish music, dance and entertainment will take place at Armory Park from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The park includes a children’s play area, and vendors that will sell food and merchandise.



Civil War in the Southwest: March 18-19

 Spectators can see what life was like for soldiers in the 1860s when re-enactors battle from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day at Picacho Peak State Park off Interstate 10, west of Tucson.

The vehicle entrance fee is $10 for up to four people. Food and beverages will be sold onsite.

For more information, call (520) 466-3183.


Re-enactors fire a cannon during a 2015 Civil War in the Southwest battle at Picacho Peak State Park. (Nick Meyers/Aztec Press 2015)



Snuggle up to fun February events

Compiled by Erik Medina

February is the month of love and relationships. Don’t know how to celebrate? Here are some events suitable for both couples and singles.

Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase

Through Feb.12

More than 40 shows set up across the city in tent, hotels and exhibit halls. Items on display range from precious jewels to mineral crafts to dinosaur fossils.

Most citywide shows are free and open to the public.

The main event is the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show on Feb. 9-12 at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave.

Admission to the convention center cost $13 with discounts available. This year’s theme is “Mineral Treasures of the Midwest.”

 Details: or

Savor Food & Wine Festival

Feb. 4

The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance brings together more than 75 chefs, wineries, breweries and restaurants to showcase the diversity of heritage foods and ingredients in the southwest.

The event will take place at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2510 N. Alvernon Way. The admission price of $65 allows you to sample from a variety of menus.


Arizona Renaissance Festival

Feb. 11-April 2

The festival just outside of Phoenix is a 30-acre medieval amusement park with 13 stages, an arts/craft fair and jousting tournament. The annual event runs every Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11-April 2, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. It will also be open Feb. 20, President’s Day. No pets allowed.

Tickets start at $24 for ages 12 and up, with discounts available at participating Fry’s Food Stores. Parking is free.

From Tucson, take Highway 70 to Florence Junction. Go west 7 miles on Highway 60 to Festival Village.

 Details: or

Lunar New Year Celebration

Feb. 11

The Tucson Chinese Culture Center will host Year of the Rooster celebrations at Tucson Mall, 4500 N. Oracle Road, on the first floor near JCPenney.

The event will feature live performances all day. The first act begins at 11 a.m. and the last at 7 p.m. Admission is free.


Fort Lowell Day

Feb. 11

The historic neighborhood invites the community to relive its past. The 36th annual celebration from noon to 4 p.m. will include a wide variety of activities and displays such as adobe brick making and tours of historic sites. Admission and parking are free.


BEST BETS: Your go-to guide for making the most of winter

BEST BETS: Your go-to guide for making the most of winter

(Photo courtesy of Fourth Avenue Street Fair)

Compiled by Katelyn Roberts

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.



“La Pastorela”

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

Dec. 11-13

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

Dec. 9-11

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

Dec. 10-26

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”

Dec. 10-11

 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”

Dec. 12-13

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

Dec. 16

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

Dec. 17

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

Dec. 20

The magical 1946 classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” will screen at the Tucson Fox Theatre at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $7.


Best Bets: Festive holiday events delight all ages

Best Bets: Festive holiday events delight all ages


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

Nov. 25-27

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

Dec. 3

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

Dec. 7-23

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:


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

Dec. 9-11

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

Dec. 10-26

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.


BEST BETS: Get ready for some fall-worthy events

BEST BETS: Get ready for some fall-worthy events

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:, 602-793-2337


Oro Valley Music Festival

Oct. 1-2

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

Oct. 7-9

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

Oct. 7-9

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.




Oct. 8

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.



Buckelew Farm

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:, 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:, 822-2277


Nightfall 2016

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:, 883-0100


Slaughter House

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:, 784-2501


Marana Pumpkin Patch & Farm Festival

Oct. 1-30

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:, 305-548

Best Bets

Compiled by EDDIE CELAYA

St. Patrick’s Day Festival

and Parade

March 13

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

March 14-20

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

March 19-20

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.


Best Bets

Best Bets

Compiled by D.R. WILLIAMS

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

Feb. 11-14

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

Feb. 13

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.


Pg07-Lion dance

Cruise, BBQ & Blues Festival

Feb. 20

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

Tucson Rodeo

Feb. 20-28

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.


Best Bets: Fun for the kids and the grown ups too

Best Bets: Fun for the kids and the grown ups too

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

Nov. 14-15

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 

Nov. 17

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 

Nov. 19

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

Nov. 21

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

Nov. 21

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.




Best Bets: Halloween haunts the Old Pueblo

Best Bets: Halloween haunts the Old Pueblo

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

Oct. 29-31

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

Anniversary Sing-A-Long

Oct. 31

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’

Nov. 2

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

Nov. 6

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

Nov. 7-8

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.


Pg12-Best Bets

Halloween spooks throughout October

Halloween spooks throughout October

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 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 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 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 or call 305-5481.



Pg12-Best Bets

Best Bets: Oktoberfest, opera and outfits galore!

Best Bets: Oktoberfest, opera and outfits galore!

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:

Oct. 1-31

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.



Films! Beer! Art! And a taste of the circus!

Films! Beer! Art! And a taste of the circus!

 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

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 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 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

Pg10-Best Bets 01

Best Bets: School kicks off with art and music

Best Bets: School kicks off with art and music


Complied by Anna Stiltner

The days of hanging out pool side, sipping cool beer and enjoying homework-free days are now behind us. Though we have only been back a short time, most of us are already busy working away and beginning new projects. Tucson offers us welcomed fun, music, theatre and a little mystery to reward us for our efforts. So, if you can peel yourself away from that textbook, get yourself into a seat at one of these fall events.

HoCo Fest Music Festival: September 4-6

Club Congress, 311 E Congress St., is celebrating its 30th anniversary with local, national and international music acts. HoCo is Tucson’s oldest indoor/outdoor solar-powered multimedia festival. This event is 21 and over and doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the Hotel Congress lobby or their website for $10 to $12.


Who Dunit?: Sept. 4-Nov. 14

Based on the iconic board game,  “Who Dunit? Or They Haven’t Got a Clue” is a musical, mystery comedy, now showing at The Great American Playhouse every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Nov. 14.  The venue is located at 13005 N Oracle Rd. in Oro Valley. Admission is $18.50 for adults, $16.50 for seniors, active military, or students, and $8.50 for children 12 and under.   For a complete schedule of show times please visit their website.


Invisible Theatre –“Tru”: Sept. 1-13

“Tru” is a poignant comedy that takes a fascinating look inside the mind of controversial American author Truman Capote. The show will be put on by Invisible Theatre, 1400 N 1st Ave., at 7:30 p.m. each night, with a special 3 p.m. showing on Sept. 13. Tickets are sold at the theatre and admission is $30 per person.     


Rendezvous on 4th: Sept. 12

The Fourth Avenue Merchants Association welcomes back Tucson’s student population with a night filled with music, deals and fashion. From 5 to 9 p.m. there will be a merchant sidewalk sale, games and giveaways. A fashion show featuring local boutiques will take the main stage at Mike Haggerty Plaza, 316 N. 4th Ave., at 7:30 p.m. The event is free to all.

A Bead Carnival: Sept. 8 – 12

One of Tucson’s largest events, the gem and mineral show, returns for its fall season Sept. 7 to 13. A bead showcase will be held from Sept. 8 to 12, conveniently located in the Palo Verde Corridor of the show at 3301 E. Pennsylvania. Vintage beads and buttons, Swarovski crystal beads, stringing materials and more will all be availble for purchase by the public and wholesalers. The showroom will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.


Space, Art and Music Festival: Sept.12

Music and art meet with space at The Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., for Bennuval. The live show will feature galexy themed acts by eclectic, local performers. Comedy group Tucson Improv Movement, acrobats Flam Chem and  a unique music project ChamberLab will all perform. The Art of Planetary Arts will display work inspired by science and space and meterorites will be displayed. The event will start at 7 p.m. and admission will range from $18 to $55. Tickets are availble at the Fox Theatre box office or on their website.


Best Bets

Compiled by Deanna Sherman

It’s almost summer time in Tucson! Be prepared to step outside and enjoy the dry heat for an array of food, music and activities.

‘Newsies’ – April 21-26

Disney’s “Newsies” is coming to Tucson. The popular and wildly entertaining musical will be performed at Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. The times vary and will include matinees Saturday and Sunday. Tickets range from $31.50 to $111.80. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling the box office at 621-3341.


Beer with the Bard – April 25

Join local Shakespeare lovers for a day of bar hopping and performances. They’ll begin at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., at 2 p.m., work their way to The Shanty and Surly Wench on Fourth Avenue before ending the crawl at Flycatcher. It will cost you $5 to join the fun, and participation is limited to those 21 and older.


Pima County Fair – through April 26

Rides, music, food and entertainment continue at the Pima County Fair through April 26. Gates open at 1 p.m. Monday- Friday and at 10 a.m. Saturday-Sunday. The fairgrounds are located at 1120 S. Houghton Road. General admission costs $8, and children 6-10 are $4. Children 5 and under get in free. There is also a $5 parking fee.


‘Near to Here’ reception – May 2

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road, will feature a gallery of four West Tucson artists, including Pima Community College art instructor Christina McNearney, in a “Near to Here” exhibit May 2-July 12. The gallery will explore the “wonder and wilderness of the Sonoran Desert.”

The opening reception will take place May 2 from 1-3 p.m. Gallery entrance is included with museum membership or the price of admission. General admission is $19.50, seniors $17.50, youth $15.50, children $6 and children under 3 are free.


Tucson Folk Festival – May 2-3

The first weekend of May belongs to the 30th Annual Tucson Folk Festival. Free festivities at El Presidio Park, 160 W. Alameda, run Saturday from noon-10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. There will be multiple stages to visit with tons of bands and lots of food. It can be difficult to find parking, so be prepared to walk.


Cinco de Mayo – May 3: Party at the Park

A Party at the Park celebrating Cinco de Mayo will take place at Kennedy Park, 3359 S. La Cholla Blvd., from 2-5p.m. Activities include music, games, food and drinks. Purchase tickets at the Viva Performing Arts Center.