Spring Training Soccer. Tucson has scored a goal with soccer fans by securing a professional “futbol” tournament for next year. The 2012 FC Tucson Desert Cup will host at least four Major League Soccer teams at Kino Stadium, February 22, 25, 29, and March 3 – just before the regular season starts in March. FC Tucson Soccer, Tucson’s semi-professional team, says this event is a model for pre-season training and competition that is expected to draw thousands of fans from the United States and Mexico. Details will be announced soon and posted on kinosportscomplex.com and fctucson.com. For immediate assistance, call 520-434-1339.
Real Cowboy Games. The 87th Annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros–Tucson Rodeo and Parade, February 18-19 and February 23-26, 2012 is an exciting way to spend time outdoors with family and friends. Arizona's celebration of the cowboy includes six professional rodeo events as well as the Coors Barn Dance, Rodeo Slack Competition, Dodge Mutton Bustin’ and the Justin Junior Rodeo, and the Tucson Rodeo Parade (Feb. 23). Tickets go on sale November 1. For ticket options and special rates, call 1-800-964-5662 or go to TucsonRodeo.com. Purchase tickets at Tucson Rodeo Grounds, 4823 S. Sixth Ave., Tucson, AZ 85714.
Cutting-Edge Science. Learn about the next steps planned for space exploration at “Mars and Beyond: Search for Life on Other Planets,” opening October 22 at Science Downtown, Tucson’s newest exhibit space. Science Downtown, located in the Rialto Block Exhibit Hall, will showcase colorful science-based programs that draw on the extensive trove of museum-quality content available at the University of Arizona’s College of Science – a significant contributor to our nation’s space program and internationally recognized in 15 academic departments and research units. Learn more at sciencedowntown.org or 520-622-8595.
Centennial Steam Engine. The Union Pacific Railroad’s Steam Locomotive #844 will make a rare tour of Arizona and New Mexico in November. Built in 1944, Old #844 will travel along the Sunset Route railroad corridor in celebration of Arizona and New Mexico’s 2012 statehood centennials. This living legend is the only steam locomotive in continuous service on a North American railroad; it will enter Arizona in Willcox and make whistle stops in Benson and Vail (Nov. 10) before landing in Tucson for a display day (Nov. 11) and finally departing from Tucson’s Historic Train Depot at 9 a.m. (Nov. 12). View the Arizona schedule here.
Fall Open Studio Tour. Visual artists in Metro Tucson will open their studios and galleries for show and tell during the Fall Open Studio Tour, November 12-13. To help visitors navigate the 217 artists and studios, a new website directory includes maps with locations, contact information, and images. A SmartPhone application will be posted on azstarnet.com prior to the event. Items from the exhibition can be previewed at the Jewish Community Center, in Tucson, October 27-November 9. For more details about this free self-guided tour, call 520-624-0595 or visit tucsonpimaartscouncil.org.
Southwest Christmas. Glowing luminarias announce the holidays in Tucson at displays all around town: Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul Park, Nov. 25-26, Dec. 2-3; Luminaria Nights-Tubac Village, Dec. 2-3; Luminaria Nights at Tucson Botanical Gardens, Dec. 2-4; Lighting of the Luminarias at Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, Dec. 9; and Luminaria Festival at Tucson Presidio, Dec 17. El Nacimiento, the traditional Mexican nativity scene at Tucson Museum of Art, twinkles with hundreds of miniature figurines, Nov. 20-March 18. A Las Posadas procession of schoolchildren takes place during La Fiesta de Guadalupe at DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, Dec. 11. And Mexico’s traditional holiday food is the focus of the annual Tucson Tamal & Heritage Festival, Dec. 3, at Sol Casinos/AVA Amphitheater.
The Wonders of Wildlife. Three African Lion cubs born last summer at Tucson’s Reid Park Zoo are growing by leaps and bounds. The cubs are receiving excellent care at the zoo due to its commitment to promoting responsible breeding matches and animal placements. Last month, a 10-year-old female Malayan Tiger arrived from the Bronx Zoo as part of a national plan to protect and conserve this highly endangered species; it is hoped she and the zoo’s male tiger will produce offspring. Reid Park Zoo’s seven-acre expansion, the Expedition Tanzania elephant habitat, is on track for completion by early January 2012. Reid Park Zoo hosts 500,000 visitors a year. For more information, visit tucsonzoo.org or call 520-791-4022.
Restaurant Hall of Famer. Chef Albert Hall recently was inducted into the Arizona Restaurant Association's Hall of Fame in recognition of 35 years of culinary and civic contributions to the restaurant industry and to the metro Tucson community. Chef Hall currently serves both as a trustee for the Chef’s Association of Southern Arizona and on the executive board of directors for the Arizona Restaurant Association. He and his wife Lila Yamashiro manage the Tohono Chul Park Tea Room and also own Acacia restaurant at Gallery Row. (acaciatucson.com, tohonochulpark.org)
Best in the West Hotel. The Arizona Inn has made Sunset magazine’s 25 Best Hotels in the West list for 2011. Located in a quiet residential area near the University of Arizona, Tucson’s “grand dame” of hotels was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. The hotel “has managed to hold onto its historic Spanish colonial soul without becoming outdated–even the handmade furniture is lovingly restored by an on-site craftsman,” notes the 113-year-old magazine. Check out this elegant Old World-style inn at arizonainn.com, or call 1-800-933-1093.
Fresh Farmers’ Markets. Tucson Farmers’ Markets has opened a branch at Maynards Market & Kitchen. The new Farmers Market at Maynards is open on Saturday mornings in the Historic Train Depot plaza on downtown Tucson's east end (520-545-0577, maynardsmarket.com). On the far west side of downtown, the Community Food Bank’s award-winning Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market last summer relocated to the budding public market Mercado San Agustín where it operates on Thursday afternoons (520-882-3304, mercadosanagustin.com).
Music Against Violence. Luz de Vida (Spanish for "Light of Life") is a compilation album produced by Tucson musicians, recording engineers, and writers, and recently released on Fort Lowell Records. All proceeds from sales of the album will go to the Tucson Together Fund, the only officially sanctioned fund established to assist victims, families, and witnesses of the shootings in Tucson on January 8, 2011. For information about purchasing the album, visit musicagainstviolence.org. To arrange an interview with a producer or a band, write to email@example.com.
10 and Under Tennis. Three tennis facilities in Metro Tucson are staying ahead of changes to the sport by offering the U.S. Tennis Association-sanctioned 10 and Under Tennis program using the QuickStart Tennis play format geared to kids. The Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort (520-533-5000) and Westward Look Resort (520-917-2466) both modified their courts and equipment to align with updated USTA kids' tournament requirements as part of general renovations to both their sites last summer. The Reffkin Tennis Center at Reid Park (520-791-4896), already known for innovative programming, is the first tennis facility in the United States to successfully integrate three USTA priorities, including 10 and Under Tennis, at one site.
What's New in Tucson is produced monthly by the Public Relations department of the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau. For media assistance, contact Public Relations Director Jessica Stephens, jstephens@visitTucson.org. Send story ideas to Editor Deborah Melcher, dmelcher@visitTucson.org. To be removed from or added to the mailing list, contact Isela Cano, icano@visitTucson.org. Find more travel information on Tucson and Southern Arizona on visitTucson.org.
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