The Getaway
Annual Festivals in Tucson by Month

Cultural life in Tucson is so vibrant and multidimensional. The city's long history of annual events draws visitors from far and wide and enhances community life. There's an event for every interest peppered throughout the calendar and the diversity means you can always discover a new passion. The traditional and the modern merge, and the result is a rich legacy. So come and bond with the community and keep the practices of old alive. You can celebrate nature and art on a month by month basis in the "Old Pueblo."

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01 January joys: Tucson's winter celebrations

Tucson's mild winter weather adds to the city's significant appeal. Escape frosty conditions elsewhere in the country and warm up to the sounds of world-class jazz acts. The Tucson Jazz Festival embraces both newcomers and well-versed connoisseurs of the genre. For more family-friendly entertainment, the highly-anticipated Zoppé Family Circus from Italy wows crowds in its Big Top tent when the cooler weather descends. Expect clowns, trapeze artists, and applause-worthy feats.

02 February's festive flair: Rodeos and gems

The world-renowned Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Show takes place from late January and spills over into Feb. It's all about viewing or purchasing rare stones and art; thousands descend on the Old Pueblo to treasure hunt. If rockhounding in not quite your speed, look to the Tucson Rodeo, also known as La Fiesta de los Vaqueros. The cowboys and girls show off their skills, and an immensely popular horse-drawn parade comprising dozens of floats adds to the buoyant, carnival-like atmosphere. The rodeo is approaching its centennial, and the gem show contributes significantly to the local economy.

03 March's melodies: Music and books

The Tucson Festival of Books means March Madness for bibliophiles. It's a relatively new fair, but it draws sizable crowds that reach 135,000 strong. Folks come to see author panels, hear poetry, and access bookish programming for all ages. If music stirs your soul rather than words, the Winter Chamber Music Fest truly celebrates aural art. Discover new quartets and diverse instrumentalists, and revisit famous composers.

04 April's artistic avenues: Folklore and film

The Tucson Folk Festival is a free, family-friendly event honoring the various textures of Americana and Folk music. Blues, bluegrass, country, Celtic, and Latin sounds create a rich tapestry and provide an excellent opportunity to nurture eclectic musical taste in kids. Regional and national headliners are just one facet of the festival. You can also look forward to workshops, a songwriting competition, and food and craft stalls. The Arizona International Film Festival inspires a different kind of creativity and shines a spotlight on indie cinema.

05 May's multicultural mosaic: Heritage and horses

Tucson is a mariachi hub, and the annual Mariachi Festival at Patagonia Lake State Park is all the sombrero-topped Cinco de Mayo goodness you could hope for. Hear music interspersed with the signature Mexican Grito while masters don charro suits, and folk dancers move to the beat in intricately embroidered ensembles. Complete the experience by sampling a Sonoran dog. Then, every May, equestrian traditions continue at the Sonoita Horse Races. Throw your hat in the ring at the fancy Hat Contest, watch thoroughbred racing, and keep one eye on the Kentucky Derby.

06 June's jubilant jamborees: Summer solstice celebrations

Schools out! June hosts events like El Dia de San Juan. Those familiar with Tucson will know DeGrazia's Gallery in the Sun. Ettore "Ted" DeGrazia was a multi-skilled artist who interned with the likes of Diego Rivera and was greatly inspired by the Sonoran Desert. The gallery celebrates his birthday by offering free cake and ice cream while stocks last.

07 July's joyful journeys: Independence and culture

Things are heating up in Tucson. The 4th of July brings all the patriots to the yard, so gather all your star-spangled banner paraphernalia and head for the Independence Day fireworks displays. Check out the parade and car show in the town of Tombstone. Also in July, the Invisible Theatre's Sizzling Summer Sounds cabaret extravaganza is worth the admission price and then some.

08 August's artistic allure: Birding and culinary delights

Let your birdwatching hobby soar to new heights at the Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival. The whole family can participate in the action with field trips and many feathered cuties. The Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance's Salsa, Tequila & Taco Challenge is a spicy August foodie event benefiting arts outreach programs.

09 September's spirited soirees: Gem shows and Comic Cons

Remember the Gem Show in February? There's a Fall iteration too, over the Labor Day weekend. It's not as busy as the summer show, if you'd like to attend when the crowds are thinner. The new exhibits are always educational. Tucson Comic Con is also in September, so if your obsession is cosplay, fantasy fandom, and comic books, this is the month to circle on the calendar.

10 October's outdoor ovations: Celebrate nature and nurture

October is full of events to enrich community life among Tucsonans. Watch chrysalises hatch at Butterfly Magic, a Tucson Botanical Gardens exhibit. At the Bisbee 1000 Great Stair Climb, you can make your way through the 4.5-mile course across nine staircases in one of the most unusual physical challenges in the nation.

11 November's nostalgic narratives: All souls and heritage

Hundreds of thousands participate in the All Souls Procession in downtown Tucson with one goal—to remember those who have passed on. The event is inspired by Dia de Muertos, and is at once cathartic and exuberant. Also in November, the Tucson Celtic Festival and Scottish Highland Games feature bagpipe bands, Irish dancing, and athletic showcases.

12 December's dazzling displays: Winter lights and festivities

It's the holidays, the most special time of the year. 'Tis the season for Tucson to attend the Fourth Avenue Street Fair with its buskers, food vendors, and good vibes. The Winterhaven Festival of Lights makes this corner of Southern Arizona sparkle, and its charitable bent is the proverbial cherry on top of the Christmas pie.

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