Locals, businesses welcome summer shift near UA campus

Updated: May. 13, 2018 at 9:44 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Commencement at the University of Arizona gives way to a new crowd. The end of graduation weekend means an exodus from Tucson for thousands of people.

The remaining citizens appear to be making the most of it.

Gentle Ben's Brewing Company on University Boulevard in Main Gate Square was packed full over the weekend, as the drinks were flowing and the food was frying.

"Chaos. It was crazy," said servers Sam Warren and Nicolas Lind-Jensen.

Down the road, Kayla Caviglia dealt with the frenzy inside the boutique store, Collette, where she is an employee.

"It was really crazy. I had a lot of moms and daughters coming here looking for graduation dresses. I've had dads in here with daughters frantically running around," Caviglia said.

Customers now are a little less needy and life is moving a little slower. Caviglia, a University of Arizona student, is already seeing a change from her classmate customers.

"It's rewarding because people are always super nice," she said. "It's more mom and daughter - high schoolers - where I'm usually seeing sorority girls in here. It's more family. It shifts in that way."

Families like Tyler Meier and his two kids, who he said he rarely brought to Main Gate Square when it's at its busiest.

"Weekends. But never at night," he said.

He's less willing to fight through the frenzy. Instead, he waits for the transformation around him.

Even Gentle Ben's staff acknowledges the shift in culture.

"It has more of a restaurant feel instead of a college bar. It appeals to the people who want to come here when it's quiet," Warren said.

It reveals a renewed Tucson for people to fall in love with all over again.

"It's noticeably different," Meier said. "You kind of get the town again in a whole new way. There's a part of Tucson that feels like it's most itself in the summertime as a city. Even though it's blisteringly hot. We really love that."

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