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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Labor Day in the Dirty T doesn’t have to be boring, Wildcats


    Courtesy of Sonoita Fairgrounds

    Steer wrestle at the Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo on Monday, Sept. 1, 2014.

    Labor Day weekend has always been a time when people of all ages make a beeline to their closest coastline, but for those trapped in Arizona, the options may seem a bit limited. Dig a little deeper into the community calendars, however, and one can find a handful of events that will make the weekend legendary.

    The Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson is holding its annual HoCo Fest. This year’s fest is sure to be unforgettable; not only is this the 11th year of the festival, but it is also Club Congress’s 30th anniversary. To celebrate in style, the club will be packed with musical groups from Hotel Congress’s past and present, including Roger Clyne, Pollo Elastico and over 45 more performing from Friday to Sunday.

    Internationally popular Mexrrissey, a band that takes Steven Morrissey music and gives it a Mexican twist, is performing on Latin night on Sunday as the weekend’s headlining act. In addition to all the performances, the Copper Hall will be home to a pop-up Tucson Rock and Roll Museum for Saturday only from 3 p.m. until 2 a.m.

    “The whole crew have been gathering old posters and photos, newspaper clippings and all kinds of great stuff that kind of sum up the history [of Tucson’s rock music],” said Matt Baquet, the Club Congress booking liaison.

    While Friday and Sunday each have an entrance fee of $12 and $15 respectively, Saturday is free to the public. Due to the serving of alcohol, all guests must be over 21, but those who are not of age and want to visit the pop-up museum can stop by before 6 p.m. Saturday.

    For those looking for a more relaxing event to attend this weekend, look no further than the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Every Saturday night from June 6 to Sept. 5, the museum has hosted their Cool Summer Nights programs with a different theme each week. For their final weekend of the summer, the museum is inviting visitors to celebrate Mexican heritage through the End of Summer Fiesta.

    Between 5-10 p.m. Saturday, there will be a myriad of events going on, from a mariachi performance by Los Changuitos Feos to bilingual presentations on the “Creatures of the Night” that reside in the desert. The museum is the perfect place for those who want to get away from the constant bustle of the downtown Tucson area.

    Looking for something with a little more action and excitement than a night in the desert? Try the 100th annual Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo. Located about an hour south of Tucson in the small town of Santa Cruz, the rodeo is a bit of a drive. However, the Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo is the ideal destination for rodeo enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

    Members of the Grand Canyon Professional Rodeo Association will be competing in all eight of the various rodeo events from Saturday to Monday beginning at 2 p.m. each day. The competitors will be vying for their cut of the $40,000 of cash and buckles that will be awarded to the winners of the events.

    “A fun part for people that have never been to a rodeo before is always the roughstock,” said Kristin Tomlinson, one of four GCPRA rodeo directors. “The saddle bronc, the bareback, the bull riding—those are the most exciting events of the rodeo.”

    Along with the professional rodeo events, the Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo also includes a Junior Rodeo. Children between the ages of 3 and 16 can participate in a number of different rodeo events with no experience necessary.

    At 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday night, the rodeo contestants and the spectators will be welcomed to the steak fry and rodeo dance to finish off the day’s activities. Admission is $15 a day for adults and parking is free.

    Keep heading east after visiting the rodeo and stop off in Tombstone for a Wild West showdown. The Tombstone Vigilantes, a nonprofit reenactment group that has been around since the late 1940s, is hosting the second annual Showdown in Tombstone. The Vigilantes normally perform two to three Sundays of the month, but this weekend they’re going all out.

    Each day, the Vigilantes will be performing various different reenactments on Allen Street in Tombstone, some historical, some fictional and some comedic. A professional gunfight group from Mesa, Hispanic and tribal dancers will also be performing around town.

    For those who like to dress up, Saturday’s Steampunk parade and Sunday’s 1880s costume contest are sure to please. The whole event is free, although the Vigilantes will be accepting donations to contribute to the various charities they support, including Tombstone’s no-kill animal shelter, senior center and food bank, among others.

    “We just like to get out … and do the performing,” said Jeff Miller, the chief of the Vigilantes and a member since 1993. “We are the official ambassadors of Tombstone.”

    Whether you’re taking a trip to the Wild West, exploring desert life or rocking out downtown, one thing is for sure: there’s no excuse for being bored this Labor Day weekend.

    Follow Victoria Pereira on Twitter.

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