7. San Ysidro Festival
There are demonstrations of traditional farming practices:
I even had the chance to get my hands dirty and collect some wheat straws:
6. Tucson Rodeo
Tucson Rodeo is a celebration of cowboys. Professional and junior cowboys and cowgirls try to ride a bucking horse or bull. They just need to stay on the horse for eight seconds, although sometimes they would fall off miserably.
Tucson Rodeo Parade happens once a year during the Rodeo week. It is the largest non-motorized parade in the country, where most floats are drawn by horses.
5. Tucson Festival of Books
Tucson Festival of Books is a community-wide celebration of literature. As the name suggests, the festival is mainly about books. There are rows and rows of publisher's booths where you can purchase books. I rarely read books, so they are irrelevant to me.
Television is an important form of media, and is part of "literature". I joined a tour of Arizona Public Media to learn how a TV station operates:
I also met Alexa Liacko, one of my favorite TV reporters:
My favorite section is Science City, which allows the public to explore UA’s science-rich campus and experience the exciting worlds of science and technology. I got to see how a volcano erupts, and a live gila monster presented by the Desert Museum:
4. Winterhaven Festival of Lights
Winterhaven Festival of Lights is Tucson's holiday tradition. Homeowners in the Winterhaven neighbor decorates their front yards with thousands of lights, as a gift to all.
One homeowner even performed live:
My favorite yard is the music fountain:
3. Cyclovia Tucson
Cyclovia Tucson is when they temporarily close the streets to motor vehicles, so people can bike, walk, and play in the streets.
Cyclovia is not a bike race. Although most people participate in Cyclovia Tucson on two wheels, I once walked half of the route when the route was right in front of my apartment.
There is usually a zipline, which people would wait for an hour in exchange for 15 seconds of awesomeness:
Another usual activity is a rock climbing wall, which I attempted three times but couldn't get past 90%:
Cyclovia has an activity map, which typically includes street games and information booths. I tasted a piece of sausage cooked in solar oven:
The garden hose is never published in the activity map, but usually appears somewhere along the route to you can cool off from the Tucson heat:
2. 2nd Saturdays Downtown
2nd Saturdays Downtown is a monthly outdoor entertainment event happening in downtown Tucson. Each month, there are three musicians or bands playing on the main stage.
I never liked the guitar, so I usually wander off to see the sideshows elsewhere on the streets. My favorite was the two boys playing music with pots and buckets, who received my donation twice:
Food is an important part of 2nd Saturdays experiences. There are dozens of food trucks and food booths to choose from, and you can watch closely how your food was made:
2nd Saturdays occur more often than other festivals, and the attendance highly depends on weather. Some months, there could be hundreds of Tucsonans in front of the main stage, and I could play a little prank with those people. Other times, when the wind picks up and thunder is roaring, the seats would be almost empty, and the vendor who paid $175 for an opportunity to sell you a sandwich would be crying.
1. Tucson Meet Yourself
Tucson Meet Yourself is a "folklife" festival. In this 3-day festival, I have the chance to learn the culture, arts, and living traditions of various ethnic communities represented in southern Arizona, through the demonstrations, exhibits, and performances by people from those communities.
Performers are singing, dancing, and playing instruments:
Indigenous artists are showing their artwork:
Most importantly, Tucson Meet Yourself is nicknamed Tucson Eat Yourself, and there are lots of food!
Sometimes your food purchase comes with a performance, too:
Celebrate Every Day
When I am not at a festival but still want some celebration, I would look up National Day Calendar. With nearly 1500 national days, national weeks, national months to choose from, I would never run out of excuses for celebrations. I cut up old credit cards on national buy nothing day, drank Eegee's on national piña colada day, flossed my teeth with a Waterpik (paid link) on national fresh breath day, and took a selfie in my #GrinAndBearDown shirt on national selfie day.
Festivals made my life more colorful and helped my survive the otherwise boring grad school.