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Dinner and a Show, South Tucson-style

Taste of South Tucson

Noon, Saturday, Nov. 3

House of Neighborly Service
243 W. 33rd St.

623-0100; hnsvecinos.org

The House of Neighborly Service has provided the South Tucson community with a source for education and recreation since 1946.

Kids can attend after-school literacy programs and cooking classes, and seniors can learn about nutrition and health. The organization also works with local organizations like Our Family Services and Humane Borders.

"We are a neighborhood center that provides a variety of resources for family and children," said Josefina Ahumada, president of the board of directors.

The Taste of South Tucson is a chance to celebrate the flavors and sounds of the area while helping to raise money for the organization.

About three years ago, the HNS board sat down to discuss what puts South Tucson on the map. Everyone agreed that the area's restaurants were top-notch. HNS showcased a variety of them in the premiere event.

This year, Crossroads restaurant, which has a four-star review on Yelp, will provide a multicourse Mexican dinner. The $25 admission buys a meal and entertainment for the afternoon.

A mariachi group from Pueblo High School will perform, followed by a folklórico dance group.

"People that come certainly will enjoy good Mexican cuisine and have some good dancing and mariachi music," Ahumada said.

The event also gives HNS an opportunity to show off recent renovations to its campus. HNS has planted a slew of new trees, installed a running track for a girls program and developed a new plaza.

"It's not just a time for music and food, but also a time to share good friendship with one another," Ahumada said. "It's a community coming together to celebrate."

Admission is $25 for adults and $10 for kids.—M.D.


24 Hours to Create

Old Pueblo Playwrights' Play-in-a-Day Festival

7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2 and 3

Temple of Music and Art Cabaret Theatre
330 S. Scott Ave.

449-0591; oldpuebloplaywrights.org

Writing the script for a play can take months, even years. But at the 10th annual Play-in-a-Day Festival, hosted by the local nonprofit group Old Pueblo Playwrights, writers are expected to create a script in less than 24 hours.

On Friday night, OPP members will present short plays they have written to the audience, who will decide on three props and one line of dialogue to be given to writers for use in their script. Writers will be paired at random and given one night to create a 10-minute play. The next morning starting at 9 a.m., participating directors will each be assigned one of the scripts. They will be given a few hours to choose the actors and rehearse the plays before presenting them to the audience Saturday evening.

"It is amazing to see what writers come up with in such a short amount of time," said Sydney Flynn, the OPP's secretary. "It is a very joyful, creative activity to participate in."

Flynn has been with OPP about three years. She and her husband taught theater overseas for more than 45 years before moving back to Tucson. Joining OPP was a way for them to meet people and reconnect with the local theater scene. "We heard about the OPP and the Play-in-a-Day event, and we knew we had to be a part of it," Flynn said. "It is such a fun, interactive activity."

This year, Flynn is in charge of reaching out to local actors—or anyone who would like to give acting a try—to participate in the plays. "They don't have to have any theater experience," Flynn said. "And, who knows, maybe after this one of them will discover that theater is their calling."

Each play will be judged and small cash prizes will be awarded.

Tickets are $7 per show or $12 for both nights. Call for reservations.—I.T.


Giddyup to a Taste of Ranch Life

Roundup and Open House at the Historic Empire Ranch

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3

Empire Ranch
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area

(888) 364-2829

Even though parts of the Southwest have been transformed from rough-and-tumble landscapes to cookie-cutter suburbs, there are still pockets where the cowboy lifestyle is preserved. The Empire Ranch, on the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, is one such cowboy haven. The ranch, established in the 1860s, is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Just an hour from Tucson, the desert gives way to rolling grasslands where cattle feed. "This isn't a staged set; this is what cowboys still do," said Christine Auerbach, the administrator of the Empire Ranch Foundation. "Cowboy life still exists." Saturday's annual roundup is an opportunity to see ranch life in action, chow down on barbecue, and don Western duds for a day. The roundup also features an auction and several raffles featuring Western-themed artwork as prizes. More than 100 presenters will be on hand to demonstrate ranching skills. The Tombstone Ghost Riders, for instance, will show how to shoot from horseback and trained border collies will demonstrate their sheepherding skills. Visitors can mosey into the 22-room ranch house to drop in on "cowboy conversations" and learn more about Western life and the history of the Empire Ranch from experts. "They can listen to people who have really honed their lifelong skills in horsehair roping and riata-making," Auerbach said. To get to the ranch, take Interstate 10 east to state Route 83 and head toward Sonoita. Take a left onto a gravel road between mileposts 40 and 39. Watch for a brown Historic Empire Ranch sign on the right side of the road. The foundation requests a $10 donation per vehicle.—M.D.


Exercise and Alcohol

Bike to Beer!

9 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 3

Start: Ward 3 City Council Office, 1510 E. Grant Road
End: Borderlands Brewing Co., 119 E. Toole Ave.

690-1888

Last year's Biketoberfest is now Bike to Beer!

The organizers changed the name when they discovered the former name is trademarked by a Florida motorcycle event.

"We could live a long and happy life without messing with bikers and their lawyers," said one of the event founders, Martha Retallick.

The free event invites neighbors and newbies alike to pedal along a predetermined route that ends at Borderlands Brewing Co.

"It's partially about neighbors supporting neighbors' businesses," Retallick said. "And going from one place to the other on bicycle and having a good time while doing so."

This year's four-mile route features a community garden, a pocket park and water-harvesting basins.

"Part of the reason for showing these sites is to show people what can be done when we work together," Retallick said.

The reward at the end is cold libations and munchies from local food trucks Red Wagon Steak and Sub, and Asian-fusion favorite MaFooCo.

"If you don't feel like riding your bike, you can just come out and meet us at Borderlands," Retallick said. "We won't tell."

The event is also gaining a reputation for attracting Tucson's eccentric wheeled vehicles, including a submarine-bicycle hybrid. This year, organizers have invited a husband-and-wife-powered rolling couch and a pedicab. Retallick also hopes the submarine will return, or perhaps a full fleet.

"We would very much like to encourage that type of bicycling," Retallick said. "If you have a weird bike, bring it to this ride."

The event is free, but participants should bring money if they want craft beer and food-truck tasties.—M.D.

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