The DL: Special events on march Downtown
Event planners from throughout the region will meet this weekend at the second annual Festival Event Association of Tucson and Southern Arizona (FeatsAZ) conference. The gathering is a place for vendors, event professionals, venues, local businesses and performers to share ideas and best practices, make connections, and collaborate to enhance and increase the number and quality of events in Southern Arizona.
While events big and small dot the region, Downtown is host to well over 50 large annual events, and countless smaller or one time events. Everything from the All Souls Procession to the Gem and Mineral Show to the Downtown Parade of Lights and many things in between can be found downtown. Even without large events, daily happenings such as live music, tempting food and a strong sense of community provide a reason to go Downtown, but large festivities provide a huge incentive to visit. Plus, all that fun leads to a huge economic benefit to the city and the region.
According to Visit Tucson, the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase alone has an economic impact of $100 million each year, and that's just one of the major annual events — admittedly a big one. 55,000 people attend the Gem Show, each one of them spending money on food, entertainment, lodging and more. That helps the Tucson economy, and provides jobs for people in our community.
Tucson Meet Yourself, which is now approaching its 40th year, brings around 100,000 people into Downtown each fall, and is only continuing to grow, adding new stages and venues seemingly every year. The All Souls Procession, an organically grown, community-led celebration, is attended by at least a few tens of thousands of Tucsonans. El Tour de Tucson draws 9,000 participants, an additional 30,000 spectators, and contributes between $50-70 million to Tucson's coffers annually.
These benefits are from only four of the 50-plus annual events we see in Downtown and across the region every year. Events build a sense of community, and bring in cash from visitors. They create a reason for people to visit Tucson, and a place where Tucsonans can bond. Downtown is the home to many of these events, though there are certainly other great events spread across the city.
Whether you attend any of these fabulous festivals or not, take a moment to appreciate their value and what they add to our community. And, even if there isn't a huge event on a given night or weekend, just remember there is always something going on in downtown.