Eight years ago, Cindy and Maddog Harris heard about a group of homeless people who were moved out of their makeshift abodes on A Mountain in the middle of the night. The story moved them to do something about it--and the couple has organized a benefit for homeless veterans and their families around the holidays every year since. This is the eighth annual benefit of its kind.
"In my research, I've found that 63 percent of the homeless are families," said Cindy Harris. "None of the presidential candidates are doing anything about it, so why don't the people in the state of Arizona do it?"
The benefit, starting at noon on Saturday, will be at Famous Sam's on Golf Links and Kolb roads; the sports bar is sponsoring the event. Everyone is welcome, and there will be food, raffles, auctions, a bike show and more throughout the day. The cost for admission is one can of food and one toy, which, along with all the proceeds, will be donated to Comin' Home, a local homeless-veteran aid foundation.
"We are an agency that supports homeless veterans and their families in transitional housing," said Robert Miller, associate director of Comin' Home. "We provide case management, groups and assistance into permanent housing through federal and city grants."
At any one time, Comin' Home serves 120 U.S. veterans, many of whom have children, Miller said.
"For these people, there is no Christmas," Harris said. "It's a worthy cause. They (Comin' Home) go out into the washes and deliver food and toys."
Bands Mikey and the Maniacs and The Freeze will perform at the benefit. --D.P.
Tucson is a hub for artists. It's understandable; countless miles of picturesque horizons are sure to get anyone's creative juices flowing. An upcoming benefit will give you a chance to see as many as 30 of these artists' work, all in one place.
The Acadia Ranch Museum is hosting the Second Annual Art Soirée, an event to raise money for the Oracle Historical Society.
"Our big mission is historical preservation and public education," said Emily Duwel, executive director of the society.
She said the location of the event is very special. The Acadia Ranch Museum is one of the oldest buildings in the community. The structure, built in 1880, has seen a wide variety of uses. It originated as a guest ranch and hotel, later becoming a post office and even a sanitarium for tuberculosis patients.
The event coincides perfectly with the holidays: The majority of works on display will be for sale for $300 or less.
Attendees can bid on two pieces by Andrew Rush that will be auctioned off at the event, one print and one watercolor. Rush is a well-known and respected Tucson artist who founded the Drawing Studio, which offers a variety of classes for every age and skill level. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Oracle Historical Society.
Flamenco-guitar expert Jon Banuelos will perform his lively music, which he learned through years of studying around the United States and Spain, accompanied by champagne and hors d'oeuvres--all for the small entry fee of $5, which will also go to the society. --D.P.
The 13th Annual Downtown Parade of Lights will take off at 6 p.m. this Saturday. An estimated 30,000 people will watch as the parade winds down Stone Avenue, Broadway Boulevard, Church Avenue and Congress Street before heading down Sixth Avenue and ending at Armory Park. (A complete route map is available online.)
Everything in the parade--ranging from a bicycle-powered sleigh for Santa built by local co-op company Bicycle Inter-Community Art and Salvage, to restored vintage fire trucks--will be flooded with lights.
The Old Pueblo Vintage Fire Club, which buys and restores old official government vehicles, will have 12 to 15 fire trucks, police cars and ambulances lit up.
"The oldest truck will be a '35 Ford," said the club's Joe Findysz. "A 1965, 100-foot ladder truck called Seagrave will carry 12,000 lights on it. It was used in Tucson between the years 1965 and 1990 and has two steering wheels, one in the front and back."
The festival at Armory Park will be loaded with activities. Crafts, food booths, games, jumping castles, arts and crafts and Santa Claus will be there.
There will be a contest held for people who enter the parade, giving them the chance to win an award in seven different categories.
The festival at Armory Park and the parade are free. --J.W.
Charlie's Comic Books and the Phoenix Comicon are joining forces to raise money for a fantastic cause while bringing renowned comic-book artists and writers to town.
Charlie Harris, owner of Charlie's Comic Books store, holds four annual fundraisers at his store. This time, a raffle will raise proceeds to go toward the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to help feed children in Darfur, Africa.
One dollar will buy three raffle tickets. Prizes include original artwork, graphic novels, trade paperbacks and unique comic editions. There will also be art contests for all ages, costume play and the chance to meet Arizonan comic book creators and artists.
Confirmed guests include Paul Fini, writer of Plant Guy and Bliss, and editor of Sequentially Tucson; and Jonnie Allan, creator of The Miscellaneous Adventures of Stykman from AKA Comics.
Jon Morris, who produced the story of Jeremy, Frankenstein's 9-year old son, will also be there.
"It's a story of a boy with a heart made of gold and a body made of criminal corpse parts," explained Morris. "His big problem is that he's a monster at heart, but doesn't realize it, because he's a sweet kid underneath all that."
Other guests slated to appear are Jeff Aden and Ben Glendenning (Super World Presents), Daniel Bradford (Smoke and Mirrors), Ryan Cody (Villains), Daniel Davis (KlawBerry and Caught Creatures), Raven Gregory (The Gift) and Tony Parker (Warhammer). --J.W.