We're still waiting for rains despite annual plea to saint
Riders from Florecitas del Desierto Escaramuzas perform during the 13th annual Dia De San Juan Fiesta along the west bank of the Santa Cruz River. The fiesta Thursday celebrated the start of the rainy season. To see more photos go to azstarnet.com/photo

Legend says that on June 24, 1540, Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado stood on the banks of the parched Santa Cruz riverbed and prayed for rain. It rained, and Coronado deemed that from that day forward the summer rains would come on the 24th day of June.

For the 15th year, Tucsonans can take up Coronado's cause during a day of activities dedicated to ushering in the summer rainy season. El Día de San Juan Fiesta takes place this Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m. at Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento, located just west of Interstate 10 along Congress.

Free and family-friendly, the Fiesta will feature a procession that will begin at the west bank of the Santa Cruz River with an antique statue of San Juan Bautista, live music by Olga Flores con Grupo Alma y Corazon, dance performances by local folkloric dance troupes, food, arts vendors and activities for children. Josefina Lizárraga, owner of West Boutique Florist and west Tucson resident, will be honored as La Reina de La Fiesta.

In keeping with the monsoon theme, free bottles of water will be provided.

If you haven't been to the Fiesta previously, then don't miss the "charros," or men on horseback who perform rope tricks, and "escaramuzas," women on horseback.

'Chubasco' came, went fast

In 1978 some local historians and scientists tried to get us to use the word "chubasco" in place of monsoon. Chubasco means squall or thunderstorm in Spanish. No one paid the slightest heed, save for a Star editor who wrote an editorial welcoming the change. This little semantic squall soon blew out of town, and "monsoon" it remains.

SOURCE: Arizona Daily Star archives