There’s no other place in the United States like the Southwest. Visually, culturally, it’s as different from every other corner of the country as you’ll find. From the natural melting pot created by the U.S. and Mexican border to the influx of international immigrants who call the Southwest home, it is this cultural diversity and tradition that’s worth celebrating. While residents and visitors alike can find some of the tradition alive in the food of the region, as well as some of the museums, one of the best ways to not only celebrate the diversity of others but of yourself is to take part in the upcoming Tucson Meet Yourself Festival.
Beginning on Friday, October 8, and running through Sunday, October 10 (these are updated dates as the event was originally planned for the week earlier), the Tucson Meet Yourself Festival is a celebration of all things Southwest. For families that have called the region home for generations to those transplants who have recently moved to the area, this festival is a celebration of the music, food, dancing, and everything else that makes Southwest Arizona unique.
The festival, which will be held at El Presidio Park (between City Hall and the Old County Courthouse). This year’s version of the festival is being called “Reconnect,” to bring Tucson residents back together and demonstrate the community is stronger together instead of apart.
This is one of the longest-running festivals in Tucson. It has been held annually in Downtown since 1974. It is put on by the Southwest Folklife Alliance (SFA), which is a non-profit affiliate organization of the University of Arizona and its College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
This year’s event will be slightly paired down from previous renditions of the festival due to the current COVID threat, so while the amount of space will be the same, displays will be more spread out to help improve the flow of guests throughout the festival.
Even though the festival will be smaller this year there will be plenty of activities for people of all ages. For food lovers, there will be authentic, home-cooked food from nearly three dozen cultural communities. It makes the perfect opportunity to sample food that isn’t always available, such as traditional Native American cuisine from the region. Beyond the food offerings, there will be a mariachi pop-up performance, plus a documentary crew will be on-site to collect footage for a project currently titled, “Little Ugly Monkeys.” The ever-popular Corrido Contest will be back in full force, and for the car lovers out there the Craftsmanship of Lowrider Cars will be put on. All of this and so much more will be put on display and available for guests of the festival, which is free to attend and walkthrough.
Vendors will be limited inside the event, so the festival will not be accepting applications this year. You are free to apply for a waiting list for next year, but due to the limited vendor space this year, it is invitation only. If you would like to help with this year’s Tucson Meet Yourself Festival, you can volunteer through the organization’s website. You can also donate directly through the website as well. All donations are tax-deductible as well. The money raised through donations and the festival will not only go back into the community and help with future festival folk festivals, but it also goes into a Traditional Artists & Culture Bearer Emergency Relief Fund, to help artists in need around the community and state.
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