BAKED B-DAY: With all the onerous changes afoot, sometimes it's refreshing to take a step back in the Baked Pueblo's history, to a time when the men were men and the commode was still nestled outback.

Dedicated locals return to yesteryear this weekend, which will mark Tucson's 223rd birthday, with a string of downtown festivities on Saturday, August 15.

Cheap Thrills Here's a refresher: The Royal Presidio of San Agustine del Tucson was founded on August 20, 1775, by Don Hugo O'Conor, Padre Francisco Garces, and Lt. Juan Carmona.

That date is remembered with a torch-light procession beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Ronstadt Transit Center, traveling west to the Old Courthouse. There, the city's original three amigos are brought back to life long enough to retell the Presidio's history, while contemporary troubadours Ted Ramirez and Bobby Benton belt out songs in Spanish and English to commemorate the town.

Following the parade, celebrants are invited to retreat to a Sonoran buffet and dancing at Old Town Artisans, 201 N. Court Ave. Cost for the dinner/dance is $25 per person in advance, $30 at the door, with guests encouraged to dress as their favorite historical characters. For reservations and other information, call 615-9160.

The Tucson Museum of Art gets into the spirit by opening the historic Casa Cordova, 140 N. Main Ave. The Tucson Carriage Company will provide rides, and Hector Soza will be on hand with his miniature "Choo-Choo Train" for seniors and kids.

Other events scattered downtown include an artificial intelligence and adaptive technology display, an international food and culture display, an African market, numerous cultural and art exhibits provided by PCC, and live jazz on Fourth Avenue's Winsett Park stage, by Uncle Willie's Five. For more information, call 624-9977.

PICK AND CHOOSE: A cadre of candidates will expound for public consumption when the Pima Association of Taxpayers hosts its "Meet the Candidates" forum from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, August 15, in Woods Library, 3455 N. First Ave.

Contenders for every post imaginable, including the state Legislature, Congress, the Pima County Board of Supervisors District 4, school boards, and justices of the peace have all been invited. How many choose to attend could be an education in itself.

Here's the schedule: Legislative candidates will appear from 1 to 2 p.m.; District 4 candidates from 2 to 3 p.m.; candidates for school boards and other posts from 3 to 3:30 p.m.; and Fifth Congressional District candidates from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

This is your chance to hear this year's wannabe pols give their perspectives on the local and state picture, and one of the best opportunities for you and yours to judge the folks who may soon be running our lives. For information, call 742-4446. TW

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