Cheap Thrills

Making a blanket statement. Traders and trading families have histories and traditions that are as much a part of Arizona's history as the goods and native cultures they have represented for more than a century.

One such century-old trading dynasty is the Babbitt family of Northern Arizona. Jim Babbitt still owns and operates Babbitt's Backcountry Outfitters in Flagstaff, which specializes in the sale of Indian trade blankets. Babbitt will share his insight in an informal slide presentation, as well as show and sell a vast array of trade blankets by Pendleton and Ramona Sakiestewa.

The free lecture on Saturday begins at 10 a.m., followed by the show and sale until 4 p.m. Arizona State Museum is located just east of the Main Gate at Park Avenue and University Boulevard on the UA campus in Tucson. For more information, call 621-6302 or visit

Horsing around. Wondering just what the hell to do to mark the Year of the Horse?

The Lunar New Year Celebrations at Dao's Restaurants may have just the answer.

Although the Year of the Horse officially begins Tuesday, Hunan's and TaiPan's will hold a couple of celebrations a few days early.

The festivities start at noon Saturday at TaiPan's Restaurant, 446 N. Wilmot, and continue at noon Sunday at Hunan's Restaurant, 4689 E. Speedway Blvd.

Activities will include Lion Dances, Kung-Fu performances, and a display of Vietnamese dresses (Ao Dai). Additionally, an abundance of Chinese and Vietnamese traditional foods will be served along with regular menu fare. For more information, call 722-0055 or 323-3737.

Wheel-of-Fortune. Play the ever-popular Wheel of Fortune game during a Mardi Gras Festival.

Mexican and Filipino dishes (don't ask me how the fare fits in) will be available at Santa Catalina Mission Church's annual bash.

Balloons and games for the kids also are on tap, as well as live music and a baked goods sale. A raffle with prizes worth up to $2,000 wraps things up.

The event is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Santa Catalina, 14380 N. Oracle. For more information, call 818-2641.