Tucson Festival of Books

Book Festival logo

Tucson Festival of Books

The Tucson Festival of Books began just 6 years ago when 350 authors presented 300 programs to 50,000 attendees after two years of planning and with high hopes for the future. By 2014 this event, spread across the University of Arizona Mall and hosted hundreds of authors, numerous tent and vendor offerings, hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors, side events for children and family members and attracted an audience of some 130,000 visitors in two days. Even larger attendance is expected in 2015.

Since its humble beginnings in 2009, the festival has contributed more than $1,000,000 to local literacy programs. This year’s Tucson Festival of Books, March 14 & 15, 2015 will again present over 350 authors, many of them famous,and each one of them will take part in special workshops or conversations, sometimes alone or in tandem with another author or as part of a panel discussion. These conversations or presentations draw overflow audience attendance in many rooms and auditoriums throughout the university campus. The authors include writers of fiction & non fiction, science, art, history, biography, romance, mystery, fantasy, science fiction,cooking, philosophy,self help, medicine and every other genre you can imagine for every age group. There will be 5 different science “neighborhoods” to engage children as well as adults and will include renowned science authors & researchers.The festival offers programming for children and teens, panels by best-selling and emerging authors, a literary circus, culturally diverse programs, a poetry venue, exhibitor booths, several food courts, book signing by your favorite authors and, of course, thousands of books to discover and buy.

Vendor tents & crowd

Tucson Festival of Books

Approximately 40 different entertainment groups will also take part in the Festival of Books. This year the highlight will be a rock group called The Rock Bottom Remainders. This year’s best selling authors/musicians will be Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Dave Barry, Scott Turow, Ridley Pearson, Greg Iles, Alan Zweibel and Sam Barry who will kick off the event on Friday night, March 13. The group’s name is based on the booksellers’ term for books that languish on the shelves so long they have to be dumped at a discount.

A few “professional” musicians will complete the group. The performance will be held the evening of March 13 in the University of Arizona Student Memorial Union from 8-9:30 PM.. Tickets are available online and going fast.

A wide variety of other events are planned including a panel discussion on the impact of concussions and traumatic brain injury.The panel will include  brothers Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, the co-authors of “League of Denial,” the New York Times best-seller on the NFL’s efforts to cover up the link between football and brain damage. A sport’s analyst and a number of former NFL players will round out the panel.

Gail Sheehy of “Passages” fame, is among a team of journalists and social and political commentators participating in the Tucson Festival of Books, Also on board are Pulitzer Prize winner, James Risen, an investigative reporter for the New York Times, linguist and author Noam Chomsky, who has written more than 100 books, Pulitzer winner, Dan Fagin, author of “Toms River”, (exploring the high number of childhood cancers in a New Jersey town), Oscar Martinez, author of “The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail,”  and Philip Caputo, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune for 9 years, author of the 2009 novel, “Crossers”, set on the Mexico-Arizona border.

A host of other authors, famous as well as up and coming, will present more events than a person attending both days would be able to take in. Check the website for the Tucson Festival of Books, for a Bookmarked Events tool which allows a viewer to choose events and print a personal schedule so that you won’t miss the people you most want to see.

Books, Books & More Books

Books, Books & More Books

The Festival is only a fifteen minute stroll from Sam Hughes Inn Bed & Breakfast. You can park on site and walk to everything.

Major sponsors of the festival include the University of Arizona, The Arizona Daily Star newspaper, the University of Arizona Medical Center, Friend of the Festival donations, Cox Communications and other organizations and primary individual donors.

Mini Time Museum of Miniatures

Catherine wearing diamond

Catherine the Great
with Orlov

The Mini Time Museum of Miniatures in Tucson, presents a special exhibit of replica diamonds displayed on miniature historical figures representing their original owners. The exhibit (beginning January 27, 2015 through April 19, 2015) features the work of two famous artists. The replica diamonds were created by Scott Sucher of Tijeras, New Mexico and the historic figures were designed by artist, George S. Stuart of Ojai, CA.

The exhibit, called Diamonds Are Forever (The Incredible Journeys of World-Famous Diamonds & the People Who Owned Them), comes to the Tucson Mini Time Museum of Miniatures courtesy of the Museum of Ventura County California, which developed and produced it. This exhibit tells the story of famous diamonds and their famous owners. Their stories are told with 18 quarter-life-size historical figures and 10 replica diamonds.

George Stuart has created more than 400 historic figures, famous and infamous, in incredible life like miniature sculptures. He also describes them in regular monologues presented near his home in Ventura, CA.

Scott Sucher, through exhaustive research, creates world famous, historically accurate diamond replicas for museums and educational purposes.

Louis XIV with diamond

Louis XIV – French Blue diamond tie tack

According to the Mini Time Museum of Miniatures website, the exhibit includes figures of Catherine the Great, Louis XIV, Napoleon and the Shah Jahan. The historic diamond replicas feature the Hope, the French Blue, Regent, Beau Sancy, the Koh-i-Noor, the Orlov and the Mirror of Portugal. Many of these jewels were incorporated into crowns, scepters, pendants & hair ornaments and were usually in the hands of royalty. However, over time, some have been lost, stolen or broken up and re-cut. Diamond connoisseurs will be familiar with all or most of these stones and will find the exhibit fascinating. Gem Show visitors will want to add this exhibit to their schedules during February for a great change of pace from shopping or selling.

The Mini Time Museum of Miniatures regular collection features over 275 miniature houses and box rooms in three main areas: the Enchanted Realm, History Gallery and Exploring the World. This is not just a destination for children; in fact many exhibits are better understood and appreciated by adults. You will never be too old to enjoy this wonderful museum. Many fine artists are represented and their work is perfection in every tiny detail, from real silverware & china in table settings to fine furniture, carpeting and paintings hanging on the small dollhouse walls. Many periods of history are replicated in the various houses and boxes, along with fantasy representations of fairy tales. You’ll find old and contemporary houses, houses from other countries, an airplane café, stores, western scenes, castles and re-creations of existing or formerly existing buildings. You’ll wish you could touch these tiny treasures but they are protected from harm yet beautifully displayed and lighted so that every small marvel can be easily observed.There are docent led and self guided tours to the Mini Time Museum of Miniatures and you will want to come back many times to revisit the permanent collection as well as to take advantage of the special temporary exhibits like Diamonds Are Forever.

The museum, although now in its sixth year of operation, still remains a hidden treasure, a Tucson Special Attraction. You’ll find the museum at 4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive in Tucson, about 20 minutes drive from downtown. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 9 AM – 4 PM. Sunday, Noon – 4 PM. Closed on Mondays and major holidays.

Historic figure photos and artist photos courtesy of Museum of Ventura County.

Scott Sucher

Scott Sucher

George Stuart

George Stuart

 

Arizona Wine Vineyards

Arizona Wine Vineyards

Most  Arizona wine vineyards are located south of Tucson in the Elgin/Sonoita area and a few have tasting rooms located within the city. Although the first wine vineyards were planted by Jesuits in the 16th century, it wasn’t until the end of Prohibition in 1933 that serious grape planting began. It would prove to be a slow start in Arizona since many vineyards have come into being only in the past ten years. But these wineries have every reason to be proud of their products.

Wine Prohibition

Prohibition Begins
1920

People generally associate good wine with California and the west coast but Arizona’s soil, climate and elevation are uniquely suited to certain types of grape growing and more than 50 Arizona wine vineyards are well known producers of fine vintages. The following vineyards represent just a few of the grape growers you might like to visit in Arizona. (Check individual websites for the best time to visit).

Charron Vineyards (pictured above) has been owned and operated by Milton & Susan Craig since 2009. One of southern Arizona’s oldest vineyards, it planted its first Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines in 1994 and has produced several award winning vintages. In 2000, its White Merlot won the Governor’s Award and has sold out every year since then. They offer 14 unique wines in their tasting room, open Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM.. Charron is located less than 30 minutes from downtown Tucson between Vail and Sonoita. From Interstate 10 take Exit 281 to Hwy 83  (approx 25 miles East of Tucson).  Signposted Sonoita & Patagonia, the Charron Vineyards Attraction sign is at mile marker 53.

Sonoita AVA area

Sonoita Elgin Area Map

Family owned Callaghan Vineyards was established in 1990 in Sonoita, AZ. Le Monde, the Parisian newspaper, listed Callahan as one of the six most interesting wineries in the US. Dubbed an Arizona Treasure by former Governor Brewer, Kent Callahan has won numerous awards for his wines which were also served at President Clinton’s last state dinner in 2000, and at Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement dinner in 2006.

The Sonoita AVA (American Viticultural Area) is one of the first wine-growing regions in the United States to be granted AVA status, and the area is currently the only federally recognized wine growing region in the state of Arizona. USA Today listed the Elgin/Sonoita area as one of the top ten wine trails in the US.

Sonoita Vineyards is the oldest commercial vineyard and winery in AZ. It opened in 1983 and incorporates 30 acres of vines. Festivals here include the Blessing of Sonoita Vineyards, April 25 & 26, 2015 – with tastings, pairings, & tours of the vineyard.The Harvest Fest, July 25 & 26, 2015, features wine stomping competitions and horse drawn vineyard tours.

The Village of Elgin Winery claims to be the largest producer of wine in the Sonoita AVA. Also family owned, this winery produces in the traditional manner, aged in European wood. Visit the vineyard and beautiful grounds, tour the bottling process, and see the on-site chapel, La Capilla de Santa Maria. The Harvesting of the Vine Festival is scheduled September 19 and 20, 2015. Tickets include admission, wine glass, food, music and arts & crafts.

Dos Cabezas Wineworks has been producing wines in Arizona since 1995. Famed Arizona winemaker, Kent Callahan, (see Callahan’s Vineyard above) was the original winemaker for Dos Cabazas. The winery was moved to Sonoita close to the current family owners’ Pronghorn Vineyard in Elgin in 2003.They are exceptionally proud of the wine produced here and invite you to visit their tasting room year round. The fee includes a souvenir wine glass.Locally the wine is available at AJ’s Fine Foods and Whole Foods in Tucson.

Wine Tasting Rooms:

Wine tasting

Wine Tasting

And for those less inclined to drive longer distances, you can sample Arizona Wine Vineyard products in these three Tucson wine tasting rooms. For twenty years Bear Track Winery has provided wines they make themselves from freshly harvested grapes to produce full bodied wines unique to the Sonoran Desert. You’ll find them in the Catalina Foothills at 4743 E. Sunrise Drive. Open Tuesday through Friday 5-9 PM. Phone 520-975-0050 for information.

Flying Leap Vineyards, with two vineyards in Elgin, operates one of its four tasting rooms in Tucson at St. Philip’s Plaza, 4330 N. Campbell, Suite 48. Hours vary according to the day but they serve Saturdays from 9 AM to 8PM. Call for details 520-299-VINE. Their award winning wines are sold in specialty stores and at major wine retailers.

Sierra Bonita Vineyards is named for its location near the historic Sierra Bonita Ranch established in 1872. A more recent addition to fine southern Arizona wine making, Sierra Bonita released its first wines in 2011, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Syrah.They describe themselves as an eco-friendly vineyard. Their tasting room is at 6720 E. Camino Principal, Suite 101. Hours are Thursday – Saturday, 4-8 PM. Saturday & Sunday, 12PM to 6PM. Phone 520-296-0674

Wine barrels

Aged in Oak

And if you’re visiting Sam Hughes Inn, most of these vineyards are located only an hour or so by car from Tucson.Put wineries on your to-do list while searching for interesting attractions. Soak up the atmosphere at one or more of these vineyards while touring southern Arizona, Raise a glass and toast the great weather, the beautiful scenery and sample an award winning variety of locally crafted wines.

Nandi – Reid Park Zoo Baby Elephant

Nandi at 2 months

Nandi at 2 months

Reid Park Zoo & Baby Elephant Nandi

Reid Park zoo and its star attraction, the baby elephant, Nandi, are set to break attendance records in 2014. This was the first elephant birth for the zoo and has captured the attention of countless fans.

Nestled in the middle of bustling mid-town Tucson, the zoo has always been a tiny marvel. Once inside visitors forget that they are in the middle of a heavily populated city surrounded by highways and traffic. Its clever design makes a jungle-like oasis only about five minutes from the University of Arizona and a few minutes more to downtown Tucson. This year people waited anxiously knowing that a pregnant elephant was about to give birth. Nandi was born on August 20th but kept in a quiet area with her mother, Semba. Even a royal birth might not have been so closely watched as zoo staff kept a vigil 24 hours a day, until she was born. At night interns stayed up observing with night vision goggles for any signs of labor.

Weighing in at 245 lbs she seemed like a toy animal next to her mother who tipped the scales at more than 7,000 lbs. They were kept in seclusion for a month until the baby was healthy enough to be allowed in the viewing area. In December she weighed more than 500 lbs but still looks tiny next to the three adults and one 3 year old in the herd. All the elephants were rescued from Swaziland and came to Tucson via the San Diego Zoo after new construction greatly increased the size of the elephant enclosure. Her dad is Mabu and he weighs more than 8 tons. We’re not sure how they weigh elephants but we’ll take their word for it. The zoo opens at 9 am during the cool months and Nandi is usually on display until about 11:30 am. You won’t want to miss Nandi when you visit Tucson; it’s going to take her quite a few years to be as big as her parents, the three year old, and the other giant males.

Nandi's Extended Family

Nandi’s Family

Mom - Semba

Mom – Semba

The zoo’s small size makes it an ideal place to spend a few hours being amazed at the diversity of the animal world.

There are many other reasons to visit this gem of a zoo, which has a wide range of animals and birds big and small, including Herbie, the giant turtle (500 lbs. who could be as old as 100 years but he’s not talking.)

Herbie (photographer Jeff Whitlock

Herbie –  [photography, Jeff Whitlock, www.theonlinezoo.com]

Ample parking surrounds the zoo, just 2.5 miles from Sam Hughes Inn and next to the Randolph Park Golf Course, Tennis courts and directly opposite Edith Ball Adaptive pools (swimming & therapy pools heated and open year round) with UV protected circus tent style roof. You can bring a picnic lunch and eat in the park near a large man made lake with fountain and the usual visiting duck population.

 

Jacob Alsadek – Arizona Football Team Giant

Big University of Arizona Football Player

Jacob helps celebrate birthday

Jacob with small admirers

Jacob Alsadek, a very big Freshman University of Arizona football player, is working hard to make a name for himself. The University of Arizona Bear Down Football Stadium is only a few hundred yards away from Sam Hughes Inn. It is barely a five minute walk but a giant leap for Jacob Alsadek. Now known as #78 Jacob was very excited to become a part of the team that practices and wins there. Jacob was recruited from Torrey Pines High School near San Diego. His uncle, Marcus Nebling, a University of Arizona visiting professor (working with Optical Sciences), has stayed at Sam Hughes Inn Bed & Breakfast several times. On one of his visits Marcus introduced Jacob to the other inn guests.

A gentle giant, as well as an excellent student, Jacob is, so-far, the biggest fellow on the team at 6’7” tall and a few pounds over 340 lbs. But size isn’t everything; and he’s learning that experience plus the help of his teammates means a lot to him.

In interviews Jacob admitted he had never played football before his freshman year at Torrey Pines High School in 2009.  Already the biggest fellow in his class he quickly fell in love with the game and while in high school he was named one of the top 300 high-school athletes in the country. He helped his team win the Surf Cup; and he was named a Union Tribune Scholar-Athlete (maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better).

According to the Del Mar Times, Jacob thought he was strong in high school but when he arrived at Arizona, he realized that everyone was just as strong & big. In high school he didn’t have to work as hard but since arriving in Tucson he’s had to pay much closer attention to his game.

Jacob missed a few games because of a foot injury early in the season but played in the game that clinched the PAC 12 South Championship for the University of Arizona. He was also on the roster for a short time for the team’s final humiliation, when they lost the overall Pac 12 championship game. However he remains upbeat and hopeful that the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, AZ, December 31, 2014 will give his team the ego boost it needs.

With Jacob on board University of Arizona Sports will continue to draw faithful fans for more years to come. (In the picture on top, Jacob Alsadek is helping out at a birthday party for a smaller relative).

Jacob in U of A Stadium

Jacob in U of A Stadium

Jacob Alsadek

Jacob Alsadek, #78

 

Atanacia Hughes – Arizona Pioneer

 Atanacia Hughes, early Tucson history

Wife of Sam Hughes

Atanacia Santa Cruz Hughes

Last month’s blog featured Sam Hughes, an original Tucson, AZ pioneer settler. This month we feature his wife, Atanacia Hughes – originally Atanacia Santa Cruz. Her family lived in Tucson when it was still part of Mexico. At the time of her birth in 1850 the area now known as the Presidio historic neighborhood, was a military garrison housing approximately 300 people. Indian raids were not uncommon in those days.

There were no schools or churches at that time so young women learned to sew, and keep house, but not much else. Atanacia Hughes’ parents died when she was very young and she lived with her sister. In 1862 at the age of 11 years & 7 months, Atanacia married the 29 year old Sam Hughes. The huge age difference was not a problem legally or for them and the marriage endured for 55 years until Sam’s death.

According to Hughes family members who stayed at Sam Hughes Inn Bed & Breakfast for a reunion years ago, at the time of their marriage, Atanacia Hughes didn’t speak English and Sam didn’t speak Spanish. During their long marriage she is reported to have given birth to fifteen children, eight of whom survived. Twelve of these children lived long enough to have been given names.

Atanacia Hughes died on November 12, 1934 and is buried in Holy Hope Cemetery in Tucson.

The Sam Hughes family home is still located at 223 N. Main St. at Washington Street, close to the Tucson Museum of Art. Its exterior is exactly as it was when the Hughes family lived in it although the insides are now apartments.

If you take the walking tour of Tucson, pick up a walking map called “The Turquoise Trail” at the Visitors Center at 100 S. Church Street. The Sam Hughes house is listed on the tour although there is no sign in front of the property.

Sam Hughes Inn Bed & Breakfast was named for Sam Hughes (the pioneer settler) and the historic neighborhood it resides in. Visitors here can find information about the life of Sam & Atanacia Hughes as well as photographs of them. Just as the University of Arizona is an easy walk from Sam Hughes, the Arizona Historical Society is also a short distance away and contains many artifacts from the Hughes life in Tucson.

Who is Sam Hughes?

Who is Sam Hughes - Samuel C. Hughes

Samuel C. Hughes
August 28, 1829 – June 20, 1917

People occasionally ask about our Inn’s name, wondering: “Who is Sam Hughes?”

Well, Sam Hughes immigrated to the US from Wales in 1837, at the tender age of 8 years old, with his parents and 8 brothers and sisters.

Not long after settling in Pennsylvania, illness struck the family and rendered the nine Hughes children orphans. Sam Hughes was instrumental in caring for and seeing to the education of his siblings, even though he was still but a child and never attended a single day of formal school, himself.

Sam made his way to California for the Gold Rush in 1850 to seek his fortune – but fortune had a different idea and Sam Hughes contracted tuberculosis, a diagnosis that forced him to leave for drier, warmer country: the Arizona Territory.

The stagecoach trip almost killed him (this was 22 years before the arrival of the railroad!) and he arrived in Tucson more dead than alive – but not for long. After a few months recovery, Sam Hughes opened a butcher shop whose success was only checked by the Civil War.

The Confederates offered Union supporting Arizona residents the option of leaving town or being shot – Sam Hughes, ever practical, chose the former as the best option and returned to California until the close of the war.

Returning to Tucson after the war, Sam Hughes continued his butcher business, taking a partner, a wife, and numerous government contracts. He expanded his business into general merchandise, cattle ranching, and mining, forming Hughes, Stevens and Company.

Sam Hughes helped to incorporate the City of Tucson but refused the post of mayor, serving the city council as an alderman, instead. He later served as Pima County sheriff and county treasurer, and was appointed Arizona Territory’s adjutant-general.

One of Tucson’s wealthiest residents and an organizer for Tucson’s first bank, Sam Hughes was known as “Uncle Sam” for his philanthropy, donating land and money for churches and schools as well as to the poor. More famously, Sam Hughes was instrumental in establishing public education in the Territory, calling its success “the pride of my life.”

Sam Hughes died June 20, 1917 in Tucson. 11 years later, a new elementary school in one of Tucson’s first subdivisions was named after him and now you can find his name here and there all around the area, including our inn!

And now you know!

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