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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Tucson celebrates 234th birthday in style

    It might seem strange to wish a city a happy birthday, but the 234th anniversary of the founding of the Presidio de Tucson -ÿthe small Spanish fortress that grew into the city we know today – is coming up next month, and the whole town is gearing up to celebrate.

    It might be more precise to call the celebration a “”birth month.”” The precise date of the founding was Aug. 20, but the city treats the entire month as Tucson’s “”birthday,”” in recognition of a territorial history that stretches back thousands of years before the arrival of the Spanish.

    According to Pima County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Elias, who co-chairs the Birthday Month team, the events are designed to highlight Tucson history while providing “”affordable summer activities for our tough economic times.””

    The annual celebration, which began in 2006, kicks off Saturday with a re-enactment of what life was like in the region when Tucson was founded in 1775. Colonial crafts and cooking will be featured, and dressing up is encouraged. The free event lasts from 8 a.m. to noon, and will take place at the southwest corner of Washington Street and Churchill Avenue in downtown Tucson.

    If you’re more artistically inclined, never fear: Saturday’s festivities also include an ArtFare block party from 55 N. 6th Ave. to 31 N. 6th Ave. It lasts from 4 p.m. to midnight and includes music, a beer garden, and Hispanic and Native American heritage-related entertainment.

    If you ever wanted to learn more about capoeira, a Brazilian artform that combines dance, martial arts and music, you’ll get your chance Saturday. There’s a free event at the Capoeira Mandinga Tucson Academy at 605 E. 6th St. at 1 p.m.

    A special Tucson exhibit will also open Saturday at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library. The exhibit will feature historic postcard prints from the city’s heyday in the 1920s and,’30s, a rich sampling of books about Tucson and the Old Pueblo, and a detailed miniature of downtown Tucson made by local artist Gregory Brown. The exhibits will remain on display throughout the month. There will also be other birthday events at other branches of the Tucson-Pima Public Library. For information, visit www.library.pima.gov.

    Families can participate in a special event where they explore different artistic mediums and create their own mixed-media artwork at the Tucson Museum of Art on Sunday beginning at 1 p.m.

    Neighborhoods are also being encouraged to plan their own ice cream socials over the next month to learn more about their history. A good night might be Aug. 4, National Night Out, a nationwide event that encourages neighborhoods to throw block parties to meet their neighbors and build trust. For more information on how to coordinate a party, visit www.nationalnightout.org.

    There is also an ongoing Tucson’s birthday stamp design contest being held by the Postal History Foundation, with entries due by Aug. 6. Contestants must be 17 or younger.

    That’s just a taste of the festivities, which last through Aug 31. For information on more Tucson birthday events, visit www.tucsonsbirthday.org.

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