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Tucson Meet Yourself: A Folk Festival

October 11, 2019 @ 11:00 am - 10:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on October 12, 2019 at 11:00 am

One event on October 13, 2019 at 12:00 pm


The 46th Annual Tucson Meet Yourself Folklife Festival returns to the city blocks around Jacome Plaza this year with three days of festivities, including live performances, folk arts, cooking demonstrations, and over 50 food vendors representing 30 countries and regions.

The free festival happens October 11, 12, and 13 in front of the Pima County Library Plaza and adjacent blocks of Church Ave., Stone Ave., and Pennington Street. 

This year the festival celebrates California traditions, welcoming several well-known artists from that state, which is distinct from Tucson but shares overlapping heritage, say Festival organizers.

California visitors include:

  • Gustavo Arellano, is a writer and cultural critic, author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America and a features writer for the Los Angeles Times and the award-winning nationally syndicated column, “¡Ask a Mexican!” Arellano speaks in the Culture Kitchen on Friday, Oct. 11 at 5 pm. “Back to the Futuro: The Unlikely Return of Sonoran Cuisine in Los Angeles.” Sponsored by Visit Tucson.
  • Cambalache, an ensemble from East Los Angeles that SON JAROCHO, a regional folk music from Veracruz, Mexico, shaped by indigenous, African, and Spanish influences. While in Tucson, Cambalache is working with the Tucson Son Jarocho Collective. The groups plays on the Alameda stage on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 6 pm.
  • Kahlil Cummings & the Extra Ancestral Show features Los Angeles native Kahlil Cummings, a drummer, performer, composer, educator. His ensemble, Extra Ancestral, performs fusions of hypnotic Afrobeat, Reggae, Jazz, Afro-Latin, and traditional African diasporic rhythms, accompanied by powerful ancestral dancing. While in Tucson, Kahlil will work with the Brazilian drum and dance ensemble, Sol Axé. The group performs on the Alameda stage, Saturday, Oct. 12 at 8 pm.
  • East LA artists Ofelia Esparza and Rosanna Esparza Ahrens join TMY to build a large-scale replica of a family Dia De Los Muertos Altar. Ofelia is a Chicana printmaker and 6th generation altarista (altar-maker), recognized in 2018 by the National Endowment of the Arts as one of ten National Heritage Fellows. Ofelia and her daughter, Rosanna, run TONALLI STUDIO, a place of “creative wellness,” fostered through art exhibitions, poetry, music, yoga, wellness workshops, and community building in Boyle Heights, East LA. In partnership with the All Souls’ Procession Ancestry Project, they will built the altar at City Center for Collaborative Learning, 37 E. Pennington St. The public is invited to contribute to the altar with photos of loved ones. With sponsorship from: Arizona End of Life Care Partnership

Favorite performers also return to the festival, including Odaiko Sonora, Tucson’s own taiko drumming group; Las Trillizas y Dulce, an all-girl Norteño band; the annual Scottish band pipers procession; dynamic Polish dance troup Lajkonik; Syrian master violin Fadi Iskandar; and Dan Levenson, performing Old-time Appalachian music. And of course, plenty of social dance to Tohono O’odham Waila, Cuban and Puerto Rican salsa, and Afro-Pop sounds. In total, 100 groups will perform on three stages over three days. A total 15 percent of the entire festival budget is paid in honoraria to artists.

Food at this year’s TMY comes from cultural clubs, organizations, and restaurants, representing Bosnia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, France, Greece, India, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela, Vietnam, the Mediterranean, as well as Hawaii, the U.S. South, and the Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui tribes, indigenous to the Sonoran Desert region. Festival attendees can find dishes for $12 and under.

While attendees get to sample food from many regions, their purchases support the cultural activities of vendors year-round. For many, TMY is their primary fundraiser, with proceeds from the festival supporting touring, travel, training with master artists, costumes, supplies, and more.

TMY also welcomes TEN WEST Impact Festival as a special partner and festival sponsor. TENWEST Pavilion at Tucson Meet Yourself features a Local First Roadshow Tent with micro-workshops, crafts, games, and education; Heritage Popup Market highlighting regional heritage foods and drinks; and raffles and prizes.


October 11, 2019
11:00 am - 10:00 pm


Jacome Plaza
101 N. Stone Ave
Tucson, AZ 85701
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