With so many local events and festivals to choose from each year, it can be hard to keep track.

So, to ensure you make it to all of your faves, we created this list of Tucson's best and biggest celebrations throughout the year.

You know the ones — Tucson Meet Yourself, All Souls Procession, Return of the Mermaids, etc., etc.

Put them in your calendar. Then plan your yearly vacay.


This annual event held at the Children's Museum Tucson celebrates the many modes of transportation. Guests include TEP, Oro Valley Police Department, Pima County Sheriff's Department Zipline and ambulance. The event includes free admission to the museum all day. 

When: Jan 19, 2019, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Where: Children's Museum Tucson, 200 S. Sixth Ave.

Info: Go here

Tucson Jazz Festival

Jeffery Sandberg plucks the strings of his bass during rehearsal on Sunday, April 13, 2014 at the Tucson Jazz Institute in Tucson, Ariz. 

Featuring well known jazz acts from around the country, this is a two week festival, with the main event being a free daylong Downtown Jazz Fiesta on MLK day on two outdoor stages and other venues downtown. This year's feature acts include The Hot Sardines, Bobby McFerrin, Asleep at the Wheel, Magos Herrera Quartet, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque and Joey Alexander.

When: Jan. 11-21, 2019

Info: Click here

Dillinger Days

Celebrate the January 1934 capture by Tucson Police and Fire departments of notorious gangster John Dillinger and his gang with re-enactments, car shows, artifact displays, a speakeasy and live music. 

When: Jan. 18-19, 2019

Where: Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress Street

Info: Go here

Tucson Fringe Theater Festival

“Meet Your Realtor” will be performed by the playwright, Sherrie Martin.

A three-day non-juried and uncensored performing arts festival that takes place at six different venues. Buy tickets to see as many shows as you want. The festival gives you the chance to see nontraditional performing arts on the cheap. 

When: Jan. 10-13, 2019

Info: Click here

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

Jim Cresawn, who traveled from Virginia, looks at a table of crystals at the 22nd Street show during the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017.

For a little more than two weeks in February nearly 4,000 trade companies from every continent converge in Tucson at about 45 venues selling their gems, minerals, fossils and other items. 

When: Feb. 2-17, 2019

Info: Click here

Family Sci-Fest

Experience hands-on science activities at this annual event at the Children's Museum Tucson. You'll see robots, space stuff and much more. Plus, free admission all day.

When: Feb. 16, 2019, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Where: Tucson Children's Museum, 200 S. Sixth Ave.

Info: Go here

La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Tucson Rodeo

Blythe Beshears and her horse hop over one of the barrels after knocking it over during their run at barrel racing for the fourth session of the La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Rodeo, Friday, February 23, 2018, Tucson, Ariz.

Watch bull riders, barrel riders, mutton bustin and more at the Celebration of Cowboys. The yearly event includes the Tucson Rodeo Parade, which is said to be the longest non-motorized parade. 

When: Feb. 16-24, 2019

Info: Click here

Tucson Festival of Books

A Madagascar Hissing Cockroach catches the attention of Danica Rivera, 7, under the Natural World Tent during the Tucson Festival of Books at the University of Arizona on March 12, 2017.

You'll find everything for the book lover and knowledge seeker here, from Science City, to author tents and workshops to a kid's pavilion and entertainment. There's something for everyone in your whole family at this this annual two-day event. You may even get to meet some of your favorite authors. 

When: March 2-3, 2019

Info: Click here

Fourth Avenue Street Fair

Wire and papier mache figurinnes from Sarena Mann Studios add an air of fantasy and lightness to the 4th Ave. Street Fair in Tucson, AZ. Photo taken Friday, March 20, 2015. Photo by Ron Medvescek / Arizona Daily Star.

The street fair features artists from around the world, crafters,entertainers and food vendors twice annually, in spring and winter. 

When: March 22-24, 2019 and Dec. 7-9, 2019

Info: Click here


10 Years perform at KFMA day in Kino Stadium on April 16, 2018. KFMA day is hosted annually, with a perfect circle headlining the 2018 festival.

All day alternative rock music festival at Kino Stadium. This year features Shinedown and Asking Alexandria. More bands will be announced later. 

When: March 23, 2019, noon to 10 p.m. 

Info: Go here

Spring Festival of the Arts

The Spring Festival of the Arts features about 150 artists and exhibitors, food trucks and live entertainment. 

This two day festival hosted by Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance features up to 150 artists and exhibitors in all mediums, live strolling performances, food vendors and arts activities for the whole family. 

When: March 30-31, 2019

Info: Go here


Robbie Clark, 9, gives a hula hoop a try while on North Church Avenue and East Congress Street during Cyclovia in downtown Tucson. Clark helped his mother, who was a volunteer for Target, to make sure people were crossing the intersection safely during the event. Cyclovia, meaning the temporary closure of several streets to cars, allows for bicylists, skateboarders, runners, walkers and others to enjoy the day exploring fun activities throughout the route.

Select streets are closed off to cars so you can play, bike, walk, jog, skate or roll in the road. It's a way to have good old fashioned people-powered fun in the streets without worrying about traffic. Plus there are lots of fun activities along the route, such as hula hoops, contests and games. 

When: April 7, 2019, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Info: Click here

Arizona International Film Festival

Watch independent films at The Screening Room and other venues around Tucson during this 11-day festival. This year's theme is Bridging Cultures and provides a way for independent cinema to share the voices from diverse cultures. This is the 28th year of the festival and during that time it has exhibited more than 2,800 films representing 95 countries. 

When: April 10-21, 2019

Info: Go here

Tucson Folk Festival

Janelle Loes wraps up her set on the Plaza Stage in El Presidio Park during the 30th Annual Tucson Folk Festival, held downtown, Saturday, May 2, 2015, Tucson, Ariz. Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star

Celebrate American and folk music traditions for two days in this annual family friendly event. The festival features five stages of traditional, contemporary and ethnic folk and acoustic music. More than 120 groups or soloists will perform, including national headliner Red Molly, and local headliner Heather Hardy.

When: April 6-7, 2019

Where: Jacome Plaza, 101 N. Stone Ave.

Info: Go here

UA Spring Fling

Riders' faces adjust to the Mega Drop's release during Spring Fling 2017. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

This student-run carnival features carnival rides, games, food booths and entertainment at the University of Arizona mall. 

When: April 12-14, 2019

Info: Go here

Pima County Fair

The Endeavour spins in the night among the other rides lighting up the fairgrounds in the carnival at the Pima County Fair, Friday, April 20, 2018, Tucson, Ariz.

Carnival rides, food, shows, concerts, animals and more.

When: April 18-28, 2019

Info: Go here

Agave Heritage Festival

This week-long festival for those 21 and over celebrates the cultural, commercial and culinary significance of the agave plant. There will be talks, tours, tastings, dinners and exhibits at several venues including Hotel Congress, The Carriage House, Mission Garden, Maynards Market & Kitchen and others. 

When: April 23-May 5, 2019

Info: Go here


Fans hang out in the lobby of Hotel Congress at HOCO Fest 2009.

A three-day event featuring more than 50 musical acts, liquor tastings, guest lecturers, workshops, vintage clothing and vinyl record fairs and after parties. 

When: Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2019

Info: Go here

Return of the Mermaids

A dozen girls/mermaids crash the stage to dance to the music of the band the Surfbroads, performing at Haggerty Plaza for the Return of the Mermaids, Saturday, August 12, 2016, Tucson, Ariz. Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star

Believe it or not, Tucson is full of landlocked mermaids and they all come out in costume to celebrate the monsoons and walk in a parade every August. There's live music, a DJ, art vendors, kids activities and a costume contest. The event spans North Fourth Avenue and downtown. 

When: Aug. 10, 2019

Info: Go here

Dusk Music Festival

Singer Luna Aura opens the day during the Dusk Music Festival at Rillito Park, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, Tucson, Ariz. Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star

This two-day music festival in the fall features nationally recognized acts, as well as Arizona artists and local foods. 

When: Nov. 9-10, 2019

Info: Go here

Oro Valley Music Festival

Kaitlyn Need dances with her friends to the music of Jana Kramer on the first day of the Oro Valley Music Festival. The music continues Sunday at the Golf Club at Vistoso.

A two-day music festival featuring local acts, as well as well known pop-rock and country stars.

When: Early October

Info: Go here

Arizona Insect Festival

Kids with insects at the Arizona Insect Festival.

Learn about, touch and eat bugs at this free one-day festival hosted by the University of Arizona. 

When: Oct. 20, 2019

More info: Go here

Tucson Meet Yourself

Seven-month-old Freya Pennebaker tries to get her own sampling of fry bread from mom Maggie Chen's plate.

This three-day festival happens every October to celebrate the diverse culture, food and art of the people that live here. It's also known as "Tucson Eat Yourself" because of all of the delicious foods. 

When: October 11-13, 2019

Info: Go here

Procession of Little Angels

Simone Stanley, 5, adorned with wings and halo, stands and ponders what she wants to put in a poem about her late Grandpa Jim.

Children and families gather to paint wings, create paper flowers, get their faces painted and approach grief from a child's point of view. There's live performances, a children's altar and a small procession around Armory Park. 

When: Nov. 9, 2019, 3 to 7 p.m. 

Info: Go here

All Souls Procession

There were cameras aplenty and many patient, happy souls at the All Souls Procession in Tucson on Nov. 4, 2018.

This event is huge. More than 150,000 people gather downtown, some in costume, some carrying memorials or altars to celebrate, mourn and reflect on those who have died. There's music. There are dancers. There is a ton of creative energy. The group walks about two miles together to watch a finale that includes performances by Flam Chen and the burning of the urn.  

When: Nov. 10, 2019, 4-10 p.m. 

Info: Go here

Tucson Tamal and Heritage Festival

Helpers prepare tamales for judging at the Tamal and Heritage Festival at Casino Del Sol AVA on Saturday, December 1, 2007.

The festival is a celebration of tamales from the Southwest and Mexico, which includes a tamale contest, local entertainment and artisan, food and farmers market vendors.

When: Dec. 7, 2019

Info: Go here

Holiday Nights a Million Lights

Spotlight on Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul Park

Nearly a million lights will again transform Tohono Chul Park at 7366 N. Paseo Del Norte, as Holiday Nights resumes Friday. The annual event, which includes music, dance performances, hot cider and holiday treats takes place 5:30-8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 13. The cost is $15; $2 for 11 and under. There is also a holiday buffet for $29.95; $14.50 for ages 4-12. More information at 742-6455.

More than a million twinkling lights illuminate the paths of Tohono Chul while musicians perform throughout the gardens. There's also a sing-along and star gazing through a telescope. 

When: Fridays and Saturdays in December

Info: Go here

Winterhaven Festival of Lights

A young girl lights up at the fake snowfall and decorations during opening night of the 2017 Winterhaven Festival of Lights.

This is your go-to holiday light viewing destination. The whole neighborhood is transformed into a lit up wonderland. Plus there are food trucks, hot chocolate and fake snow. 

When: Mid-Dec. to Dec. 26

Info: Go here

Parade of Lights and Festival

Santa Claus, atop a Tucson Fire Department ladder truck, waves to the crowd during the 23rd Annual Parade of Lights.

The festival starts off with a festival, live music, food and other family activities. It's followed by Tucson's annual parade of all things lit up. You'll see dancers with lit up dresses, Santa, cars with holiday lights and more.

When: Mid Dec.

Info: Go here

Angela Pittenger | This Is Tucson