There are some of the bigger and better festivals around Tucson each year. There are, of course, many others (too many to list) though.
- Tucson Gem & Mineral Showcase (or a derivation of that name): Early February
You'll read some information online about the show being restricted to wholesalers. There are restricted areas, but much of it is open. My favorite sites to visit or along the west side of I-10 near Congress and at Tucson Electric Park (soon to be called Kino Stadium) on Ajo near I-10. This is the only reason many people come to Tucson as it's one of the most important gem shows in the world.
- La Fiesta de los Vaqueros (Tucson Rodeo): Mid-February
Tucson is the only place I know of where schools get out for the local rodeo. Even the community college has a couple of days off for it. There is a parade, sporting events, music and a fair atmosphere, all at the rodeo grounds on South Sixth Avenue.
- Tucson Meet Yourself: Mid-March
Playfully referred to locally as "Tucson Eat Yourself." It's mostly food from various international vendors, but is also dance, music and other cultural performances from the various cultures and ethnicities that make up Tucson. Definitely come for the food though.
- Pima County Fair: Mid-April
I'm not much for fairs, so it wasn't until I got a gig playing here with a band that I actually came. I have to say that this is a really good fair and they often get some very good musical acts coming through - not just myself ;).
- Tucson Folk Festival: Late April
One of the more well-organized and better music festivals in the city. Local, regional and international acts perform at a two-day, mostly free, mostly outdoors festival in Downtown Tucson.
- Dia de los Muertos: Early November
Although the day is sometimes regarded as the "Mexican version of Halloween," it is actually much more serious and mature as it is a time to remember all those in your life who have passed on. You can watch or you can march along with the procession as it leaves from the intersection of 4th Avenue and University Blvd. Anyone can march. Most who do wear make-up and/or dress up in solemn, mostly black, costumes.
- El Tour de Tucson: Early December
One of the better regarded bicycle races in the country. Tucson's intense bike culture comes into full bloom at this race. Get to the TCC early on Saturday morning to see them off and get back toward evening to see them return. Anyone can enter (for a price), but you better train for it. If visiting during this time, also be sure to check for road closures in the area. There are quite a few, and it's annoying to get stuck in them.
- Winterhaven Festival of Lights: Late December
There are two driving days during the festival, both just before Christmas. As a former Winterhaven resident, I would strongly encourage you to not visit Winterhaven on those nights. It's just not fun. It's best to walk it, strolling along the wide streets in between spectacular light shows. Great for kids, but just as great for adults. Hayrides with hot cider are available at the Christmas Avenue (off Fort Lowell) entrance.
Throughout the month of February Tucson hosts the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. It is not just one show, however, and is a constantly changing show in a variety of locations. People come from all over the world to show gems, minerals, fossils and a variety of other items. I look forward to it because my cousin comes down from Berkeley and we have dinner together. The photos are from his display. The third photo is a 7 million year old skull of a huge hyena type animal. It can be yours for $12,000. His store is listed on VT under Berkeley Shopping Tips. The 2009 Gem and Mineral Show is kicking off the end of January and will last most of the way through February. The show is smaller this year due to the economy and prices are cheaper.