[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Best Annual Festival
Best Annual Spectacle
Best Barber
Best Bowling Alley
Best Environmental News
Best "Fear And Loathing" Getaway
Best "First Lady" Of Local Sports
Best Historical Site
Best Jukebox
Best Local Athlete
Best Local Late-Night Show
Best Local Morning Show
Best Local Non-Profit Organization
Best Locally Produced Music Television
Best News For Boomers
Best Park Or Plaza
Best Place To Astonish Guests
Best Place To People Watch
Best Place To Soak Up Urban Ambiance
Best Place To Take French Tourists
Best Post Office
Best Public Restrooms
Best Radio DJ
Best Radio Station For Music
Best Radio Station For News
Best Reason To Live Midtown
Best Resource For Responsible Desert Living
Best "Retired" Environmental Activist
Best Sports Team
Best Talk-Radio Show
Best Tattooed Hairdresser
Best Thing About The Phone Book
Best Transmigration Of A Morning Show
Best TV Newscast
Best View From Above

Best Annual Festival

Fourth Avenue Street Fair

READERS' PICK: On any given day, Fourth Avenue is a good bet to catch an eyeful of Tucson in all its artistic and commercial diversity. But twice a year the avenue bursts forth with a no-holds-barred extravaganza of craft, food and song that has artisans and tourists from all over the nation charting their course for our fair burg. The winter festival makes early Christmas shopping a breeze, with some 400-odd vendors touting one-of-a-kind crafts, clothes and works of art; and no spring season would be complete without doing the commercial cakewalk with a fresh-squeezed cup of iced lemonade. There's no way you're going to walk away empty handed, no matter how good your intentions, but there's plenty of free music and entertainment to offset expenditures at this carnivalesque assault of all things eclectic.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Tucson Meet Yourself has been the readers' favorite throughout its lifespan, which ended in 1995. It's new incarnation, the Tucson Heritage Experience (T.H.E.) Festival, a project of the Cultural Exchange Council of Tucson, promises the same fine tradition of good music, food and folk art.

STAFF PICK: This is the ultimate convergence of artistic and financial success, an absolute cash machine that brings to town the greatest mariachi acts in the world, then fills the TCC with adoring fans for the week-long festivities. The Tucson International Mariachi Conference's events include folklorico workshops, mariachi seminars, the hugely successful aforementioned concert and the wild (and free) "Garibaldi Night" festivities near Armory Park, where food, music and dancing two-step well into the night. This year's show with Linda Ronstadt and Vikki Carr was one of the best ever.

A PERFECT 10: The Tucson Folk Festival, 11 years old and counting, is exactly the type of gathering more Tucsonans ought to take in, for several reasons: it's free, it's two days and nights of non-stop music and workshops, and it's one of those totally local events put on courtesy of the Tucson Kitchen Musicians' sweat, tears and volunteer efforts.

With no reliable venue for acoustic music, this is a chance for the folk, anti-folk, and folk-impaired musicians around town to flash their chops, or lack thereof. That's part of the fun. It is a great chance to hear longtime Tucson fixtures like Elise Greco, Earl Edmonson, Stefan George, and occasionally, south-flyin' flatpick fiend Peter McGlaughlin. The rest of the bill is rounded out by the whole mandala of styles--barrelhouse piano, Irish/Arabic fiddle tunes, fingerpickin' blues, and good ol' socially conscious folkie fun.

The only downside is the early May time slot and the '60s-era concrete urban renewal layout of El Presidio Park, which can lead to sparse crowds and some unintentionally "hot" performances.

To their credit, festival organizers have veered away from bringing in washed-up-trying-to-get-a-gig headliners. This is real folk music by real folks, with acts who are part of the scene. Kudos for this year's country roots/rockabilly diva Rosie Flores, the best thing to hit Tucson before the summer rains.

Case History

1998 Winner: Fourth Avenue Street Fair
1997 Winner: Fourth Avenue Street Fair
1995 Winner: Fourth Avenue Street Fair

Page Back

Home | Arts & Culture | Cafés | Chow | City Life | Kids | Outdoors
Saloons | Shopping | Most Wanted | Credits | Search

Copyright © 1995-98 Tucson Weekly

Page Forward