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Five ways to celebrate summer in Tucson

Unique events ring in the change of seasons
GALLERY: Monsoon 2016
Posted at 4:22 PM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 19:59:04-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The first day of summer 2022 falls on Tuesday, June 21, though it might not feel like a milestone in the Old Pueblo. After all, Tucson hit its first 100 degree this year day back in April.

To help get into the spirit of summer, check out some upcoming events that celebrate this special time of year, when the sun is at its highest, the days are at their longest and monsoon is on the horizon.

El Día de San Juan Fiesta

This centuries-old festival has been traditionally celebrated in Tucson on June 24 to celebrate the arrival of monsoon and the birthday of St. John the Baptist.

Legend has it, the rains began immediately after Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado prayed for rain on June 24, 1540, according to the Pima County Public Library.

Public celebrations of El Día de San Juan in Tucson and on the Tohono O’odahm reservation became scarce after the 1940s, but were revived by the City of Tucson in 1998.

This year's festival is held at the Mission Garden on the west side in partnership with the Menlo Park Neighborhood Association. The celebration includes a blessing, live entertainment, food trucks and children's activities.

  • Mission Garden, 946 W. Mission Lane
  • Friday, June 24, 2022, 5:30 - 9 p.m.
  • Limited parking; walking, biking or streetcar are suggested
  • No alcohol will be served

Chubasco Channel Release Party

A chubasco is a "particularly violent storm with thunder and lightning that drops water in a deluge," according to Tucson Water.

In honor of monsoon, the department joined with artist Alex! Jimenez to create the Chubasco Channel, a community audio project that captured the sounds of 2021's monsoon through field recordings.

This year, the Chubasco Channel is hosting a site-specific sound installation under the Cushing Street Bridge along the Santa Cruz River.

The event mindfully coincides with El Día de San Juan, and will feature a live d.j. and the premiere of the Monsoon Mixtape, a series of songs by Tucson musicians.

Bloom Night at Tohono Chul

Tohono Chul boasts the world's largest collection of the night-blooming cereus, also known as The Queen of the Night.

This famed flower blooms en mass at the garden one night a year, sometime between May and late July, and bloom night has yet to happen.

Afraid of missing bloom night? You can sign up for email updates from Tohono Chul to receive updates on the progress of the blossoms.

  • Date TBA - sign up for email alerts at the Tohono Chul website
  • 6 - 10 p.m.
  • $5 for general admission, free for members
  • Flashlights, comfortable walking shoes and bottled water recommended

Stargazing at Oracle State Park

Located to the northeast of Tucson, Oracle State Park was designated as an International Dark Sky Park in 2014.

According to the park's website, the remote location is far enough from most light pollution that the Milky Way and other dark sky objects are visible.

The American Avenue Trailhead is designated nightly for star parties after park hours. The main entrance off Mt. Lemmon Road closes at 4 p.m. so stargazers should park at the American Avenue Trailhead Parking Lot.

  • Register at the self-pay station to pay the parking fee of $7 (or $12 after 10 p.m.), or to log annual state park pass
  • BYOT (Bring Your Own Telescope)

Saguaro National Park East District

Visit the Rincon Mountain Visitor Center at Saguaro National Park East daily for free ranger-led lectures and events that will teach you all about the Sonoran Desert.

From the Tohono O'odham culture and tradition of saguaro fruit harvesting, to nighttime guided strolls, the Park offers a variety of educational experiences each day of the week.

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Anne Simmons is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. Anne got her start in television while still a student at the University of Arizona. Before joining KGUN, she managed multiple public access television stations in the Bay Area and has worked as a video producer in the non-profit sector. Share your story ideas and important issues with Anne by emailing anne.simmons@kgun9.com or by connecting on Instagram or LinkedIn.