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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


October street festival will continue amid remaining construction

Kevin Brost
Kevin Brost / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Despite some streetcar construction fences remaining along Congress Street, events like the 2nd Saturdays Downtown street festival is a go.

The 2-year-old local tradition that occurs on the second Saturday of every month is expected to go smoothly, though streetcar construction could affect it and other events planned for that day, including Tucson Zombie Walk, Tucson Pride Parade and Tucson Meet Yourself.

Event coordinators agreed that detours may affect people’s willingness to attend, but remained optimistic.

“We’re hoping that even with the streets torn up that enough weirdo freaky people will show up and we’ll be able to do good by the food bank,” said Curt Booth, Zombie Walk’s master of ceremonies.

Mia Hansen, production director for Tucson Meet Yourself, said she encourages people to carpool, ride their bikes or use the Sun Tran to get to the festival without having to worry about detours or parking. She said she understands that the streetcar is progress for the city and it isn’t often that annual events have to deal with major construction projects.

“Progress is always painful in the very beginning, but we have needed a lot of this construction for so long,” Hansen said. “We know we have to be flexible.”

Some fences have already been removed in the downtown area and more will be removed in the next two weeks, according to Jesse Gutierrez, streetcar project construction manager. Some of Saturday’s events require that the streets close for pedestrians, Gutierrez added.

“We’re ready to remove fences but the events are actually utilizing roadways like on Scott [Avenue], so they’re asking us to leave the fencing up and leave it closed,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said that fences have come down from Stone Avenue to Scott Avenue and from Scott Avenue to Sixth Avenue on Congress Street. While a majority of the events will be north or south of Congress Street, attendees will still have to drive around detours and may be forced to take streets that they aren’t used to, Booth said.

“You’ve got all these people who are confused as you are who are trying to roam around there, so you get more than a few close calls,” Booth said. “You get ideas of where to go, but overall it’s a crapshoot.”

Javier Duran, director of the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry at the UA, said that Tucson Meet Yourself is such a well-established event that he believes people will show up regardless of streetcar construction.

“I’m really confident that people know that this is a good festival and it’s a community event,” Duran said.

The center, which strives to engage with the local community, has partnered with Tucson Meet Yourself for the first time this year by sponsoring lecturer Diane Goldstein in her presentation, “Once Upon A Virus: AIDS Legends, Public Health and the Law.”

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