Tucson’s downtown district will be party central for Friday’s Sun Link launch, beginning with the grand opening at 9 a.m. at Fifth Avenue and Congress Street.

And once the pomp and circumstance subsides, expect the district to be hopping this weekend as it celebrates “Summer in the City.” Most retailers will stay open late and there will be concerts, special deals, a pop-up beach.

Perhaps the most-anticipated event outside of the streetcar’s debut — the opening this afternoon of Pizzeria Bianco, 272 E. Congress St.

“I feel the pressure — I like it,” said James Beard Award-winning chef-owner Chris Bianco, who said the restaurant will open around 4 p.m. today.

The “Summer in the City” lineup includes:


9 a.m. — Sunrise on Sun Link opening ceremony at Fifth Avenue and East Congress Street. Free. No backpacks will be allowed.

7 a.m. to 8 p.m. — “Put a Scoop on It” ice cream social at Maynards Market & Kitchen, 400 N. Toole Ave., features all sorts of ice cream-centered treats, some of them made with alcohol. The costs vary at this event, which continues throughout the weekend.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Stop by the Ben’s Bells office, 40 W. Broadway, to pick up a free map of the kindness-themed mosaic murals along the Sun Link route. The office is also open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

10:30 a.m. — Catch a streetcar history presentation at the Roy Building on the corner of North Stone Avenue and East Pennington Street. It repeats at 2 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

4 to 11 p.m. — A 60s beach party. A pop-up beach transforms the MLK parking lot on South Fifth Avenue across from Hotel Congress. Free.


8 a.m. to noon — Food in Root farmers market in the MLK lot. Fresh produce, baked goods and locally grown and canned jams, jellies and honey for sale.

9 p.m. — Hotel Congress: Wet Hot American Block Party at MLK lot features water balloon fights, a water slide, DJs and live entertainment including The Furys, Shrimp Chaperone, Bob Felix, Sid the Kid and Jalph. It’s free but you need to be 21 and older.

Noon to 6 p.m. — Classic cartoons weekend at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. These nostalgic cartoons harken to the days when everything was drawn frame-by-frame.


Noon to dark — Urban oasis at the MLK lot. The free downtown beach experience  extends through August.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642.

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.