Wetter Is Better
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 18
Armory Park Center
220 S. Fifth Ave.
Water is more than a resource at the Tucson Water Festival: It also represents streams of thought and behavior in a community that is flowing together.
The third annual festival is presented by the nonprofit Tucson Arts Brigade. The event is held in conjunction with Cyclovia, a bicycle/pedestrian festival, and Solar Rock, an outdoor concert and festival, which take place the same day. (See the Pick of the Week.)
Jodi Netzer, the planning chairwoman, said that when Tucsonans are asked about the city's top issues, water inevitably comes up. The festival is intended to emphasize water's role in three areas: food security; health and wellness; and how water issues have shaped the history of our state.
"We need water to live and to survive and to rise," Netzer said. "And as an arts organization, we integrate the arts into addressing the issue."
People who want to gain more understanding of water issues can attend panel discussions. The festival also features an art show, music, films and workshops on topics such as waterless landscaping and growing your own food.
"We wanted to also create an event that highlights water issues from various perspectives," Netzer said.
The festival includes dancing, a wishing well with a live "mermaid," and other activities that should appeal to children.
"We have an ice sculpture made in human form, which speaks to the water in our bodies and also about climate change, because it will melt," Netzer said.
The event is free. Visit the website for a complete schedule and more information. —A.N.
Pipes, Drums, Drink
Starts at 4 p.m., Saturday, March 17
Bagpipe music will blend with corned beef and cabbage—and, of course, green beer—when the 7 Pipers Band performs during a St. Patrick's Day pub crawl.
The local bagpipe-and-drums group plays Scottish music primarily, but doesn't shy away from Irish tunes, said pipe major William Don Carlos, who has been playing the bagpipes for more than 25 years.
The 7 Pipers minitour kicks off at 4 p.m. at O'Malley's and The Hut on Fourth Avenue, and ends with a 10 p.m. performance at Frog and Firkin on University Boulevard.
In between, the band will bring its tunes to stops including Bob Dobb's on Sixth Street, Old Chicago on Campbell Avenue, and Joe and Vicky's on Oracle Road, with additional stops at O'Malley's and Frog and Firkin.
Sets at each pub last about 30 minutes, Don Carlos said.
Bagpiping isn't an easy thing to do—especially when you are doing it all day, Don Carlos said.
"It's a marathon session for us," he said. "It takes a lot of huff and puff."
The Almighty Pub Crawl offers people a chance to support local establishments and local music, Don Carlos said.
If you can't make it to one of the venues, mark your calendars: The band also plays at 2nd Saturdays Downtown, he added.
The Seven Pipers Band will also play at four spots during a St. Patrick's Eve Pub Crawl, on Friday, March 16. See the band's website for details on all of the activities. —R.K.
7 a.m., Saturday, March 17
9698 W. Ajo Highway
You can fly cheaper than ever before at the annual 20-Cents-a-Pound Airplane Rides, thanks to the Tucson chapter of the Ninety-Nines.
A 20-minute flight in a small plane costs 20 cents per pound of body weight. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, the cost is $30.
The 54th annual event is a scholarship fundraiser organized by the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots formed in 1929; Amelia Earhart was the first president.
The flights take off from Ryan Airfield, head along the west side of the Tucson Mountains, go over the Silver Bell Mine and then return south to Ryan Airfield, said Fran Strubeck, a member of the Ninety-Nines.
Passengers may even receive a brief, hands-on lesson in flying.
"I let them take the controls to get the idea of how it works, and to get a feel for how to handle the plane," Strubeck said.
All participating pilots are from the Tucson area, and most are members of the Ninety-Nines, she said.
Proceeds will go toward scholarships for local women who want to learn to fly or pursue other careers in aviation, Strubeck said.
The fundraiser also includes free children's activities, and attendees can see what goes on in airport areas normally closed to the public, such as the control tower, Strubeck said.
The number of rides is limited, and ticket sales start at 7 a.m. In the unlikely event of rain, the event will move to Sunday, March 18. —R.K.
Steps With Style
Through Monday, March 19
Holiday Inn and Suites
4550 S. Palo Verde Road
The Tucson Tango Festival is a six-day celebration of the dance. It showcases the original tango, from Argentina, which festival founder Rusty Cline said comes with a certain structure.
"It's the culture; it's the rules; and it's the abrazo, which is the hug. That's what keeps tango together," he said. "It's good for people's heart and soul; it's good for people to touch and hold one another with respect."
Cline is a tango teacher and self-described "tangophile." After visiting about 20 different tango festivals, he decided to put one together for Tucson. The first one was in 2009.
The festival is as much about dancing as it is watching performances, Cline said. Advanced tango dancers want to dance the night away—and some literally do just that. An all-nighter dance starts at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 17, and ends at 6 a.m., Sunday, March 18.
"They really dance well, and they can do it all night long," Cline said.
Cline expects about 500 people at this year's festival. He said tango is in the midst of a renaissance, although he noted that ballroom tango is not the same as the traditional Argentine tango danced at the festival.
Tango beginners can get instruction from teachers from around the world. Musicians interested in learning to play tango music can drop by a free, instructional jam session.
Although much of the music at the festival will consist of recordings from what Cline calls tango's "golden era," live music by QTango on Saturday night will showcase the growing popularity of tango orchestras.
A variety of packages of classes and events are available, at various prices. Some events are free. See the website for more details. —A.N.