Long Tradition, Great Cause
92nd Annual Baile de las Flores
6 p.m., Saturday, March 26
Tucson Country Club
2950 N. Camino Principal
As a girl, Amanda Johnson Wood delivered fliers for Baile de las Flores with her mother.
Years later, she and her co-chair, Holly Sakrison Clark, have changed the look of the oldest annual fundraiser in Tucson.
Now in its 92nd year, the fundraiser began as a "Silver Tea," chaired by the St. Luke's Home Board of Visitors. That group—tasked with helping the assisted-living facility for low-income seniors raise funds—changed the name of the event to Baile de las Flores in 1923. That group of women has been putting it on ever since.
"From glasses to doctors' appoint-ments to dentures to whatever it is," Wood said, "the (Board of Visitors) helps fund all those things."
The baile is the only fundraiser for the home and netted St. Luke's $145,000 last year.
"It's a really great organization," Wood said. "All the women really care about making sure St. Luke's Home is always there for (the elderly), and with the baile, we are able to do that."
This year, Wood is hoping a change in venue will make the event more flexible and profitable.
The event will retain certain traditions, including a fiesta theme, with guests encouraged to wear colorful clothing; guitar and mariachi music will still accompany the buffet dinner and silent auction. However, the event's new home at the Tucson Country Club means the event can be indoor-outdoor—and perhaps help recruit younger people to the Board of Visitors.
"We're trying to get more of a youthful audience," Wood said. "... (Holly and I are) here now, but we need to keep it going after we aren't."
Admission is $150 per person. Call for tickets or more information. —J.W.
Baseball for Tucson
Charity game: Arizona Diamondbacks versus Los Angeles Dodgers
1:05 p.m., Friday, March 25
(formerly Tucson Electric Park)
2500 E. Ajo Way
Major League Baseball is bringing spring training back to the Old Pueblo, if only for one more day.
The Tucson Together fund and the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority are teaming up with Major League Baseball to put on a charity game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Kino Stadium.
Tucson Together is a collection of several funds established to help families of victims of the Jan. 8 shooting that killed six people and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Proceeds from the game will go to Tucson Together, which is helping those affected by the shootings by assisting them at a time when money is sorely needed, said Bill Carnegie, chairman of the board committee for Tucson Together and CEO of the Community Food Bank.
"This is really a long-term situation we're going to need funds for," he said.
The funds in Tucson Together have collectively brought in about $345,000 in donations, Carnegie said.
Besides assisting those in need, the charity game may help pave the way for MLB to bring some spring training baseball back to Pima County, even if it's only a few games a year, said Jim Arnold, executive director of the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority.
"There is still a thirst for baseball here," he said. "We'll do everything we can to make sure spring training baseball doesn't disappear completely in Pima County."
Although the game could be a good sign for Tucson baseball, Arnold said people shouldn't lose track of why the charity game is really important.
"Baseball is a secondary issue here," he said. "We're trying to help grieving families."
Tickets are $6 to $20. —S.B.
Tucson's Synergistic Water Festival
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 27
220 S. Fifth Ave.
Jodi Netzer said the second annual Tucson's Synergistic Water Festival will turn local drought-centered discussions of water on their head.
"With the arts, there's no violence. With the arts, there's no property destruction," said Netzer, the festival's organizer. "There's more respect; there's better communication, and what we're doing is raising the cultural capital of Tucson around the theme of water by using the arts as a medium."
The festival is the main event in a two-week water celebration, presented by the Tucson Arts Brigade.
"Through our organization, we build community through the arts. That's our specialty," Netzer said. "And the topic of water is universal."
The festival is occurring hand in hand with the second annual Tucson Cyclovia event (www.cycloviatucson.org), which will close down streets near Armory Park for bicyclists and pedestrians; and Solar Rock (solarrock.wordpress.com/about), also at Armory Park, featuring solar vendors and live music.
Organizers expect to attract 10,000 attendees between the three events.
"I was very pleased to hear Cyclovia was the same weekend, and because we collaborated with Solar Rock last year, we encouraged them to switch their day," Netzer said. "We're all about creating synergy here."
This year's event will include a bike fashion show; panel discussions on commerce, art and sustainability; and Aztec and Butoh dance presentations. Kids' activities, and participatory art and music will also be featured. Organizers are even asking people to dress in aquatic-themed costumes.
"We're all about having fun," Netzer said. "... It's creating space for water discussions and creative expressions that comingle around water."
The events are free and open to all ages. —J.W.
Grazefest at farmers' markets
9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, March 25
Jesse Owens Park
400 S. Sarnoff Drive
9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, March 26
Oro Valley Town Hall
11100 N. La Cañada Drive
9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, March 27
St. Philip's Plaza
4280 N. Campbell Ave.
The U.S. has more than 6,100 operating farmers' markets. During the third annual Grazefest, local food purveyors will continue to enjoy that trend.
"We are celebrating Arizona's farming heritage," said Roxanne Garcia, with Tucson Farmers' Markets.
Garcia has been attending farmers' markets since the age of 10. She grew up on a chili and tomato farm, and knows firsthand about what she refers to as the devotion of ranching and farming families.
She said that devotion is spreading to younger folks.
"We're starting to see a lot of 20- and 30-somethings. It's really exciting," Garcia said. "... This movement for local food and fresh food is starting to trickle down, and more and more young people are starting to realize the importance of growing your own food, and organic food at that."
Each day at Grazefest, there will be a 10 a.m. chef's demonstration on how to cook free-range and pasture-raised foods. Customers will also get an opportunity to meet ranchers and farmers from throughout Southern Arizona.
Garcia said the growth of the farmers' markets has been essential in providing consumers with the information they need to make better purchasing decisions. There are more than 160 fresh-food purveyors in Southern Arizona, showing why farmers' markets are important, Garcia said.
"People are just tired of being sick, and they want to know where their food is coming from," she said.
Admission to the farmers' markets is free. —J.W.