Sometimes referred to as, “Tucson Eat Yourself” , This annual event founded by Dr. ‘Big’ Jim Griffith has celebrated the pluralistic community of Tucson since 1974. Over the years food has become a big part of the Tucson Meet Yourself experience.
*“Long before the current fascination with food rose to national attention, Tucson Meet Yourself was circulating words like ‘foodways’ and ‘culinary heritage’ among Tucsonans from all walks of life,”
*“The role of food at the festival goes beyond, selling, sampling or satiating cultural curiosity,” she added.“Year after year, nearly all of the food vendors at the Festival say the reason they come is to share their culture.”
* Maribel Alvarez, executive director of the Festival and professor of folklore and anthropology at the University of Arizona.
- If you are driving to the event and are unfamiliar with Downtown Tucson; use GPS by entering either of these addresses: 101 N Stone Ave, Tucson, AZ , or, 160 W Alameda St, Tucson, AZ.
- If you prefer NOT to drive, we recommend that you park your car at one of the ends of the Tucson Street Car and ride the Sun Link to the event. The exits closest to the festival are “Congress and Church”or “Broadway and Church.”
- Public Transportation (buses) are also a good option to avoid dealing with traffic and parking. The SUN TRAN site has lots of helpful information to ride the bus in Tucson.
- Bicycles are a great way to reach the festival grounds.
- Despite what you may have heard, there is plenty of parking in Downtown Tucson (around 15,000 spaces). Best of all, parking meters are FREE for most of the festival’s duration: after 5PM on Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday. There are 1,200 metered spaces close to the festival(GOOD LUCK, be early).
2016 is the year of celebrating the declaration that Tucson is a, “UNESCO City of Gastronomy”.
Tucson Meet Yourself Folklife Festival has been celebrating the intersections of food and culture since its inception. This year it adds a special stadium; complete with bleachers to enhance the demonstration arenas and cultural heritage performances. The Kitchen Stadium(schedule) moves these expressions to a bigger area, offering educational experiences for longer hours and for all three days of the festival. This upholds folklorist Jim Griffith’s vision to make food-sharing a vehicle for cross-cultural dialogue.
The City of Gastronomy exhibit, produced in partnership with the City of Tucson and UA/College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Center for Regional Food Studies, will display information about the food initiatives that earned Tucson the UNESCO designation.
To get a better idea of when the performances are scheduled follow this link to the daily performance guide.
This year, a new, expanded fabulous Festival Program will be offered to those who are interested in digging a little bit deeper into the background of core artists and offerigs in the Festival. For those who don’t want to read a lot but simply want quick access to the Stage Schedules and key information, digital codes around the Festival’s grounds will be available in visible areas.
A new Festival INFORMATION OFFICE will be staffed all 3 days, from morning to closing, at the Old Courthouse Building —the beating heart of TMY where for more than 40 years a wonderful community of FOLK ARTISTS have gathered to demonstrate, educate and celebrate.
The Festival is about building a community that respects traditions, culture, diversity and honors the land and environment unique to the desert borderlands. We have several ongoing partnerships with other organizations in our region dedicated to fostering compassion, integrity, and stewardship of the land and our Southwestern cultural ways.
So come for the food, come for the music, come to enjoy the beautiful weather, come to learn about your community. Enjoy the creativity of Tucson and your neighbors. Bring a smile and leave the rest to us