This originally ran Oct. 8, 2013.
Saturday’s program at Tucson Meet Yourself lasts from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 12, and includes the usual bewildering range of choices. The Folk Arts areas in the Courthouse Square and on Church Street will by active all day. Tohono O’odham artists will occupy the east side of Church St., and Yaqui artists the west side. The Cultural Kitchen will be going strong, winding up in the evening with a Soul Food Pantry Party, featuring peach cobbler, gumbo, and some of Mr. K’s famous barbecue, which should make the accompanying soul music slide down even better!
Over on the Community Matters stage you will hear classical Indian flute and tablas, followed by a recently-arrived Syrian violinist, playing Middle Eastern music. The same stage will see a panel discussion, sponsored by the Arizona Humanities Council, on “Why Does Ethnic Studies Matter for Western History? (The Western History Association meets in Tucson that weekend!)
Pow Wow 101 will return this year on both Saturday and Sunday, on the Global Rhythms Stage. The ever-popular corrido contest will be on the City Hall Stage from 2:30 'til 4 p.m. Finally, on that same stage at 10 p.m., there will be a waila dance with Gertie and the T.O. Boyz.
And in between and everywhere else there will be bagpipes, balalaikas, Carribean music, Peruvian music, Tex-Mex music, Puerto Rican music and dance, and the usual wide variety of performances. And the Low Rider Show continues north of Alameda Street, storytelling happens in La Cocina Restaurant.
Oh, yes … and food. Let’s concentrate on Jacome Plaza today. How about Vietnamese, Jamaican, Thai, Russian, Peruvian, Indian, Filipino, Chinese, and Iranian food? How about Sonoran hot dogs, churros, and fry bread? How about a taco to fill in the corners? And don’t forget the Cultural Kitchen, with food demonstrations and discussions throughout festival hours.
And it’s all free, except the food and the things you can buy. Why do we do it? Because we believe that Tucsonans really want to know the beauty and complexity of the community in which we all live. It’s not free to put on, of course. That sets us back about $300,000 each year. We get grants and gifts and sponsors and partners, of course. But if every person at the park were to kick in $1, we’d be able to do even more. So when you see our folks with their buckets or hear an appeal from the stage, please help us out. It’s your festival, too.