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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


This weekend: Tucson Meet Yourself


Top Left: A vendor at Tucson Meet Yourself shows her baskets. (Courtesy Maribel Alvarez)

Bottom Left: Marcelino Clemente Flore III works on an unnamed oil painting at the Tucson Meet Yourself Festival in 2013. (Ryan Revock/The Daily Wildcat)

Right: A vendor at Tucson Meet Yourself prepares Bosnian cuisine at his booth at the 2014 event. (Courtesy Maribel Alvarez)

This October marks 44 years of culture and tradition at Tucson Meet Yourself. This annual folklife festival has taken place in Downtown Tucson since 1974 when it was founded by Dr. James Griffith, a University of Arizona anthropologist.

Over 100,000 people attend this three-day festival each year to experience the traditional arts of Southern Arizona’s and Northern Mexico’s diverse communities.

According to the TMY website, the focus of this year’s festival is to present local communities that carry on living traditions.

The goal of TMY is to “research, document, interpret and present the living traditional arts and expressions of everyday life of the folk and ethnic communities of the multi-national Arizona-Sonora region,” according to the TMY website.

It costs around $360,000 dollars to produce this annual festival, which is free for everyone to attend. Attendees are, however, asked to donate. There are several areas throughout the festival that accept donations.

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UA’s Compost Cats will also return to this year’s festival to help convert waste. TMY makes an effort to recycle and collect compost, in order to be as sustainable as possible. According to the TMY website, over 20,000 pounds of waste are generated by festival attendees and vendors each year. The Compost Cats collect the compost throughout the event, averaging about 5,280 pounds of food waste diverted from the landfill to be turned to compost each year.

Here are some of the attractions featured at the festival:

Food Vendors

Fifty-eight Tucson-based food vendors have been selected to participate in this year’s festival. 

Food vendors cover all corners of the globe, ranging from Eurasian cuisine to Caribbean meals to world street snacks.

Folk Arts

Several folk artists will be set up along Church Street Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Church Street Pavilion will also feature the art of Pascua Yaqui Nation artists. The Church Street area will feature a variety of art from various cultures worldwide.

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A total of 100 music, dance and storytelling acts are scheduled to perform at this year’s festival across three stages. This is the first year the festival will host a guest artist component of artists who “are masters of their art forms who represent exemplary commitments to heritage music, popular social dance and music, and traditional arts and folklore,” according to the TMY website.

Follow Katelyn Caldwell on Twitter

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