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El Casino Ballroom holding 75th year anniversary celebration

Preparing for a weekend to remember
El Casino Ballroom
Posted at 7:38 PM, Sep 08, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The El Casino Ballroom crew is getting ready for a weekend to remember, celebrating 75 years in business. They’re holding an event at the ballroom Saturday, Sept. 9 and Sunday, Sept. 10, featuring several music groups, food trucks, and lots of dancing.

They’ve never done anything like this celebration before, and they’re excited to give back to the community after all their years of support.

Families from all over Tucson have celebrated weddings, quinceañera, events of all kinds throughout those 75 years the ballroom has been in business.

“Everybody has a story. ‘Oh grandma got married here in 1952.’ And generations of people have been coming here,” said Fred Martinez, manager of El Casino Ballroom.

Martinez has nearly 30 years of experience managing the place, following in his fathers footsteps. He’s worked at the ballroom since he was six years old, and has dedicated most of his life to keeping it going.

After a microburst put the ballroom out of business for nine years in 1991, he said it was a community effort to bring it back.

“They would come after work, we’d work till 8-9 at night, and fixed it up little by little and reopened in February of 2000,” Martinez described.

He said it’s a history worth fighting for, with talents like Selena Quintanilla and Lalo Guerrero passing through the doors, Martinez pushed to keep them open.

Preserving history for generations to come is also the inspiration for artist Luis Mena, bringing it to life on the walls of the El Casino Ballroom.

“We have to understand that it’s very important, the treasures that were left behind by these great artists,” said Mena.

Beyond the talent, his mural features Fred Martinez's parents for having kept the place running for years.

During Fred Martinez’s management, he’s had Gil Federico by his side, sharing his life-long appreciation for the ballroom and working to make events like these accessible to the community.

“We ask the community to come celebrate with us, and it’s free of charge,” said Federico.

On Saturday, Sept. 9, the event is planned from 10 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. and from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10.

El Casino Ballroom

The ballroom is located at 437 E. 26th St.

Reyna Preciado is a reporter for KGUN 9, she joined the KGUN 9 team in July of 2022 after graduating Arizona State University. Share your story ideas with Reyna by emailing reyna.preciado@kgun9.com or by connecting on Instagram, or Twitter.