Posts Tagged ‘festival’

Tucson’s Winterhaven Festival of Lights

December 9th, 2016 by samhughesinn

Tucson’s Winterhaven Festival of Lights 

Christmas Lights

Light Festival

Tucson’s Winterhaven Festival of Lights, one of the brightest “no pun intended” events of the holiday season, has been a Tucson tradition for 67 years. A small Tucson community in the middle of town has sponsored this must-see event in which the many hundreds of residents of Winterhaven, both religious and nonsectarian, spend months decorating their homes and properties with an array of colorful lights. Some of them are simple lights in trees or around doors but most of them are intricately designed to tell a story. Some are wildly animated with moving Santa Claus figures flying across roofs in a sleigh with reindeer and Rudolph in the lead. Others are more devotional showing the religious significance of Christmas. But even non-Christian families join the decorating bonanza with illuminated Stars of David or Menorahs. Hanukkah begins on December 24 this year so the two holidays intersect.

Tucson’s Winterhaven Festival of Lights begins this year on December 10 and ends the day after Christmas. It is a not to be missed holiday tradition which many Tucson residents, as well as tourists visit and re-visit year after year. Traffic is intense. Walk-through days, complete with horse-drawn hay wagons, are interspersed with drive-through days and, no surprise, parking can be difficult. The police work extra hours to keep things moving and everyone in good spirits.Those of us in the know, often wait until the day following the day after Christmas to drive through. Officially the festival will be over but the community, having spent countless hours & sometimes months, is reluctant to turn the lights off so you can still get a pretty good idea of how wonderful it is without a crowd.

800px-glowing_christmas_tree_lights_in_the_winter_night

However, this “is” a fund-raising event and although it’s free, a donation of money or food is turned over to the community food bank. So if you go, be a good sport and bring a can of something to donate, or a little cash, whichever you prefer. Last year festival attendees donated almost $24,000 and more than 42,000 pounds of food.That’s a lot of Christmas spirit. The most needed items are Cereal, canned soup, canned meat, canned tomato products, canned vegetables, canned fruit and cold cash.

This year could be the festival’s last. It costs a great deal of money to put this event on, even though the homeowners do all the decorating. Organizing, traffic control, police protection and insurance against accidents all have to be taken care of. The traditional sponsor for this event is bowing out of the deal this year so they are looking for a new source of funding. Donate here to Winterhaven Festival of Lights. Help to find a new sponsor.65th_annual_winterhaven_festival_of_lights_2

Tucson Festival of Films

September 1st, 2015 by samhughesinn

Tucson Festival of TilmA new player in the crowded field of local film festivals will be the Tucson Festival of Films, (sponsored by Cox Communications) to be held in the Temple of Music & Art,the grandly

Arizona Theater Company

Temple of Music & Art

named 1920‘s era performing arts theater which also houses the Arizona Theater Company at 330 S. Scott Avenue. From October 8 – 10, films chosen from eight of the longest-running Tucson film festivals will be shown.

A selection of film shorts, plus musical & filmmaker guests will also be announced soon. But for now the lineup of films include the following (according to the Arizona Daily Star):

Sounds of Tucson, Presented by Tucson Festival of Films & Tucson Film & Music Festival, this is a 63 minute documentary describing the “mix of South American music & American Rock” which has been attracting musicians to Tucson for many years.

Güeros, (presented by Tucson Festival of Films & Tucson Cine México) is a comedy which won five Ariel awards in Mexico plus Best First Feature at the Berlin Film Festival. The is described as a “cool, retro, black and white portrait of Mexico City” and of three young men trying to find their purpose and futures in a city of many millions of people.

The 40th anniversary screening of Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore will be presented by Tucson Festival of Films & Loft Film Fest. It was filmed here in Tucson and southern Arizona so long time residents will recognize the shopping center, Monterey Village, the Chicago Music Store and the now closed Longhorn Bar & Grill in Amado.This 1974 hit movie stars some still familiar faces – Ellen Burstyn, Kris Kristofferson, Harvey Keitel, Diane Ladd & Jodie Foster.

Death In The Desert, presented by Tucson Festival and Arizona underground Film Festival, is based on the life story of Ted Binion, the heir to the Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas, the original home of the World Series of Poker.His colorful career included drugs & connections to the mob and ultimately ended tragically.

Landmine Goes Click is presented in cooperation with The Tucson Terrorfest. Described as the Arizona premiere of a film about 3 American tourists backpacking through European Georgia. Time to bring out the garlic and a big cross I think.

Maína, from the Festival of Film along with Native Eyes Film Showcase, has won 3 American Indian Film Festival awards and concerns two early civilizations in America.

Dropkick by Tucson Festival and Arizona international Film Festival, is a comedy about a group of women rugby players and was shown in Tucson at the last Arizona International Film Festival. It features local actors and locations.

Tucson is a film friendly town all year and not just in the summer when the AC is turned on high. Watch the website for times and dates of each of these unusual film offerings in October.

Craft Beer Microbreweries

February 13th, 2015 by samhughesinn

beer

Craft Beer

The first ever, Tucson Craft Beer Crawl, will be held Saturday, February 21, 12 Noon to 4:00 PM and will include 7 Craft Beer Microbreweries representing a number of local craft beers.

There has been an explosion of sorts in microbreweries in Tucson in the past few years and this event will cap Arizona Beer Week (Feb. 12-21).

Tickets can be purchased online for $38 or at the door for $45 and attendees will receive a wristband, a map of participating breweries, and a 5 ounce sampling glass. The goal is to connect beer lovers with local pubs and craft beers unique to Arizona and Tucson.

Per Wikipedia the term “craft beer” is typically applied to breweries that are much smaller than large-scale corporate breweries and are independently owned. Such breweries are generally characterized by their emphasis on quality, flavor and brewing technique Tucson’s participating breweries include Ten 55 Brewing, Borderlands Brewing, Pueblo Vida Brewing, SanTan Brewing, Dragon Brewing Co, Thunder Canyon Brewery, Grand Canyon Brewing Co., Barrio Brewing, Sonoran Brewing Co., Old Bisbee Brewing Co., Huss Brewing, Iron John’s Brew Co, and O.H.S.O. Each company will bring its best brews to sample at Hotel Congress, Thunder Canyon Brewery, R Bar, Pueblo Vida, Playground, Borderlands Brewery and Tap & Bottle.

The hope is that people will develop a sense of community in the new downtown neighborhood while enjoying a moving party. Some of the proceeds will be donated to Watershed Management Group, an organization offering “adaptive & collaborative approach to developing sustainable solutions for the water and environmental issues in Tucson” (Zócalo Magazine, February, 2015).

The afternoon timing will insure that the beer crawl becomes a real community event with people coming together to discover downtown and hopefully bring their friends to enjoy some of the local pubs as well. Coincidentally a bill will be introduced in the upcoming Arizona legislative session to allow microbreweries to keep restaurants and pubs as they grow.

The current law says breweries producing less than 40,000 barrels a year are “microbreweries.” Once they top that number, they become “producers.” As a microbrewery they are allowed some self-distribution rights and the operation of restaurants and pubs and some of these smaller places would like to expand. The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild says the law is not clear regarding off-site restaurants and pubs when a brewer tops 40,000 barrels. Tucson brewers currently have on site restaurant/pub arrangements but could be affected by this law in the future. Arizona Beer Week happens every February from Flagstaff to Tucson and is a celebration of craft beer throughout the state.The Great Tucson Beer Festival is tentatively scheduled October 31, 2015.

Tucson Festival of Books

February 8th, 2015 by samhughesinn

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.

Arizona Wine Vineyards

January 20th, 2015 by samhughesinn

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.

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