Cheap Thrills PATAGONIA PARTY: That verdant little burg a mere hour south of Tucson breaks out in fine seasonal form with the Patagonia Fall Festival on Saturday and Sunday, October 11 and 12.

Though home to occasional civic strife, Patagonia is as close to Mayberry as you can get outside of a Hollywood sound stage--with a dash of Sedona tossed in for good esoteric measure. There are pretty little houses dotting striking hillsides, cute store fronts, a grassy central park, general store, and family trees thicker than a mesquite patch on the Avra Valley flood plain.

And every fall, gracious Patagonians share their idyllic scene with city folk. This two-day rural romp includes music--everything from heel-stomping bluegrass and steamy Latin to time-honored country and western--laced by the lovely scent of barbecue, countless arts booths and a beautiful mountain backdrop.

From 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Rancho Deluxe takes the stage for a Saturday night dance. On Sunday, the gastronomic action kicks off with a pancake breakfast sponsored by the Rotary Club. That's in addition to raffles, kid's games, miniature train rides, and horseback pistol shooting demonstrations by Billy "Concho" Lang and John Mallory.

The free event begins at 10 a.m. today and tomorrow in Patagonia. Take I-10 east, turning south at the Sonoita exit. Turn west at the Sonoita junction. For information, call (520) 287-2734.

WRITE OF PASSAGE: Hard to believe, but it's been 39 years since the indomitable Book Mark carved out a spot on the Tucson landscape.

In that time, it's gained national recognition and a hardcore local following, even as it struggles for market share against deep-pocketed superstores.

It's true: The Book Mark has no espresso bar, no baguettes, no CD selection, not even a surreal brigade of sparkling cashiers and high-tech registers.

What it does have is a staff that knows its stuff, an excellent selection devoted to local authors, and a delightfully non-sterile ambiance.

In celebration of that increasingly endangered spirit, today 19 writers turn out in tribute to the humble shop. The roster of names reads like a Who's Who of seriously creative types, from Charles Bowden and Max Cannon to Patricia Preciado Martin, Judi Moreillon and Brian Laird.

Singings, drawings and refreshments, along with a story time for kids featuring a special appearance by "Arthur," from the new PBS series, are among the highlights, from

1 to 3 p.m. at The Book Mark, 5001 E. Speedway. For information, call 881-6350.

TWILIGHT STROLL: City grind got you down? Tired of traffic, incorporation spats, breezy officialdom and the dead office air?

The irrepressible folks of the Tucson Volkssport Club can break that wretched urban rut with a 12-k Moonlight Walk in Sabino Canyon.

Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. in the visitor center ramada at Sabino Canyon. Event is free. For information, call 722-9530. TW

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