TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The 47th Annual Tucson Meet Yourself Folklife Festival is shifting gears this year. The traditional 3-day weekend event will now take place throughout the entire month of October, with dozens of online events and only a handful of safely-distanced in-person events.
This year’s festival will include food to-go, prerecorded performances, a folks arts marketplace and intimate online conversations and demonstrations. The event will kick off with an organized low-rider car cruise.
The month-long event will promote to-go food purchases from favorite vendors featuring cuisines from Poland, Cuba, Vietnman, Egypt- among others- as well as Tohono O’odham fry bread and red chili.
Dance and musical performances will also showcase worldwide cultures- from Bulgarian music to Tango Guitar, Flamenco guitar, Japanese drumming and much more.
The event is “not TMY as we know it,” says Festival Program Director Maribel Alvarez. “We will miss the social chemistry born out of density in the civic center of Tucson, the social metabolism that happens when cultures bump into each other and ‘meet.’ But it is still an affirmation of sense of place for dozens of ethnic heritage artists and enclaves that make up Tucson. We are here and we are your neighbor.”
Below are the 6 program tracks for this year’s event:
1. Cruise for Healing: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 5 pm.
Location: Route starts and ends at Rodeo Park, 5001 S. Nogales Hwy.
Led by the Dukes Car Club, this organized 19-mile cruise around Tucson celebrates the chromatic shine and legacy low-rider cars. Organized cruises are a common communal ritual to mark special occasions—times of transitions like weddings, quinceañeras and funerals- but also to draw attention to times of change and upheaval. Community members are encouraged to join in or watch along the route with signs of encouragement.
2. "Tucson Eat Yourself: Pop-up food to-go stands: Saturdays and Sundays for three weeks in October, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Locations: Oct. 10 & 11 at Mercado San Agustin; Oct. 17 & 18 at Cafe Santa Rosa; and Oct. 24 & 35 at Demitrios Greek Orthodox Church.
Food-to-go from selected beloved TMY food vendors at 3 Tucson locations. Study the menu first then show up to order, pay, and take home. TMY performers share cultural expressions in music and dance on large LED screens in special performances filmed especially for 2020. Masks required & no dining areas available.
3. Lit Up: Traditional Artists on Public Walls: Fridays in October from dusk- 10 p.m.
Video projections of traditional dancers and manual artists doing what they do best--moving and making. The precise and sinuous movements of Japanese traditional dancers, the athletic leaps and twirls of Polish folk dancing, the steady delicate hand of a Henna artist, and more writ-large on Tucson walls.
4. Tucson Meet Yourself Virtual: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays on October, various times.
Location: Online, via Facebook and YouTube.
Curated online conversations and demonstrations celebrating and exploring folk arts, foodways, and performing arts. Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui people, Japanese dance and drumming forms, capoeira, Celtic traditions, local sites of food production, and more. Favorite performers return with pre-recorded performances, among them: Odaiko Sonora, Tucson’s own taiko drumming group; the dynamic Polish dance troupe, Lajkonik; Syrian master violin Fadi Iskandar; Old-time Appalachian musician, Dan Levenson; and Tohono O’odham Waila from Gertie N the T.O. Boyz.
5. Folks Arts Online Marketplace: Oct. 1-31.
This pilot marketplace features the work of 8 folk artists sharing works of material culture distinctive to the southwest. Support their livelihood in these uncertain economic times. Artists receive 100 percent of the sales revenue.
6. Drive-in Concert: Friday, Oct. 30, from 6:30 p.m.- 8 p.m. & 8-30 p.m.- 10 p.m.
Location: 1055 W. Grant Rd.
Renowned Pascua Yaqui performer Gabriel Ayala closes the 2020 festival with an on-screen drive-in concert, with an opening act from Yellow Bird Indian Dancers. Suggested donation: $10. View the concert from your car at safe distances from other cars. Snacks available for purchase from roving vendors. Audiences are required to wear masks when not inside their cars.
For more information, visit: www.TucsonMeetYourself.org.
Tucson Greek Festival
The 45th Annual Greek Festival is also continuing its tradition online this year.
On September 25-27, between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., people can order food online for pickup.
All food orders must be picked up at St. Demitrios Greek Orthodox Church at 1145 E. Fort Lowell Rd during the hours mentioned above.
To pre-order, you can visit the Tucson Greek Festival website [HERE].
All food will be prepared for each specific order. No refunds will be given.