‘Tis The Season

November 29, 2013 |

Zoo Lights’ Penguins at Reid Park Zoo
photo courtesy Reid Park Zoo

Are your halls decked? Jolly or not, the holly days are indeed upon us. This final month of the calendar year can feel surreal in sunny Southern Arizona where “winter has no snow,” as Tucson’s unofficial mayor Al Perry warbled on the anthemic “We Got Cactus.” Coldness isn’t a mandatory Christmas or Kwanzaa requirement, though! Although the white stuff may be in short supply, opportunities for revelry are abundant. Gay apparel = donned.

Zoo Lights at Reid Park Zoo returns to put you in the spirit from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. nightly Dec. 6-23. On those dates the zoo’s pathways will transform into a wonderland of flickering bulbs, jingling bells, animal-shaped light sculptures and noshing of free cookies. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for children; zoo members pay half price. The zoo can be found at 3400 Zoo Court in the physical realm and at ReidParkZoo.org online. Call (520) 791-4022 for more information.

Dec. 6-8 from 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. each evening, the Tucson Botanical Gardens welcomes all to its 27th annual Luminaria Nights featuring live music, food trucks and a ho-ho-hoing Santa at the garden grounds, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Performances over the course of the weekend include appearances by the Tucson Women’s Chorus, Maguire Academy of Irish Dance and the Tucson Flute Club, among others; for a full entertainment schedule, visit TucsonBotanical.org. Hermanos Hot Dogs and Planet of the Crepes are among the many food vendors scheduled to be on hand. Admission is $11 for adults and $5 for children; members pay $9 and $3 respectively. What’s a luminaria, you say? It’s a small twinkling paper lantern; expect to see hundreds lining the garden’s walkways. Any other questions? Call (520) 326-9686.

Luminaria Nights at Tucson Botanical Gardens 2012. photo: Tim Fuller

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, 6300 N. Swan Rd., hosts its yearly La Fiesta de Guadalupe on Sunday, Dec. 15 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free to all, this event honors the “Queen of Mexico” with stylish yet sacred dance, music and song. Yaqui Deer Dancers, mariachi bands and folklorico dancers will all pay tribute to Our Lady. The Gallery itself is the ideal location for such a celebration. Having originally been built in the 1950s by Arizona artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia, as Tucson grew and developed around it this 10-acre slice of heavenly desert retained its authentic Old Pueblo properties. Learn more at DeGrazia.org or by calling (520) 299-9191.

Tohono Chul Park presents its popular Holiday Nights program Dec. 6-7 and 13-14 from 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. at 7366 N. Paseo del Norte. The idea here is to stroll the park grounds with beverage in hand, making vegetative discoveries and canoodling under the Sonoran sky. Musical and dance performances are of course included as well. The first weekend of the month spotlights Yaqui guitarist Gabriel Ayala and bluegrass outfit The Sonoran Dogs; musical cowboy storytelling act Way Out West and magical mentalists/madmen The Brothers Macabre perform the second. Tohono Chul’s Garden Bistro will be open during Holiday Nights; call (520) 742-6455 x501 for reservations. Tickets are $15 for general public, $10 for members and $2 for children under 13 years of age. Visit TohonoChulPark.org for more details.

Still missing that snow? Check out La Encantada Shopping Center’s Enchanted Snowfall on Friday and Saturday nights at 6 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. through Dec. 21. Taking place in the Tucson Lifestyle Courtyard at 2905 E. Skyline Dr., the event does indeed include a white substance falling from the sky as well as live music and hot chocolate sampling from Blanco Taco + Tequila. You won’t need chains on the tires, although you’ll want to bring your wallet to cross names off your gift-giving list. Visit LaEncantadaShoppingCenter.com for directions and a store directory.

The grandfather of all Tucson holiday celebrations, the Winterhaven Festival of Lights, is now in its 63rd year of good cheer and going strong. From Dec. 14-28 (drive-through nights are the 17, 27 and 28), this neighborhood puts on its best face and invites the public to bask in the glow. You may even want to wear your sunglasses at night. See WinterhavenFestival.org to plan a hayride, find out how it all started and offer support for this longstanding nonprofit, community-funded event. Also bring non-perishable food items for the Community Food Bank. Last year, the event raised $20,753 and 33,905 pounds of food were donated – you can help increase these numbers!

Also awesome:

Jenna Johnson as Sugar Plum Fairy and Stuart Lauer as Cavalier in “The Nutcracker,” with performances Sat, Dec 14-Sun, Dec 15.
Photo: Ed Flores

Dec. 13-21:  Zuzi! Dance Company’s “The Poetry of Water” 16th Annual Solstice Celebration at The Historic Y, 738 N. 5th Ave. Visit ZuziMoveIt.org.

Dec. 13-15: Waypoint Theatre Company’s “The Gift of the Magi” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Scottish Rite Cathedral’s Campbell Hall, 160 S. Scott Ave. See Waypoint-Theatre.org.

Dec. 14-15: Ballet Tucson’s “The Nutcracker” at Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. Visit BalletTucson.org.

Dec. 19-22: Borderlands Theater’s “A Tucson Pastorela” at the Tucson Convention Center’s Leo Rich Theater, 260 S. Church Ave. See BorderlandsTheater.org.

Dec. 21: Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker” at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. Visit FoxTucsonTheatre.org.

Dec. 21-22: Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s “The Magic of Christmas” at TCC’s Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Visit TucsonSymphony.org.

Happy safe and fun holly-daze from all of us at Zócalo Magazine!

Category: Community, Entertainment, Events