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Posts Tagged ‘Buy Local’

31st December
written by JHiggins

Downtownan Rio Nuevo has taken a lot of flack recently, much of it deserved. But let’s start 2009 on a positive Rio Nuevo foot. Downtown Tucson Partnership is putting on a family friendly New Years Eve celebration with events all over downtown. USA Today picked up the story – HERE. First Night is an event we’ve borrowed from other downtown’s including Boston.

Join my family and me downtown tonight. Support the local businesses down there, see for yourself what is there and get a sense of what could be.

HERE is the link to the official web site and below is the schedule of events:


Tickets for FIRST NIGHT are colorful event buttons that are to be worn during the festival.

$12 for adults, $6 for children 6-12 and free for little ones 5 and younger. Paid admission allows entry into all venues. Purchase your button at Bookmans, Food City, TCC Box Office, Fox Theatre Box Office or purchase your button online now.


FIRST NIGHT is alcohol-free to maintain a family-friendly atmosphere. Hot and cold beverages and food will be for sale in the lobby of the Leo Rich Theatre and at La Placita.

FREE party favors courtesy of Cox Communications, while supplies last.

Need assistance at the festival? Volunteers will be stationed throughout downtown to answer questions and offer directions. Look for them in FIRST NIGHT t-shirts with blinking lighted pins.


Parking is available in the La Placita parking garage and the TCC parking lots. Also, FREE on-street parking starts at 3pm, courtesy of ParkWise.



260 S. Church Ave. Sponsored by Cox Communications. Featuring a program of Hispanic Roots entertainment.
4-4:45pm: Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s String Quartet – Josefina the Javelina (a musical adventure)
5-5:45pm: Mariachi Aguilitas de Davis
6-6:45pm:Nelly y Javier (Las canciones del amor)
7-7:45pm: Ballet Folklorico Tapatio (traditional Mexican dance)
8-8:45pm:Los Cuatros Vientos (mariachi quartet)
9-9:45pm: La Mezcla (Latin salsa & fusion)
10-10:45pm & 11-11:45pm: Santa Cruz River Band (Southwestern folk music)


260 S. Church Ave. Sponsored by Tucson Pima Arts Council.
Ongoing: Art installation by Mat Bevel
3:30-6pm: The Physics Factory
3:30-5:30pm:Amber Norgaard
6:30-7:30pm: The Mission Creeps
7:30-8:30pm: Beatnik Dream Vacation
8:30-9:30pm:Namoli Brennet
9:30-11:30pm:El Camino Royales
12-midnight: GRAND FINALE


Sponsored by Ward VI City Council Member Nina Trasoff.
160 S. Scott Ave.
4-4:45pm & 5-5:30pm: Rodney Housley Children’s Magic Show
6-6:45pm: Mirror Image (twin sister jazz duo)
7-7:45pm:Degrazia Spanish Band (Spanish guitar)
8-8:45pm: Silver Thread Trio (folk/jazz/world music)
9-9:45pm: Leila Lopez (folk fusion)
10-10:45pm & 11-11:45 pm:Tim Wiedenkeller (bluegrass)


200 S. Sixth Ave. Sponsored by Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup. All outside entertainment is FREE. A festival badge gets you inside to enjoy the hands-on activities.
4-4:45pm:Thorton Willoughby, the Southwestern Wizard (magic)
5-5:45pm: Human Project New Era (hip hop dance)
6-6:45pm: Sticks and Fingers (percussion group)
7-7:45pm:Puppet Muzik (puppet show)


11 S. Sixth Ave. Sponsored by Tucson Newspapers, Inc.,
4-4:45pm: Stories that Soar!
5-5:45pm:Lisa Otey and Diane Van Deurzen (singalong)
6-6:45pm: Stories that Soar!
7-7:45pm:Lisa Otey and Diane Van Deurzen (blues)
8-8:45pm:LaughingStock Comedy Company (improv)
9-9:45pm: Angel and the Blues Disciples
10-10:45pm:LaughingStock Comedy Company
11-11:45pm: Angels and the Blues Disciples


110 S. Church Ave. Sponsored by Tucson Pima Arts Council. Free children’s programming early in the festival moving on to family-friendly singers and bands later in the evening.
4pm-4:45pm: The Dusty Buskers
5pm-5:45pm:The Rosano Bros
6pm-6:45pm: Beatnik Dream Vacation
7pm-7:45pm: Kate Becker Project
8pm-8:45pm: Stefan George
9pm-9:45pm: The Tryst
10pm-10:45pm: The Evolution
11pm-11:45pm: The Dusty Buskers


17 W. Congress St.
4-5:30pm & 6-7:30pm: Spongebob Squarepants: The Movie
8-11:30pm: Family Guy episodes


260 S. Church Ave. Sponsored by the Downtown Tucson Development Company. Don’t miss the spectacular Leo Rich Plaza grand finale at midnight, including the energetic sounds of music and dance ensemble Batucaxé and a thrilling countdown laser show.


Download and Print Your Own Schedule

First Night Festival Program (584KB, pdf)


Call us at 520.547.3338

18th December
written by JHiggins

Did you know that spending $1 in a local business keeps .42 cents in the community compared to just .11 cents for the same dollar spent in a national chain?

A little history; Tucson First was an idea adopted by Mayor and Council in 1990’s. The idea to support local businesses was started by a few in the business community and was funded by the City of Tucson. The problem was that due to City procurement procedures regarding low bidders the printing for the Tucson First program was actually done by an out of state company. The media got a hold of the story and the programs funding went away.

I was involved in another program started in the mid 2000’s called Returning Business To Tucson. Charlie Odowd (now director of Southern Arizona for ASBA) and I were the co-chairs. The momentum started but we didn’t have the dedicated personel or the budget to keep the project going.

Now another group out of Phoenix is looking to start up a chapter here in Tucson. Local First Arizona is a well organized and funded grass roots effort started and championed by Kimber Lanning. Kimber was the owner of a local record store in Phoenix called Stink Weeds.  She watch how hard it was for other local businesses to grow and thrive and decided to do something about it.

In Phoenix Local First Arizona (LFA) is up to 1800 members and growing. Each month 30-40 locally owned businesses are signing.  Some of the things LFA is doing in the Phoenix market include, buy local maps for restaurants and retail locations, numerous events to draw attention to local shop keepers including farmers markets, fall festivals, meet and greet events to name a few.  Kimber has expanded the efforts to look at zoning and building processes in Phoenixes older downtown area where a unique selection of local businesses are actually a huge selling point for consumers. Kimber is also moving LFA into the procurement arena to push for preferential treatment for local businesses in the lucrative government contracting areas. She is working with Wisk Office Products to change State of Arizona procurement rules. I have hear that the City of Phoenix has already implemented a procurement process using small businesses modeled after the Minority and Women Business program already in place.


I’ve jumped on with LFA’s efforts to start a similar program here in Tucson/Pima County.  Currently we have just shy of 100 business registered – HERE is the Tucson listings. Once our membership hits 150 here in Tucson additional marketing and support will be coming our way.  The public relations efforts have been amazing. Lisette DeMarsfrom Mrs. Tiggy Winks Toys is the Tucson point of contact and tireless champion trying to get us going here in Tucson.

 The Mayor and Council proclaimed Black Thursday, the traditionally biggest shopping day of the year as Buy Local Day.  Click HERE for the story.

I encourage all of you to check out Local First Arizona. Join the organization and help us make it a success.


From the Tucson Citizen about Local First Arizona – HERE.

From Business Pundit.com – Buy Local! – HERE

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