Cheap Thrills CARRION LUGGAGE: The Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park bids its favorite scavengers a fond adios on Saturday, September 13, with the annual Bye, Bye Buzzards Day.

Each year about this time, the turkey vultures depart their summer arboretum home for warmer climes, namely those of Central and South America. In their honor, Boyce Thompson opens its gates an hour early, allowing visitors to see the big birds roosting in the Eucalyptus trees, or sunning themselves on the cliffs of Magma Ridge. As the thermal air currents begin to rise, they launch themselves from the rocks, catching those currents to continue their constant search for the newly departed. In other words, lunch.

Arboretum curator Dr. Carol Crosswhite will lead bird-watching tours through the grounds, and cake and refreshments will follow. Other wildlife will be on hand, along with the center's 323 acres of lush desert fauna.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5, $2 for children ages 5 to 12. The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is three miles west of Superior on Highway 60. Take Highway 89 north to Florence Junction; turn east on Highway 60. Drive time is approximately two hours. For information, call (520) 689-2811.

LA INDEPENDENCIA: The date is September 16, 1810; the place, Guanajuato, Mexico. With the help of local peasants and prisoners, Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costillo initiates a revolt that will reverberate across the sea to Europe. When it's over, Mexico will finally taste freedom from its longtime Spanish overlords.

Now Radio "Z," 105.3 FM, sponsors a lively celebration of those long ago events with a Mexican Independence Day celebration in Kennedy Park. Along with the usual array of fine regional food, this year's festival includes a wide range of live musicians and entertainers.

In addition, celebration coordinator Irma Almada promises "the biggest fireworks display ever" starting at 9 p.m. on Sunday, September 14.

Free event runs from Friday through Monday, September 12 through 15, at Kennedy Park, 3700 S. Mission Road. Hours are 6 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, noon to 11:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 6 to 11:30 p.m. Monday. For information, call 325-3054.

HEAVENLY HARMONIES: In Sing Down the Rain, author/storyteller Judi Moreillon and artist Michael Chiago illuminate the eternal rhythms of the desert and the spirit of its longtime inhabitants, the Tohono O'odham people. This children's book traces the O'odham's rain ceremony, and vibrant illustrations bring that fascinating tradition to life.

Today, Moreillon and Chiago will be on hand as children read selections from Sing Down the Rain at 11:15 and 11:45 a.m., and at 12:15 and 12:45 p.m., at the Arizona Historical Society, 949 E. Second Ave. Admission is free. For details, call 628-5774. TW

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