Cheap Thrills

TARRAGON Y ESTRAGON. Bilingual education takes a decidedly different tack at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, where experts on the herbs of Mexican-American gardens will interpret the uses of 15 herbs in Spanish and English.

Familiar herbs take on new meaning when their bilingual roots are explored: estragon (tarragon), romero (rosemary) and manzanilla (chamomile) are just a few to check out during the gardens' 13th annual herb fair.

Visitors can wander around the garden looking at many herbs perfect for growing in Tucson's climates, like oregano, echinacea, sage, scented geraniums, sweet bay and lemon balm.

In the shade of the historical gardens, vendors will set up tables with herbal wares of many kinds including herbal crafts, supplies and seeds and information about herbal uses.

Don't forget to stop in at the scone booth during the fair, which runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Admission is free. For more information, call Cecily Gill, 326-9686, ext. 21.

JUST 58 MILES TO GO. If you're not in shape, just show up to cheer.

The Tour of the Tucson Mountains bicycling event on Sunday is 58 miles of twists, turns and ups and downs around the perimeter of the scenic Tucson Mountains. As an alternative, cyclists can elect to ride a mere 30 miles.

Either way, the day sounds like a challenge--one organizers say will attract about 1,000 cyclists. More than 250 volunteers will be working the tour, which also includes a 4-mile Fun Ride for children 12 and under.

If you want to ride, or would rather show your support for riders, the start and finish for the main event is Pima Community College West, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Thirty-milers who start at Desert Winds Elementary School also finish at the PCC campus.

The 58-mile race starts at 7 a.m., the kids' ride starts at 7:30 a.m. (at PCC) and the 30-mile race starts at 9 a.m. Applications to participate can be found in Tail Winds, available at cycle shops. Packet pick-up and last-minute registration is 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 21 at El Con Mall.

CELEBRATING ALL THINGS EARTH. Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't rain Saturday.

Soggy weather would not be welcomed by Arizona students competing in a solar race at 11 a.m. in the Earth Day festival and parade downtown.

Tucson Electric Power's solar trailer will be on display, as will alternative-energy vehicles and environmentally friendly products.

Check out the demonstrations on how to cook with a solar oven and program information about recycling and water conservation.

Also, a must-see art exhibit called RUMBA features re-used materials turned artwork created by local children and artists.

Get to the seventh annual event by 10 a.m. to watch the parade. The fun starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 1 p.m. at Armory Park and the Tucson Children's Museum, on Sixth Avenue between 12th and 13th streets. All activities are free. For more information, call 572-4122.

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