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Signature Events

Any month of the year, discover more of what makes Tucson a special place when you attend a signature annual event, like El Tour de Tucson.

Signature Events

To get to know a community, attend a festival or event and experience its food, music, art, culture and heritage--even climate and natural environment. You can find a "signature event" happening in Tucson and Southern Arizona every month of the year. Browse the list below, or look over our Top Picks, Marquee Sports Events, and full Events Calendar to discover more of what's special about this place. 

JANUARY

Tucson Jazz Festival 
(January 11-21, 2018)
The only major jazz festival in January in the United States presents 10 days of concerts with legends and emerging talents in all jazz genres and closes with a free “Downtown Jazz Fiesta” on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Tucson Desert Song Festival 
(January 2018 Date TBA)
Some of the world’s leading classical vocalists gather in Tucson to collaborate with regional arts groups for performances blending singing in orchestral, chamber, choral, and solo formats along with lectures and master classes.

Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase
(January 27-February 11, 2018)
The largest event of its kind in the world features over 40 shows with museum-quality exhibits and thousands of vendors selling all kinds of gems, minerals, fossils, beads, crystals, jewelry, supplies, apparel, and more.

Major League Soccer Preseason in Tucson 
(Late January – Early February)
A range of outstanding Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs take over Kino Sports Complex for a month of competitive preseason spring training camps that culminate with the Desert Diamond Cup exhibition tournament.

FEBRUARY

Savor Food & Wine Festival 
(February 2018 Date TBA)
A cadre of innovative Tucson chefs, bartenders, and restaurateurs offer a taste of Tucson—designated in 2015 as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the USA—with samples of food and beverages, many featuring locally grown or sourced ingredients, presented at tranquil Tucson Botanical Gardens.

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show® 
(February 8-11, 2018)
Rock hounds at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Society held their first gem and mineral show in a school parking lot in 1955; now that show fills Tucson Convention Center on the final weekend of the citywide Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase. 

59th Annual Tubac Festival of the Arts
(February 2018 Date TBA)
Arizona’s longest-running outdoor festival of arts and crafts takes place just south of Tucson in the scenic and historic Village of Tubac, known as "one of the top-10 small art towns in the U.S." 

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo
(February 16-18, 2018)
One of the largest 24-hour endurance events of its kind in the world, this single-track mountain bike ride in Sonoran Desert terrain with costume-clad riders is so popular that registration sells out early every year.

Tucson Rodeo & Parade - La Fiesta de los Vaqueros®
(February 17-25, 2018)
Tucson celebrates its ranching heritage at La Fiesta de los Vaqueros® (Celebration of the Cowboys), as it has done since 1925, with the Tucson Rodeo, one of North America's top-25 professional rodeos, and the Tucson Rodeo Parade, the largest non-motorized parade in the United States. 

Cochise Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival 
(February 2-4, 2018) 
Dozens of cowboy artists from around the United States and Canada preserve the spirit of the American Old West with family-friendly performances of classic cowboy poems, songs, and storytelling at this annual event in Sierra Vista.

MARCH

Tucson Festival of Books 
(March 10-11, 2018)
Tucson's celebration of literacy ranks as the third-largest book festival in the U.S. and attracts more than 130,000 fans to the University of Arizona Mall (during spring break) for exhibits, author presentations and panel discussions as well as chef demonstrations, a literary circus, a poetry venue, a Science City and STEM area. 

Wa: k Pow Wow
(March 10-11, 2018)
Mission San Xavier del Bac, a National Historic Landmark, is the location for inter-tribal activities and an artisan's marketplace featuring Native American tribes from around the United States, hosted by Southern Arizona's Tohono O'odham Nation (Sonoran Desert People).

Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival 
(March 12-19, 2017)
Once described by American Record Guide as "one of the best and most adventurous festivals in the US!" this event draws distinguished artists for a series of concerts, open rehearsals, master classes, and a gala dinner and concert.

PGA Tour Champions - Tucson Conquistadores Classic
(March 15-19, 2017)
Dozens of top-ranked legends of men's pro golf play in a no-cut competition and walk the course with fans at a two-day Pro-Am event on the famed Catalina Course at Omni Tucson National Resort, a popular PGA Tour venue since the 1960s. 

Tucson Cine Mexico 
(March 22-26, 2017)
The longest-running festival of contemporary Mexican film in the United States, established in Tucson in 2004, presents award-winning contemporary films and documentaries and includes post-screening Q&As and filmmaker panels.

APRIL

Tucson International Mariachi Conference 
(April 26-29, 2017)
Masters of mariachi music perform at a mariachi mass and at two concerts with ballet folklórico dancers during this event—founded in 1982 and nurtured by such legends as Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlán, Mariachi Cobre, the late Lola Beltrán, and Tucson native Linda Ronstadt—held at AVA Amphitheater, Casino Del Sol. 

Southeast Arizona Wine Growers Festival 
(April 22-23, 2017)
In Sonoita-Elgin, Arizona’s first American Viticulture Area (AVA), dozens of Arizona wineries participate in a weekend of wine releases and wine tastings, with food vendors, a chili cook-off, and live music, presented at Kief-Joshua Vineyards.

MAY

Agave Heritage Week 
(May 3-8, 2017)
To mark Cinco de Mayo, this fiesta for ages 21-and-over extols the Southwestern U.S.-Mexico indigenous agave plant with a tradeshow, seminars, and tastings of tequilas, mezcals, sotols, and bacanoras at downtown Tucson's hip Hotel Congress.

Tucson Folk Festival 
(May 6-7, 2017)
One of the largest free folk-music festivals in the United States features over 20 hours of live acoustic music with workshops, kid’s activities, food stations and beer gardens, and more—all broadcast live from El Presidio Park downtown by Tucson's community radio KXCI 91.3 FM.

Mt. Lemmon Hill Climb 
(May 12, 2017)
Rated in the top 25% of toughest hill climbs in the USA, this 100-mile ride up Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway on closed roads offers conditions similar to Tour de France in terms of distance, difficulty and height, and is a popular training ride for professional cyclists.

Willcox Wine Country Festival 
(May 20-21, 2017)
In Willcox, Southern Arizona's second American Viticulture Area (AVA) (after Sonoita-Elgin), dozens of Arizona wineries offer wine tastings alongside vendors of locally produced foods and other products.

JUNE

The Tucson 23: Mexican Food Festival 
(June 17, 2017)
Samplings of some of the most authentic and delicious food available north of the international border is offered by local restaurants and breweries at this toast to Tucson’s “Best 23 Miles of Mexican Food” distinction.

Ha: san Bak Saguaro Fruit Harvest Celebration 
(June 24, 2017)
The traditional summer harvest of saguaro cactus-fruit by Southern Arizona's Tohono O’odham (Sonoran Desert People) includes demonstrations, tastings, and more at Colossal Cave Mountain Park on the border of Saguaro National Park East.

El Dia de San Juan
(June 24, 2017)
Tucson's pre-monsoon rainy season take on a classic pray-for-rain ritual honors St. John the Baptist and includes Mexican-style rodeo performances, regional music and folk dancing, and food and craft vendors at Mercado San Agustin.

JULY

HarvestFest at Sonoita Vineyards 
(July 29, 2017)
The oldest commercial vineyard and winery in Arizona, opened in 1983, Sonoita Vineyards hosts wine tastings and wine-and-food pairings, a grape-stomping contest, and horse-drawn wagon tours of the vineyards. 

‘Let Freedom Sing’ Concert 
(July 4, 2017)
Tucson's Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Honor Guard posts the colors during a salute to all branches of the Armed Forces at this concert of patriotic standards and all-American hits presented at UA Centennial Hall since 1984.

AUGUST

Southwest Wings Birding Festival 
(August 2-5, 2017)
More than 400 species of birds, almost half of all the birds of the United States and Canada combined, occur in Southeastern Arizona, and August is an especially rewarding time to see many of them—check it out at Arizona’s longest running nature festival.

Southeast Arizona Birding Festival 
(August 10-13, 2017)
See birds you can find nowhere else in the U.S., including rare hummingbirds, and discover why Southeastern Arizona is consistently recognized as one of America’s foremost birding destinations at this festival presented by Tucson Audubon Society, founded in 1949.

SEPTEMBER

Salsa & Tequila Challenge
(September 3, 2017)
Tequila-based cocktails and fresh salsas are prepared with ingenious recipes on-site by local mixologists, chefs, and restaurateurs competing for several different titles in this food-tasting competition based on two staples of the Tucson diet. 

Mt. Lemmon Oktoberfest
(September 16-17, 23-24, September 30-October 1, October 7-8, 2017)
Tucson welcomes autumn with German-style merriment in the fir-tree forest surrounding the Village of Summerhaven near Ski Valley, the southernmost ski area in the U.S. at 9,157 feet elevation (a 90-minute drive from central Tucson). 

Tucson Fall Gem Shows 
(September 7-10, 2017)
Tucson is known in the gem and mineral world for its incredible 40+ shows in February, but there is a smaller (and growing) collection of shows in September, to which over 200 vendors come from all over the world to sell and exhibit.

Tucson Pride on Parade 
(2018 Date TBA)
Arizona's oldest LGBT organization, Tucson Pride, founded in 1977, presents one of the oldest Pride events in the nation (right behind New York City and San Francisco) along with one of the wackiest pride parades ever. 

OCTOBER

Film Fest Tucson 
(October 19-22, 2017)
Tucson's movie-making legacy, dating back to 1939 when Old Tucson studios was built, is spotlighted with films from Arizona's history as well as a collection of Arizona premieres of new independent films and appearances by special guests at Scottish Rite Cathedral, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tucson Meet Yourself 
(October 13, 14, 15, 2017)
The Southwest's greatest outdoor food court takes over downtown Tucson once a year during this festival, which celebrates the foods and traditional arts of Arizona-Sonora's folk and ethnic communities, co-founded in 1974 by Tucson folklorist Jim Griffith, a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Heritage Fellow. 

Mexican Baseball Fiesta 
(2018 Date TBA) 
Favorite minor league baseball teams from Mexico’s Pacific Coast League compete in a series of double-headers with up-and-coming players from select U.S. teams while fans eat Sonoran hot dogs at this international tournament at Kino Stadium.

NOVEMBER

El Tour de Tucson
(November 18, 2017)
The largest perimeter bicycling event in the U.S. attracts 9,000 cyclists of all ages and abilities with rides of 106, 76, 54, 37 or 28 miles and Fun Rides of 11, 5, or 1/4 miles on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. 

All Souls Procession 
(November 5, 2017)
With an estimated 150,000 participants, Tucson's one-of-a-kind processional performance blends aspects of both All Souls Day and Dia de los Muertos for what has been called "one of the most inclusive and authentic public ceremonies in North America today".

Tucson Fall Open Studio Tours 
(2018 Date TBA)
One of the Southwest region's largest self-guided tours of artist studios and workspaces takes place in Pima County over four weekends and provides opportunities to see the creative process in action and purchase original artworks.

DECEMBER

Tucson Marathon, Marathon Relay & Half-Marathon
(December 9, 2017)
Mild Tucson winter weather adds to the popularity of this Boston Marathon-qualifying race on what has been called "one of the prettiest courses in the country," beginning in the town of Oracle and finishing in the town of Catalina, north of Tucson.

Tucson Tamal & Heritage Festival 
(2018 Date TBA)
The Southwestern tradition of making tamales for Christmas is shared by hundreds of local amateur and professional cooks who compete in tamale recipe contests for the ultimate benefit of festival attendees who can sample and purchase them.

A Southwest Nutcracker 
(2018 Date TBA)
Tucson Regional Ballet with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra translate the traditional Nutcracker to Tucson in the 1880s for this original full-length ballet with piñatas, dancing chile peppers, coyotes, and the U.S. Cavalry.

21st Annual Christmas at San Xavier 
(2018 Date TBA)
A beloved tradition, this exclusive concert of sacred and secular Christmas songs set at Mission San Xavier del Bac benefits restoration and preservation of the 300-year-old National Historic Landmark known as "The White Dove of the Desert."

NOVA® Home Loans Arizona Bowl
(2017 Date TBA)
Tucson is a college sports town with passion for its local teams - but in late December fans welcome the Arizona Bowl, a post-season college football bowl game certified by the NCAA and held at Arizona Stadium, University of Arizona. 

For selected upcoming events, see our Top Picks, or check out the Marquee Sports Events page, and find our comprehensive list on the Events Calendar.

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