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Sentinel Peak Ribbon-Cutting; The Princess Bride Adventure; and more!

OUTDOORS

New Dawn at an Old Landmark

Sentinel Peak Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

Sunset, Thursday, Aug. 1

1000 S. Sentinel Peak Park Road

With August being Tucson's birthday month, some residents have big plans to celebrate.

Sentinel Peak, better known as "A" Mountain, has played numerous roles throughout the more than 4,000 years that the area has been inhabited, from providing bedrock mortars for the ancients to grind mesquite beans and corn to giving Spanish settlers who founded the Tucson presidio in August 1775 a viewpoint to watch for raiding Apache warriors.

Recently, the park at the top of the peak received a $320,000 face-lift that includes new signs, two new overlooks and a new pathway to connect them.

On Thursday, the public is invited to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate both the improvements and Tucson's birthday.

"Our goal is to create a place that people will visit again and again," City Councilwoman Regina Romero said in a press release. "We want people to bring their out-of-town guests to enjoy the views, and then stay to enjoy a short hike on the new trails ... and have a picnic in the new ramada."

If a Pima County bond proposal is approved in 2014, the park could see another $2.5 million in improvements, the release said.

"Anyone who's been on "A" Mountain knows the quiet comfort and mystery that comes along when looking out at the rest of the city—travel in all directions, lights illuminating the sky, the stories of our families and how we've come to be," County Supervisor Richard Elías said in an email. "I'm sure those who guarded the presidio from Sentinel Peak had the same curiosity about the land in front of them. Celebrating Tucson's birthday at this cultural landmark ... brings us closer to connecting with this place we call home."

—A.D.


PETS

Pawsitive Pet Event

Dog Days of Summer Fundraiser

5 to 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 2

Plaza Colonial2870 E. Skyline Drive

321-3704; hssaz.org

While monsoon season often offers a refreshing way to cool down in Tucson, the lightning and thunder that accompany the storms can be terrifying for some animals, which causes an influx of stray cats and dogs at shelters.

This weekend, merchants at Plaza Colonial are raising funds to help the Humane Society of Southern Arizona through the second annual "Dog Days of Summer." Activities range from doggy fashion shows to live music, and you can also browse the shops with a canine companion. Hot dogs and gelato will be available for $1, and caricature artists will be on hand to create drawings of you and your favorite dog for $5. A raffle also will be held, with $5 tickets giving the holders a shot at prizes from participating merchants. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to HSSA.

"We are so thankful for that," said Samantha Esquivel, an HSSA spokeswoman. "We're also really happy that the plaza is able to incorporate the community ... it's going to be a lot of fun."

At 7 p.m., a doggy fashion show will feature original fashion designs from the students of the Art Institute of Tucson.

"It's cute because dogs are going to be out there and it's going to build an awareness (of homeless pets) despite the fact that it's a fashion show," Esquivel said.

There will also be plenty of art available for purchase. Jane Hamilton Fine Art Gallery, which started the event last year, will feature works from Louis Mason, a witty painter of dogs and cats; and Joseph Birdsong, who will display his collection of "Chunky Southwest" bracelets.

"The ultimate goal, besides having fun ... is to help some of the dogs who need adoption," Jane Hamilton said.

—A.D.


KIDS AND FAMILIES

Exploring Fantasyland

The Princess Bride Adventure

7 to 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 2

Valley of the Moon 2544 E. Allen Road

322-1331;tucsonvalleyofthemoon.com

Built on the philosophy that the key to happiness is kindness to all, Valley of the Moon offers a one-of-a kind experience for audiences of all ages. A historical landmark and fantasyland, the park also features an interactive walk-through theater, bringing the audience into the stories. Valley of the Moon, which opened to the public in 1932, was the dream of George Phar Legler. For years he dedicated his life to "spreading happiness and to the mental and spiritual health of all mankind, especially children." Legler would guide audiences through a fantastical landscape populated by fairies and gnomes. Legler died in 1982, but his legacy lives on through the many volunteers who donate their time to maintaining the park year-round, and putting together its annual plays. "He loved children, and he loved to do magic and he loved to tell stories," said Shari Murphy, board member of the George Phar Legler Society. For the past two weeks, Valley of the Moon has been offering its latest show, The Princess Bride Adventure, featuring a "wicked villain, a daring hero and a damsel in distress," according to its website. Those who missed it can attend an encore showing this Saturday. "It's just very unique to be able to walk through the play ... instead of the play coming and going from you, you're coming and going through the play," Murphy said. Murphy said Legler believed in two main philosophies—the golden key to happiness is kindness to all, and happiness should be given, not sold. The show, which will be offered every 30 minutes, is free, but donations are appreciated.—A.D.


BOOKS

Reading Rainbow

Feria de la Lectura

10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 10

El Pueblo Activity Center101 W. Irvington Road

791-5155

In Tucson, being bilingual is practically a necessity. City Councialwoman Regina Romero is more aware of that than most Tucsonans. To encourage American children to become educated in both English and Spanish, she is hosting the fifth annual Feria de la Lectura, or Spanish Literacy Festival.

The event is a celebration of bilingual education, Spanish language reading and education. Children will watch a play, listen to stories told in both Spanish and English, and make crafts celebrating different cultures. All the kids who attend will leave with free Spanish-language books and a backpack.

In past years, the festival has had more than 5,000 books for kids to choose from, including Mexican textbooks, children's novels, cookbooks and history books.

The festival takes place at El Peublo Activity Center, at 101 W. Irvington Road, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10.

Get more information by searching "Feria de la Lectura 2013" on Facebook, or call El Pueblo Activity Center at 791-5155. Volunteers are still needed to help pass out books and backpacks. Sign up by contacting Romero's office at 791-4040 or send an email to laura.dent@tucsonaz.gov.

Romero is hosting the event with the Consulate of Mexico in Tucson, Pima County Public Library and Nuestras Raíces.

—C.G.

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