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Photos: El Dia de San Juan heralds Tucson monsoon

Tradition holds that Tucson's monsoon begins with El Dia de San Juan, June 24. This year, the West Side fiesta celebrating the saint's day worked its magic — much of the city got at least a sprinkle of rain the next day as rolling clouds broke the spell of summer heat.

Wednesday evening's El Dia de San Juan Fiesta attracted hundreds of people to a dusty lot at the Mercado, just west of Downtown. Mariachi and folklorico groups performed as families clustered around food trucks for cold treats.

A piñata was popular with the young ones, while all ages swayed to the music on stage.

According to local legend, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado stood on the banks of the Santa Cruz and prayed to San Juan (St. John) for rain in 1540. The following day was St. John's Day and it rained. Although the National Weather Service has set June 15 as the start of the monsoon for record-keeping purposes, June 24, the Feast of St. John, has long been considered the start of the rainy season in Tucson.

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