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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 USA presents 10 days of concerts featuring legends and emerging talents of all jazz genres, from straight-ahead to contemporary, at the Fox Tucson Theatre and Rialto Theatre as well as at the free daylong Downtown Jazz Fiesta given on Martin Luther King Jr Day on two outdoor stages and at other venues in downtown Tucson.

Tucson Desert Song Festival

(January 16-February 4, 2018)

This three-weekend blend of singing in orchestral, chamber, choral, and solo formats features internationally celebrated soloists along with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (formed in 1929-the oldest continuing professional performing arts organization in Arizona), Tucson Chamber Artists, UA Presents, Arizona Opera and other groups, in conjunction with master classes and lectures at the University of Arizona School of Music.

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-Desert Diamond Cup

(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

Cochise Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering

(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 celebration in Sierra Vista.

59th Annual Tubac Festival of the Arts

(February 7-11, 2018)

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."

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. 

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

(February 16-18, 2018)

Epic Rides presents 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 pedalers 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. 

MARCH

25th Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival 

(March 4-11, 2018)

Once described by American Record Guide as "one of the best and most adventurous festivals in the US!" this event, presented by Arizona Friends of Chamber Music (founded in 1948), draws distinguished artists for a series of concerts, open rehearsals, master classes, and a gala dinner and concert.

10th 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 author presentations, panel discussions, and exhibits as well as chef demonstrations, literary circus, poetry venue, and Science City 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).

PGA Tour Champions - Tucson Conquistadores Classic

(March 14-18, 2018)

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 21-28, 2018)

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.

Southeast Arizona Wine Growers Festival 

(March 10-11, 2018)

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.

APRIL

Tucson International Mariachi Conference 

(April 2018 Date TBA)

Masters of mariachi music conduct workshops for youth and perform with folklórico dancers and at a traditional Catholic mariachi mass 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.

MAY

Agave Heritage Festival 

(May 2018)

This festival for ages 21-and-over offers a taste of Tucson—named in 2015 as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the USA—and explores the cultural, commercial, and culinary significance to the Arizona-Mexico border region of the versatile agave plant, with a series of talks, tours, tastings, dinners and exhibits.

Tucson Folk Festival 

(May 5-6, 2018)

As one of the oldest admission-free folk music festivals in the United States, established in 1986, this all-volunteer-operated annual event features over 20 hours of live acoustic music with folk arts workshops, kid’s activities, food stations and beer gardens, and more in El Presidio Historic District.

Mt. Lemmon Hill Climb 

(May 2018)

Rated by experts as among 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 (Spring) 

Ranked by Fodor's Travel as one of the top-10 wine festivals in North America (2015), this weekend-long celebration features the finest in wines and artisan products from the Willcox region, one of two American Viticulture Areas (AVA) in Southern Arizona. 

JUNE

The Tucson 23: Mexican Food Festival 

(June 2018)

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 Festival 

(On hiatus in 2018)

The celebration of the traditional summer harvest of saguaro cactus-fruit by the Tohono O’odham Nation (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 2018)

In anticipation of Tucson's monsoon rainy season, this classic pray-for-rain ritual honors St. John the Baptist and includes Mexican-style rodeo events, music and folk dancing performances, and food and craft vendors at Mercado San Agustin.

JULY

‘Let Freedom Sing’ Concert 

(July 2018)

Tucson's Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Honor Guard posts the colors during a salute to the Armed Forces at this holiday concert of patriotic standards and all-American hits staged at UA Centennial Hall since 1984.

HarvestFest at Sonoita Vineyards 

(July 2018)

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.

AUGUST

Southwest Wings Birding Festival 

(August 2018)

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  2018)

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 & Taco Challenge

(September 2018)

Tequila-based cocktails and fresh salsas are prepared with ingenious recipes on-site by local bartenders, chefs, and restaurateurs competing for several different titles in this food-tasting competition based on two staples of the Tucson diet. 

Tucson Fall Gem Shows 

(September 2018)

Tucson is well-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 at which over 200 vendors from around the world sell and exhibit treasures.

Mt. Lemmon Oktoberfest

(September 16-17, 23-24, September 30-October 1, October 7-8, 2017)

Tucson welcomes autumn with German-style merriment among the fir trees in 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 Pride in the Park & Pride on Parade  

(September 29-30, 2017)

Arizona's oldest LGBT organization, Tucson Pride, founded in 1977, presents one of the nation's oldest Pride events (right behind New York City and San Francisco) preceded by one of the wackiest Pride parades ever. 

Tucson Fall Open Studio Tours 

(September 30-October 1, 2017 & October 7-8, 2017)

One of the Southwest region's largest self-guided tours of artist studios and workspaces takes place in Pima County over two weekends and provides opportunities to see the creative process in action and purchase original artworks directly from the makers.

OCTOBER

Mexican Baseball Fiesta 

(October 5-8, 2017) 

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. Major League Baseball teams while fans snack on Sonoran hot dogs and craft beer at this international tournament at Kino Stadium.

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. 

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.

Willcox Wine Country Festival (Fall) 

(October 21-22, 2017)

Ranked by Fodor's Travel as one of the top-10 wine festivals in North America (2015), this weekend-long celebration features the finest in wines and artisan products from the Willcox region, one of two American Viticulture Areas (AVA) in Southern Arizona. 

NOVEMBER

El Tour de Tucson

(November 18, 2017)

The largest perimeter bicycling event in the U.S. was started here in 1983 and now attracts 9,000 cyclists of all ages and abilities with main rides of 106, 76, 54, 37 and 28 miles and several Fun Rides on Saturday before Thanksgiving annually.

All Souls Procession 

(November 5, 2017)

With an estimated 150,000 participants, Tucson's one-of-a-kind processional performance blends aspects of 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".

DECEMBER

Tucson Marathon, Marathon Relay & Half-Marathon

(December 9, 2017)

Mild Tucson winter weather adds to the popularity of this Boston Marathon-qualifying foot race on what has been called "one of the prettiest courses in the country,"  from the town of Oracle to the town of Catalina, since 1995.

Tucson Tamal & Heritage Festival 

(December 2017)

The Southwestern tradition of making tamales for Christmas is shared by local amateur and professional cooks who compete with savory and sweet recipes for the benefit of festival attendees who sample and purchase them.

A Southwest Nutcracker 

(December 9-10, 2017)

Tucson Regional Ballet with Tucson Symphony Orchestra present an original full-length version of The Nutcracker ballet, set in 1880s Tucson and featuring Mama Piñata, Prickly Pear Fairy, dancing chile peppers, and other colorful characters.

21st Annual Christmas at San Xavier Concert

(December 11-14, 2017 )

A concert of sacred and secular Christmas songs, performed by Sons of Orpheus with Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus/Tucson Girls Chorus at Mission San Xavier del Bac to benefit restoration and preservation of the 300-year-old National Historic Landmark, which has been called "Sistine Chapel of North America."

NOVA® Home Loans Arizona Bowl

(December 29, 2017)

Tucson is a college sports town with passion for its local teams - but on New Year's Eve weekend fans welcome the Arizona Bowl, a post-season collegiate 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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