Cheap Thrills

CLEAN AIR CRUSADE: Leap astride your two-wheeled steed and join the forces of good for another Community Bike Ride.

Held on the last Friday of each month, these fun, informal forays are a great way to stoke your ticker, and make the crucial point that fossil fuel is a friend to neither man nor beast. Take a look at our increasingly vaporized horizon--or at the gridlock filling our streets--if you're skeptical.

The free Community Bike Ride leaves at 5 p.m. from the Time Market parking lot, 444 E. University Blvd. Rides last approximately one hour. Call 792-1334 for details.

TIMELESS DIGS: Take a gander at the past with the Old Pueblo Archaeology Center.

The center needs volunteers to help clean, label and catalog artifacts from a prehistoric site on Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista. The relics were unearthed from an ancient Indian village occupied from about A.D. 600 to 1300, and are currently being processed under contract with the U.S. Army.

The event runs from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 29, and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, June 30. For directions and other information, call 798-1201 Monday through Wednesday, or 533-4451 Thursday and Friday.

PULLING STRINGS: Kids pull the strings for a change when students of Cross Middle School collaborate with Fantasymakers to present Let's Create a Magical, Musical, Mini Marionette Circus!

The show is directed by Starr-Light Taylor of Fantasymakers, and incorporates high theatrical standards. We wouldn't expect anything less from this troupe boasting a long legacy of excellence. Taylor is the most recent generation of a family of puppeteers and marionette masters, a tradition begun in 1958 by her mother, Genii Townsend, as Geniiland Puppet Theater. At the time, Genii's own mother, Marion "Bubbles" Zollars, handled the bookings.

"I literally grew up in this theater," Taylor says. "We did birthday parties, mainly for the movie stars' children, 12 parties per weekend through Geniiland's closing in 1977."

Now back as FantasyMakers, the company creates all its own puppets, including such notable characters as "Yummy the Tummy Dragon" and "Kristen the Wizard," along with the "Char Woman" puppet, which became a regular on the Carol Burnett Show.

The free performance is at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 29 at Cross Middle School, 1000 W. Chapala Drive. Guests must sign in at the campus office. For details, call 744-7422.

HOMETOWN HIJINX: Fourth of July tradition gets a little twist with the Too Tuscon To Be Tucson Parade on Saturday, July 1.

This party turned askew features everything an eclectic patriot could desire, from art, balloons, bubbles and bagpipes to Bicas art bikes, doo-wop singers, dancers, decorated kids, dogs and kites, and jazz on the hoof. Did we mention "loony art surprises" for the whole family?

The parade begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Tucson/Pima Main Library, 140 N. Stone Ave. It continues south on Stone, turns right on Broadway, then east to Fifth Avenue, and left on Congress Street to the Ronstadt Transit Center, where it joins other Downtown Saturday Night festivities. Call 624-9977 for details.

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