Western Heritage Festival. In some ways, it feels like there's always a Western Heritage Festival going on at Old Tucson. But in this special partnership with the Arizona Sonora Western Heritage Foundation, they're adding demonstrations from local cultural groups to the normal entertainment mix—and not to mention a visit from Santa Claus. Power from the Past will have early engines, tractors and equipment on display, and they'll be making ice cream using the engines! The Sonoran Plein Air Painters will be holding a "quick draw" competition and selling art. And Ha:San Preparatory and Leadership School will be selling traditional O'odham food. There's also a period fashion show, handweaving demonstrations and the release of a new whiskey! Truly the best of the West! 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Dec. 1. Old Tucson, 201 S. Kinney Road. $21.95 GA, $10.95 kids 4 to 11.
Cabaret. If you're not a fan of musicals because you think they're all full of manically cheerful performers living out painfully predictable storylines, how's this for a setting? It's 1931 in Berlin, and most of the action takes place surrounding a seedy nightclub called the Kit Kat Klub. There's a love story between a German landlord and a Jewish fruit vendor, some deliciously racy numbers, a whole lot of metaphor and several Tony Awards. Don't miss the Arizona Theatre Company's production of it! Sara Bruner directs, Jesse Sanchez music directs and Jaclyn Miller choreographs. Saturday, Nov. 30, through Sunday, Dec. 29. With showtimes at 2 p.m., 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., depending on the day. Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. $50 to $80., or $29 to $58 for preview shows Saturday, Nov. 30 through Thursday, Dec. 5.
Theater & Performances
Jesus Christ Superstar. So, you know the story of Jesus Christ. But if you don't know this show, then you probably don't know the story of Jesus Christ through Judas Iscariot's eyes, who I think we can all agree does not have a great reputation as far as that whole story goes. This cult classic, with a worldwide fanbase and a number of absolute bangers (Gethsemane, anyone?), is coming to town through Broadway in Tucson, so you know they're going to put on a good show. Lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Tuesday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 8 with shows at various times. Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. $25 to $125+, with discounts for seniors, military and students.
Tilly the Trickster. For the holiday season this year, Live Theatre Workshop is putting on a show that's not full of snowflakes or Christmas trees, but centers around some of the other core tenets of the season, like family, music and raucous laughter. Mischievous Tilly loves to play tricks on her family, friends and even her teacher, from feeding them toothpaste-flavored cookies to giving them leaky cups. How will she react when her family decides to turn the tables and get back at her? You'll have to come see! The show is based on the book by Molly Shannon, who's created characters in Saturday Night Live, Superstar and Never Been Kissed. Fridays through Sundays from Friday, Nov. 29, to Saturday, Dec. 28 with 7 p.m. shows on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. shows on Saturdays and Sundays. Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway Blvd. $12 adults, $10 kids.
Reid Park Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair. This fair, full of work by local painters, photographers, potters, jewelers and other artists, has been going strong for more than three decades, attracting over 160 vendors from all over the Southwest. Everything at the show is handmade, which makes giving one of these items as a gift extra special (especially if you decide to lie and tell the recipient that you made it with your own hands). But it's also just a lovely way to spend an afternoon, whether you are gift shopping, treating yourself, or just enjoying the park on a weekend afternoon. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 1. Reid Park (900 S. Randolph Way), just west of the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center. Free.
Holiday Art Festival at Cat Mountain Station. You can truly never have too many art festivals during the holiday season. Whether you like to go to get some Christmas shopping done, to support local artists, or just to destress by walking around and looking at pretty things, it's hard to go wrong at one of these babies. This particular festival at Cat Mountain Station features a variety of arts and crafts, plus live bluegrass music by Cadillac Mountain. You can also pop into Buffalo Trading Post for more shopping and grab some lunch at Coyote Pause Café. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1. Cat Mountain Station, 2740 S. Kinney Road.
Made in Tucson Market. It's a big weekend for shopping, and you can spend all of it on Fourth Avenue if you'd like. Lots of stores on Fourth are doing Black Friday deals, it's always a good idea to shop local on Small Business Saturday, and they're wrapping up the weekend with this special market. The space brings together local artists to swap art tips and sell their wares, while also giving community members a chance to meet some of the people who make Tucson beautiful face-to-face. All merchants at the market must be Tucson residents who make their goods locally, so you can feel extra good about knowing exactly where your money is going (not far). 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1. Historic Fourth Ave.
O'odham Made It Market. Okay, there's room for one more holiday market in City Week this week, right? These art pieces, including art, clothing, jewelry and décor, are handmade by local members of the Tohono O'odham tribe. There's also a nice selection of farm-to-table produce so you can cook yourself a nice meal when you get home, as a reward for getting some holiday shopping done. Enjoy live Waila music by Mumsigo Family while you shop, and the kids can hang out in the bounce house. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30. San Xavier Co-Op, 8100 S. Oidak Wog.
Miracle on Congress Street. Tucson may not have a 34th St., but we do have a street that's pretty much the place to be all year round, and that's no different during the holidays. Throughout the holiday season, the HUB and Playground Bar and Lounge are partnering to provide a little holiday cheer downtown on the weekends. Crafts, holiday treats and family fun will be made even better by the presence of adoptable puppies and Santa Claus himself! There's also a bar with holiday-inspired cocktails, and hot cocoa and cookies for the kids. Fridays through Sundays from Nov. 29 to Dec. 22. 4 to midnight Fridays, 11 a.m. to midnight Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. 300 W. Congress St.
Gingerbread House Reveal. Every year, El Conquistador Resort builds a marvelously large, life-size gingerbread house that makes you almost understand how Hansel and Gretel could have gotten so easily carried away in that old story, and also makes you start to wonder if it might be feasible to build yourself a gingerbread house to live in. This year, they're getting ready to top themselves once again. At the grand reveal, make ornaments and decorate crafts, snack on holiday treats, watch a movie and take pictures with Santa. It'll be a housewarming party like no other. 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4. El Conquistador Tucson, 10000 N. Oracle Road. In lieu of an entrance fee, please bring a new, unwrapped toy donation for Toys for Tots.
25th Annual Parade of Lights. There's something about being downtown in a city during the holidays that makes everything feel especially festive. Is it because there are so many Christmas movies that take place in New York City? Is it because going downtown often means you're celebrating and having fun anyway? Is it just because of all the decorations? Whatever the reason, don't miss this event full of lit-up floats, the must-see tree lighting ceremony and free streetcar rides all day long! With 60 illuminated buildings and nearly 150 street trees wrapped with lights, downtown truly is a wonderland this time of year. 4:30 to 9 p.m. (tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. and parade at 6:30 p.m.) on Saturday, Nov. 30. Jacome Plaza, 101 N. Stone Ave. Free.
Sonoran Glass School Winter Open House. Curious about the art of glassblowing? Want to watch some handblown ornaments getting made right before your eyes? For that matter, want to try out making your own glass ornament or snowflake? Head over to this open house to do some learning, Christmas shopping and general fawning over this fascinating, beautiful art. You can tour the studios, gallery and sculpture garden, and, if you make any purchases, know that your proceeds support glass art education in Southern Arizona. And who knows, maybe you'll fall in love with torchworking, ornament-designing or glass orb-creating. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1. Sonoran Glass School, 633 W. 18th St. Free.
Tea Ceremony. It seems tea has always been a source of comforting ritual through the ages, whether you settle with a book and a cup of tea after a long day, make tea at an electric kettle at your desk at work, or like to meet up for tea with friends. The canons of etiquette for Japanese tea ceremonies have been around for nearly a thousand years, and at this ceremony, you can take part of them. A tea master in classical kimono will prepare and serve you a bowl of matcha and a traditional Japanese sweet to nibble on. 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1. Yume Japanese Gardens, 2130 N. Alvernon Way. $25, or $15 for members.
Type in Tuesday! Type in Tuesdays are truly, totally Tucsontastic. If you have friends coming to town and you're not sure how to describe the Old Pueblo's artsy, old-school, charmingly Western vibe, just tell them that on the first Tuesday of every month, there's a local brewhouse you can go to where you can type on an old-fashioned typewriter. Friends of the brewhouse bring 'em in by the dozen, so you can write a poem, or a love letter, or make a poster for your band's next gig. Type your heart out (and take a nice break from the internet) with a beer in hand. If you've got a story in your heart, get a beer in your hand and come on out. 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3. Public Brewhouse, 209 N. Hoff Ave. Free.
Fun in General
Thanksgiving Cross Country Classic. Yeah, this is a 5K and 1.5-mile run literally on Thanksgiving morning. There are some people who would never even consider spending the morning of what is supposed to be the most gluttonous day of the year in this country with some organized exercise, and that's not unreasonable. But if this sort of thing is up your alley, here are the details: The race is around Reid Park, with separate events for men and women. It's "European-style," which means it's on grass and dirt, and even has obstacles, like hay bale and water jumps. And the prizes include treats like pumpkin pies! 8 a.m. start for the first race. Thursday, Nov. 28. Reid Park (900 S. Randolph Way) at Ramada 10. $25, or $23 for Southern Arizona Roadrunner members. Or $30 for day-of registration. The 1.5K fun run is $15, or $20 for day-of registration.
Friends and Family Skate Night. When was the last time you put on a pair of roller skates and glided (or stumbled) your way around a roller rink? The Tucson Indoor Sports Center invites you to relive the glory days of your youth at this open skate with games, races, music, drinks and fun! You gotta bring your own skates, so if you don't have a pair, face it: It's probably time to invest in some roller skates/roller blades. Odds are, they'll make your life a lot more fun and whimsical. L8R SK8R. 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29. Tucson Indoor Sports Center, 1065 W. Grant Road. $5.
PCC Winter Concert. With a good mix of holiday music, classical standards, some musical theater and even a Beatles medley, this joint performance by the Pima Community College Orchestra and the PCC Wind Ensemble is a lovely way to spend an evening no matter your music taste. The orchestra will be playing some Saint-Saens, Smetana, Beethoven and Bach, along with that Beatles medley and a piece from the opera Mazeppa. The wind ensemble is playing some Stravinsky , Bagley's National Emblem and Mambo from West Side Story. Plus plenty more! 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5. PCC Center for the Arts Proscenium Theater, West Campus, 2202 W. Anklam Rd. $5 to $6.