Something's happening nearly every day in the cooler months! Check with the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau (520/624-1817 or 800/638-8350, www.visittucson.org) and its Tucson Official Visitors Guide for what's coming up.
January: Tucson Quilt Show takes place mid-month. Southern Arizona Square and Round Dance and Clogging Festival attracts more than 3,000 dancers.
Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase Tucson, first 2 weeks, tel 520/624-1817 or 800/638-8350, www.visitTucson.org/gemshow. Many shows run during the event, including the very popular Tucson Gem & Mineral Show on the final weekend.
February: The giant Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase features more than 25 shows over a two-week period beginning in late Jan. and climaxing with the three-day Tucson Gem and Mineral Show (www.visitTucson.org/gemshow and www.tgms.org), which has museum exhibits and hundreds of dealers. The Tohono O'odham All-Indian Rodeo and Fair features a rodeo, parade, singing, dancing, crafts, and food—usually on the first weekend—near Sells, 58 miles southwest of Tucson. La Reunión de El Fuerte in the Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood presents cavalry drills, band music, and self-guided tours to historic sites in Fort Lowell Park and the surrounding community, including places not normally open to the public. Cowboys and cowgirls get together for a big rodeo and a colorful nonmotorized parade in La Fiesta de los Vaqueros (www.tucsonrodeo.com) on the last full week of the month, with rodeo action on Thursday. At Arizona State Museum's Southwest Indian Art Fair (www.statemuseum.arizona.edu), Native Americans offer demonstrations, dancing, storytelling, and traditional foods. Bluegrass musicians play in the Old Time Fiddler's Contest. Top pros compete at the PGA Accenture Match Play Championship (www.worldgolfchampionships.com) at Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain, Marana. Equestrians display their hunter/jumper skills in the Arizona Winter Festival Horse Show in late February and/or early March.
March: Renowned authors offer talks, interviews, and book-signings mid-month at Tucson Festival of Books (www.tucsonfestivalofbooks.org), a free event on the University of Arizona campus. Rifles and cannon roar during the Civil War in the Southwest (http://azstateparks.com) as soldiers in period dress reenact three Civil War battles that took place in the Southwest; Picacho Peak State Park, 41 miles northwest on I-10.
St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival celebrates Irish heritage on or near the 17th. Wa:k Pow Wow attracts Southwestern Native American groups to Mission San Xavier for traditional and modern singing and dancing. The Fourth Avenue Street Fair (www.fourthavenue.org) brings artists, craftspeople, entertainers, and food to N. 4th Avenue between University and Eighth St.; the fest repeats in December. Yoeme (Yaqui) Indians of Pascua Village in Tucson stage the Yaqui Lenten Ceremonies, a Passion play during the Easter season; masked dancers perform a ceremony that's a mixture of Catholic and tribal ritual depicting the forces of good overcoming those of evil.
April: During Spring Fling (http://springfling.arizona.edu), university students stage a huge carnival featuring rides, games, and food. The Pima County Fair (www.pimacountyfair.com) offers circus events, concerts, carnival rides and games, exhibits, and livestock shows at the Pima County Fairgrounds. The Tucson International Mariachi Conference (520/838-3908, www.tucsonmariachi.org) presents concerts, a parade, art exhibit, and golf tournament.
May: The Hispanic community celebrates Cinco de Mayo on or near the fifth with art, music, dances, and food.
June: The African-American community rejoices with entertainment, food, fashion, and crafts in the Juneteenth Festival, held midmonth in honor of the day that slaves got word of the Emancipation Proclamation—June 19, 1865.
July: Parades, picnics, and fireworks commemorate Independence Day on the fourth.
August: Fiesta de San Agustín marks the birthday of Tucson's patron saint and the founding of El Presidio de San Agustín de Tucson with music, dancing, and food.
September: The Mexican Independence Day Celebration is a traditional Mexican fiesta with music, folkloric dancers, arts, and food. Oktoberfest brings German music, food, and beer to Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley on the last two weekends.
October: Oktoberfest at Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley continues on the first two weekends. Experience Tucson's ethnic diversity in art, music, dance, and food during Tucson Meet Yourself (www.tucsonfestival.org).
November: Thousands of bicyclists challenge the clock and one another in El Tour de Tucson (www.pbaa.com) on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
December: Luminaria Nights (www.tucsonbotanical.org) brightens Tucson Botanical Gardens with 20,000 luminarias and entertainment on the first two weekends. Fourth Avenue Street Fair (www.fourthavenue.org) brings artists, craftspeople, entertainers, and food outdoors to N. 4th Avenue between University and Eighth Streets. Winterhaven Festival of the Lights has designated walk-through and drive-through nights for the holidays in this community northeast of downtown.
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