Archive for the ‘Celebrations’ Category

Tucson 4th Avenue Street Fair-Things to See and Do…

Friday, December 11th, 2015


Weekend Wanderings…

Tucson’s 4th Avenue Street Fair fills 4th Avenue, the street with fascinating eclectic stores, with more than 400 white tents in which thousands of people will wander this weekend.
The semi-annual 4th Annual Street Fair is a staple in Tucson, just before the Christmas holidays and during the spring. Artisans from all over will set up and sell their wares.
The weather promises to cooperate with temps in the 60’s and the sun reigning over the area. The enticing smells of funnel cakes, hot dogs, corn dogs and fried foods linger in the air, but no promises of fried pickles or deep fried oreos. Beer is on tap and the 4th Avenue restaurants will also be open.
The Street Fair evokes a sense of excitement and happiness and eagerness to discover what is in the next tent. When several people congregate in front of one tent, the natural instinct is to find out what everyone is checking out!
It’s a time to meander while checking out what is in the 4th Avenue stores too. The Street Fair comes courtesy of the 4th Avenue Street Merchants who originally sponsored the street fair as a marketing event to get people to see what 4th Avenue has to offer.
And now, after many years, the Street Fair is an event eagerly looked forward to by locals, and also by local charities which sponsor booths to hawk food and beverages.

Above the din of the crowds music drifts through the air like a gentle breeze.  Two stages are erected and musicians of all ilk play according to a schedule.  At one stage there may be country and the other, a group singing a capella.  Sometimes there are instrumentalists, or rock groups.  Swaying to the music or improv dancing is encouraged!  Often musicians will have their music for sale.

Crafts and paintings are available for sale; it’s a good place to find unique stocking stuffers, and there is always an abundance of beautifully crafted jewelry.  Woodworking items show beautiful patinas, and hand thrown pottery are one of a kind in an array of styles and colors.  I’m in the market for a new apron, perhaps I can find one in one of the white tents.

It is always remarkable that all the items for sale are hand crafted with love and precision and don’t come from an assembly line.  The ideas were created by the craftsperson who then took the time to transform the idea into a reality.  Hats off to all of these people, and a huge thank you to the Fourth Avenue Merchants for bringing this event to us.




Weekend Wanderings…

Friday, October 30th, 2015

IMG_7932Admittedly Halloween is my favorite holiday and the concept of El Dia De Los Muertos is an occasion I never knew about, having been raised in Connecticut. To conscientiously remember those in life who have died and commemorate them is such a nice tradition. Families and friends will spread picnics of foods and drink enjoyed by the deceased as well as music and mementos at local cemeteries. And in homes, altars will be built to those who have died in remembrance.

Especially for those who do not know about El Dia De Los Muertos, various venues about town will commemorate the day with exhibitions, art work, and altars and include Banda Calaca, a band of “musicians” marching to Altar, which is a community memorial altar in conjunction with the Tucson Museum of Art. Tohono Chul Park will have an exhibition of art work and All Souls Procession will put the finishing touches on the All Souls Procession which takes place the following week.

Congress Street will be the site of the costume contest parade and in a different event, children can trick or treat along Fourth Avenue, venue for a Spooky Kids Costume Contest at 6 pm October 30. Trunk or Treat will be at 604 North 6th Avenue October 31 and will be the site of carnival games, a kids train, petting zoo, music and more.

Nightfall at Old Tucson is designed to scare adults and children alike with ghosts and goblins darting about and appearing as if from no place. Haunted Histories of Tucson will delight those who like macabre history October 31 at Fort Lowell Park, by the Arizona Historical Society. And for those who want to go to the deep dark caves, Howl at the Cave is taking place October 30 and 31 at Colossal Cave
on Old Spanish Trail.

For a complete list of what is happening this weekend, visit and check the calendar. Then go out and have a howling good time!

Weekend Wanderings: What’s Going on in Tucson?

Monday, December 8th, 2014

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Realtors and other volunteers wearing a red Santa hat in front of stores ring their bells for the Salvation Army, Christmas lights and icicles adorn the fronts of homes, the vendors of Christmas Trees have replaced their pumpkins with balsams and firs, and the stores are ready for another Christmas shopping weekend.
Less than three weeks until Christmas! Oro Valley celebrates its tree lighting ceremonies at the Oro Valley Market at 12155 North Oracle tonight between 5:30 and 8:00 pm. Santa will arrive to greet residents at this festive occasion.
Luminarias which line the paths at the Tucson Botanical Gardens will be on display this weekend and next weekend for a nominal fee. There will be refreshments and musical entertainment for your body and soul as you wander the pathways of this magnificent garden, home to lush and often rare plants.
For those with a bent towards animals, check the Reid Park Zoo’s animal light sculptures from 6 to 8 pm. Here is an opportunity to see the zoo and it’s animals at night…hmmm, wonder if the animals sleep as we do? This extends to December 23.
San Xavier Del Bac, the Mission Church, south of Tucson, stands as “the white dove in the desert” and can be seen in the midst of the desert from Interstate 19. Originally built to convert Native Americans to the ways of Christianity, the Baroque architecture is among the finest in the US. The interior art work in is stunning.
El Naciemento, the intricate Mexican Nativity Scene, is on display at La Casa Cordova in the Historical Block of the Tucson Art Museum. Displaying this nativity scene has been a tradition for decades.
Decorating gingerbread cookies and making ornaments out of candy canes are on the agenda for children attending Winter Wonderland, a program from 10 am to 2 pm at the Children’s Museum.
Unique stores line downtown Tucson, a place for gastronomical delights, music of all genres, and theaters to present entertainment from Broadway to the ultra modern. And now, stores are decked out in holiday decorations – competing for the best of downtown. Take a gander downtown, ride the trolley, and enjoy the December spirit.

Springtime in Tucson!

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Cerulean skies, warm breezes, and temperatures in the high 70’s and low 80’s mark spring time in Tucson.  Buds begin to burst from branches.   Golden desert marigolds pop up along highways, the tall, deep blue lupines stand at attention, while the pink globe mallow and red parry pestemon  make a mark on the Arizona landscape.

This is the time to hike, to bike, to be outdoors embracing the warmth and beauty of all Tucson offers.

The smell of the air is fresh, doors and windows are thrown open and the stagnant air of winter is replaced by clean spring fragrances.

Shorts and tees replace long pants and sweatshirts.  The dormant earth comes alive again with color, wafts of newly blossomed vegetation wander in the air, and the delicate feel of regeneration is once again upon us.

It’s the time to enjoy the many free outdoor events which bring together a myriad of cultural activities and represent the creative talents of the Tucson area.

The Tucson Festival of Books winds down today at the University of Arizona campus. Authors, publishers, lovers of books, and literacy advocates  congregrate on campus to listen to panel discussions, enjoy readings by authors, attend workshops,  or enter writing contests.  The event is free and each year grows larger, attracting renowned authors who share their creativity.

Art is in the air and March 18 to the 20th is  Oro Valley Arts in the Park, another free event.   Musicians will perform,  art work of all mediums as well as crafts will be displayed for sale, activities for children are available, and the delectable smells from the food vendors will fill the air. Friday and Saturday hours are from 9 am to 4 pm and on Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.

The Tucson Museum of Art will be open March 25 through 27 as well as the homes on the Historic Block in downtown Tucson for the Annual Spring Artisan Market.  This is the perfect place to purchase unique gifts which can range from one of the kind pottery to a pair of hand crafted earrings,  hand painted cards, or intricately blown glass.

Much of the history of Tucson and the old Presidio are within this historic downtown area and a tour of the homes in this area reflect Tucson’s connection to both Mexico and Spain.   The Presidio of San Augustine del Tucson dates back to 1775, and the Cordova house in particular is a good example of the old adobe construction. Tours are available and are conducted by docents of the Tucson Museum of Art.

Not only is the weather enticing during Tucson’s springtime, but there is plenty to see and do!  Come, enjoy the beauty of  spring time in Tucson and the events which represent Tucson and its culture!


Tucson Festival of Books

Oro Valley Arts in the Park:

Tucson Museum of Art:

Giving Back to the Community…CRS and Hearth

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

The 23th annual Founder’s Day Luncheon, celebrated by the Arizona Certified Residential Specialists (CRS) and the Hearth Foundation, is a commemorative event open to the community at large.

Founder’s Day celebrates the founding of The Hearth Foundation by members of CRS and the Tucson Board of Realtors®.  Articles of incorporation were filed with the State of Arizona November 12, 1987 with the mission of establishing housing for homeless women 18 years of age or older with children 12 years or younger.

Since that time, Hearth has broadened its scope to include homeless women caring for children and has embraced the community at large, not just Realtors®.  Hearth supplies transitional housing as well as emergency short term housing for homeless women with children and derives its funds from fundraisers sponsored by the organization as well as donations from the public and other civic organizations.  Programs are provided by Our Family Services and New Beginnings.

CRS is an organization of Realtors®  under the auspices of the National Association of Realtors®.  Only four per cent of Realtors® hold their CRS designation, earned from both extensive continuing education as well as production, yet CRS agents account for 25% of the transactions nationwide.  CRS agents are known for their skills and knowledge which serves clients well.

In the past, the Arizona Chapter of CRS has been named national Chapter with the Heart for its support of Hearth.

Reservations for the luncheon, which begins promptly at 11:30 am, can be made at the link below.  The cost is $25 per plate.  Westward Look, a renowned Tucson resort off of Ina Road just east of Oracle, is the venue and valet parking is available.  Menu choices are available at the registration site and include:  Herb-Roasted Breast of Chicken with Prickly Pear Glaze, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and the Chef’s selection of Fresh Seasonal Sauteed Vegegtables or a Vegetarian Ravoli.    The luncheon will end promptly by 1:15 pm so attendees can get to the TAR Summit by 2 pm.  Make your reservation at:

Click here to register

Preparations underway for the Gem and Mineral Show…

Monday, January 17th, 2011

White tents dot Tucson in preparation for the Gem and Mineral ShowPPThe

The big white tents are beginning to dot the city;  from Palo Verde on the south side of town, up through the Frontage Road along I-10, to the center of town across from the Tucson Convention Center.  Preparations are underway for the Gem Mineral and Fossil Showcase.    The show, which takes over the city, brings vendors and buyers from all over the world.   Tucson truly becomes a melting pot.  Language students are in their glory!

This year’s theme is Minerals from California.    The main show at the Convention Center will feature colorful multi faceted minerals and gems from the state speculators flocked to during the gold rush.  Incidentally, Tucson was made a part of the Gadsden Purchase because it was the best route to California for those with gold rush fever.

Begun originally as a local show in 1955, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show has grown to become the largest show in the world which other shows wish to emulate.  The Showcase has grown up around it.  Many of the “shows”  allow only professional buyers with tax identification numbers.    Buyers from throughout the world are here to buy and sell precious stones and minerals which will become part of investor collections, part of a precious piece of jewelry, or a museum item.  Millions of dollars change hands.

Hotel rooms become the bartering place including the very upscale resort hotels here in Tucson.

But the fun shows welcome the general public and the flavors represent all parts of the world.  If you spent the entire time the show is up and running, you could not see everything.  African art, beads from throughout the world, fossilized plates, huge piece of crystal, delicate rings with gemstones, diamond earrings, rugs, crystals, meteorites… on and on.   It’s an education unto itself!

Grab a comfortable pair of shoes and get ready.  The Showcase opens January 28 and will run through the second week of February.  The Gem Mineral and Fossil Show at the Convention Center opens February 1o through the 13th.  This show will dazzle, but the fun is at the many and varied Showcases in the big white tents.  And there is “show food” too, but don’t forget your bottle of water, this is after all, Tucson!

road from

2011 Hurrah! Here We Come!

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

The window frames the Catalina Mountains, famed as the southernmost ski area in the nation, Mount Lemmon Ski Area, at an elevation of about 8,000 feet.  Sheriffs’ cars block the Catalina Highway and only those vehicles with chains and a reason to travel the road are permitted through the roadblock.

Tonight, New Year’s Eve, the temperature in Tucson will be cooler than that of Time Square in New York City.  Revelers in the streets watching the huge Waterford Crystal Ball drop will be warmer than those who plan to whoop it up outside in the Old Pueblo.

The Big Apple has all the snow of the recent storm cleared, and probably dumped into the Hudson River. From my vantage point, looking through the green leaves of the oleanders and the sticks which are the branches of the pomegranates with several half eaten fruits forming interesting geometric type circles, plus the lacy leaves of the mesquite, I see the cloud cover descending.

The peaks of the Catalinas are only a foggy remnant of distinct mountain tops.   I know the snow is falling.

I showed property this morning off the Catalina Highway and reprimanded myself severely for not bringing my camera.  Snow continued to fall in some areas of the Catalinas, almost a mist rising in the air, or descending from the heavens, however one wishes to see the phenomena.

Usually craggy, showing great personality and character, the mountains stand in the distance, assorted browns from a sand to a burnt sienna, and depending upon the amount of rain, shades of greens ranging from a burnt brown green to a verdure, fresh, crisp green, like the inner leaves of celery or romaine lettuce.

I hail from New England where snow is a part of winter life.  I could marvel at the diamonds in the trees and the white virgin beauty of a fresh snowfall, but too soon it became snowplow brown, and was cursed as a slowdown to east coast life.

Like rain, snow is an anomaly.   Snow falls, we grin from ear to ear.  Rain comes, we dance in the streets.  We admire the beauty of the sifted confectionary sugar upon our mountains like sifted confectionary sugar upon a delicate but deeply satisfying dessert.   That, with a good cup of full bodied coffee soothes the soul.

I choose to think this as a good omen and the gods of weather are telling Tucson, 2011 is a new year, and the snows will bring spring water to the mountains which will bloom as truly Tucson will do.

A safe, happy, joyous, healthy, and prosperous 2011 to you and those whom you love.

Fiesta de Fuego…on Tonight!

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Toe tapping and the unbridled desire to dance and undulate to the rhythms of  the blues band, Cross Cut Saw is on the menu tonight served up with Domingo DeGrazia, a Spanish guitarist whose fingers fly across the strings. The Tucson Omni National is the scene of Fiesta de Fuego where hot salsa and chips, tequila tasting, a silent auction with gifts to please everyone, a cash bar, and Latin music reverberates with the blues. 

There are those of us who will agitate to dance, and those of us who appreciate the music and will sit and enjoy, and there are those of us who will work the pulsation and enjoy every second of the musical beat to stamp our own interpretation  of the music into the dance floor.  And of course there will be those of us who are so irritated that our partners will not dance that we thank God that women can dance with women without judgment!  Fiesta goers are guaranteed a rollicking time having fun supporting The Hearth Foundation, which provides housing for homeless women with children, building lives “one brick at a time”.

Tucson Omni is the place, $10.00 per person is the cover charge, make reservations at the link below. 

Omni Tucson National Resort, set in northwest Tucson, with the backdrop of the beautifully craggy Catalina Mountain which reflect the colors of the sunset, is home to an award winning golf course which will be the site Sunday of the Golf Tournament.  

Temperatures will be in the 70’s during the morning and rise to the low 90’s in the late afternoon, but a comfortable breeze will sweep across the manicured course throughout the day.  The humidity will be 29% at check in time Sunday at 11 am and the day promises to be glorious  fall Tucson day.  Come be a spectator and cheer for your favorite golfer.

The day culminates with a Golfers Banquet at the Omni restaurant.  Golf prizes will be awarded to the day’s top conqueror of the links.  And the results of the raffle will also be announced.

Raffle tickets are available on line:  Prices are $10 each or three for $20.00  –

Prizes include:  7 days/6 nights in a 2 BR/2BA  suite at Napa Valley, CA; 

Romantic Playa Grande Resort, Cabo San Lucas Mexico, 7 days/6 night;

and a Winter Wonderland Get A Way in Santa Fe New Mexico, 7 Nights, 6 nights, November through March only.

Restrictions do apply and all get a ways must be booked in advance. Winners must provide their own transportation.

Come and watch, enjoy Tucson’s fall season at a beautiful resort.  Support The Hearth, an organization supported by the Tucson Realtor® community and the community at large.  The Hearth is a non profit organization 501(c)3 organization.

 For more information or to book reservations for Fiesta De Fuego, go to this website:



One of Top Five Worldwide Mineral Museums….

Thursday, January 21st, 2010


A sheet metal worker quiety assembled specimens of minerals during his lifetime as an avocation, and donated the extensive mineral collection to the University of Arizona.  Hubert C. Monmonier was instrumental in putting the Arizona Mineral Museum on the international platform, donating a collection conservatively valued at eight million dollars, according to Mark Candee, curatorial museum specialist.

One of the top five mineral museums in the world is located on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson at the Flandrau Science Center on the lower level.  The Mineral Museum is 115 years young and originally was housed in the Geo-Science and engineering buildings.  It was originally established to showcase the minerals from Arizona, also known as the copper state.  More than 2500 pieces of minerals are currently on display.

The Museum is a research museum and has an extensive database with the DNA of thousands of minerals.  Technology today is such that an ruby from Burma  can be distinguished from an ruby  from India or South Carolina, Candee said.  The University of Arizona has one of the best labs in the world for identification and ten to fifteen new minerals are identified each year.  The Museum works in conjunction with the space program in an effort to determine the DNA of “space materials”. 

The best minerals from Bisbee and part of the private collection from the Graham Family will be on exhibit for six months beginning February 6. Additional minerals from the Smithsonian will also be displayed.  American Indian jewelery, made with local minerals, are also on exhibit.

 Minerals in today’s economy are definitely not loosing their value, Candee said.  All one has to do is look at the price of gold, silver, and platinum.  Those may be the most popular investment minerals for the general public, but people who know minerals invest in them for capital appreciation as well as their beauty. 

Rare and amazing minerals are on display at the Museum and for those lay people, wandering around the Gem and Mineral show, with eyes open, will provide a brief on the multitudes of minerals, their colors, facets, and pricing. 

A trip to the Mineral Museum on the UofA campus may be in order after touring the show, as well as spending time at the Main Show February 11 – 14 at the Tucson Convention Center. The theme is “Gems and Minerals”., verry appropriate!

of A Mineral Museum:

Tucson Gem and Mineral Society:  

Tucson Hosts World’s Largest Gem and Mineral Show…

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

More than 100,000 people who sell or trade gems and minerals have begun descending upon Tucson for the world’s largest Gem and Mineral show. 

With more than 6,000 dealers spread throughout the city, Tucson will become a mecca for the international world to examine specimens, gemstones, and jewelry.  It has been called “the swap meet to millionaires and billionaires, those connoisseurs of minerals” by Mark Candee, curatorial specialist at the  University of Arizona Mineral Museum.

There will be 44 shows ongoing in Tucson motels and hotels, and tents are now going up to house the huge shows such as the shows off of I-10 on the Frontage Road, the Tucson Electric Park show, and the show off of Palo Verde called the Holodome. 

This show began 56 years ago in a Quonset hut at the Rodeo Fairgrounds and has grown to become vast contributor to Tucson’s economy,  bringing  more than 150 million into local  business coffers.  “It is our Christmas” said Candee. 

The original show with 10 to 12 dealers was put on by a volunteer organization to showcase mining and minerals from the Bisbee-Tombstone area.  Since then, internationally renown museums and private collectors vie for the privilege of being represented at the “Main Show” , held at the Tucson Convention Center downtown, February 11 through 14.

 Many shows are “wholesale only” and appropriate documentation must be shown including tax exempt status information.  Gemologists and jewelers from throughout six continents converge on these shows to purchase millions of dollars in gems and minerals for their respective companies, such as Tiffany’s.

But the general public can attend many shows – and if a person began the first day and tried to see every show within the three week period, looking ten hours a day, that person would not see everything!  Tailgate shows spring up throughout the city, and locals feel that electrical excitement when gem show comes to town, 

Shuttle services are avaialbe throughout town transporting people from one show to another which helps with traffic movement.  The Tucson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau can answer many questions about the Gem Show.  Googling “Tucson Gem and Mineral Show” brings up a myriad of websites.

Perhaps the highest compliement paid is that Munich Show in Germany, which is Europe’s largest show, strives to be known as “The Tucson Show of Europe”.


The Official Guide to the Main Show :

The Tucson Show Guide:

The Pueblo Show:

JOGS Show:

Gem and Mineral Show You Tube Videos: