A Message from the Festival Executive Director

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Dr. Maribel Alvarez, Associate Research Professor, School of Anthropology and Public Folklorist at The Southwest Center, University of Arizona

Welcome to the 44nd edition of Tucson Meet Yourself!

The festival is an annual celebration of the living traditional arts of Southern Arizona’s and Northern Mexico’s diverse ethnic and folk communities.

The first festival took place in 1974 in the same location as today. At that time (as it is still true today), creating a platform for people of all walks of life, faiths, social status, races and nationalities on a neutral space in the civic center of the city was somewhat of a revolutionary act.

Our purpose is to celebrate and honor the beauty and uniqueness of this region in all their diverse, informal, and everyday forms. We do it by putting on public view the manual arts, songs, dances, music, dresses, languages, and food of the many people who make up our community. We do it as authentically and as respectfully as possible.

Over 3 days each October, more than 100,000 people come together in this desert borderlands city to celebrate who they are and to recognize the dignity of others who are not like them.

Random on-site surveys that we have conducted among festival goers over the last few years have told us that people “get” what we are trying to do: 65% said what they liked the most about Tucson Meet Yourself was the diversity and the education that went along with the food and entertainment.

Thanks for your interest in this experiment in democracy!

I urge you to have fun by stepping outside your comfort  zones: taste some new kind of food; dance to a different sound; ask sincere questions to the artists who make objects you may have seen but never really understood.

Learn. Enjoy. This is your festival, Tucsonans!