Whether you’re jumping aboard the magical Polar Express train to visit Santa, taking part in local traditions, eating (or drinking) your fill at a festival, or strutting your stuff at the world’s oldest continuous rodeo, there’s always something to see and do in Tucson, Arizona.
El Tour De Tucson
Held annually the Saturday before Thanksgiving, El Tour attracts over 9,000 cyclists from throughout the United States and beyond who ride 106, 76, 54, 37 or 28 miles along the perimeter of Tucson, AZ. The Fun Ride offers shorter miles (10, 5, or 1 miles) on a generally flat course mostly using the Santa Cruz River path. El Tour is an excellent event for novice, intermediate, advanced, and professional riders. The alternative to the road-cycling event is Indoor El Tour (below).
El Tour de Tucson is a premier fundraising ride in the United States and the longest-running event of its kind in Arizona. The Banner-University Medicine El Tour de Tucson, presented by Casino de Sol and Tucson Medical HealthCare , as it’s officially titled, has been a Tucson tradition on the Saturday before Thanksgiving since 1983.
This is a bucket list ride for many participants who range from novice to professional. They enjoy the ride and its festivities out of a passion for cycling, as a benchmark for a wellness program, as a symbol of surviving a major illness or other life challenge, or to honor another person. And they help nonprofit, charitable agencies raise funds for their organizations.
The main event distances are 100, 57 and 28 miles. Fun Ride distances are 10, 5 and 1 miles. Main event routes feature scenic landscapes and the crisp, cool air of a Tucson winter. Mountain ranges and saguaro cactus surround. Course profiles range from flat to rolling or moderately hilly. The 28-mile route is mostly flat, which is great for families and ideal for first-time and beginning participants. In 2020, the 28-mile route will be open to Class 1 pedal-assist e-bike cyclists.
El Tour de Tucson cyclists raise funds for Tu Nidito Children & Family Services, the American Parkinson Disease Association Water For People Ben’s Bells Project Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Diamond Children’s Medical Center , other Perimeter Bicycling charities, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society For the children and families at Tu Nidito, El Tour is much more than a ride. El Tour is our livelihood, said Executive Director Liz McCusker.
The ride is one of the largest road bicycling events in the United States. The El Tour de Tucson was started in 1983 by cyclist Richard DeBernardis, current president of the Perimeter Bicycling Association of America. The ride takes place every November in Tucson, Arizona. The first El Tour attracted nearly 185 riders while in recent years between 7,000 and 10,000 cyclists will attend.[ citation needed Bicycling Magazine gives three reasons for ranking Tucson as the second-best place among cities its size for riding a bicycle: “Sunshine, sunshine, sunshine.” There are several routes of differing lengths ranging from 109 miles (175 km) to 0.25 miles (0.40 km). The event offers cycling tests for all levels of riders. The route weaves around the city of Tucson, which is surrounded by five mountain ranges. The courses range from rolling to moderately hilly, with the 35 mile route being fairly flat and the perfect course for beginners. The annual bike race has a new boss, TJ Juskiewicz, who has run successful bike races in Florida and Iowa. Juskiewicz has been hired as executive director by Perimeter Bicycling to grow the event in Southern Arizona.
Will it happen is the question being asked of many sporting events as the world continues to wage a war against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dillinger Days Tucson
History buffs, pop-culture fans and those who love everything to do with the 1930s may want to head to The Hotel Congress in Tucson for the annual Dillinger Days.
Dillinger Days is a two-day spectacle in honor of the capture of America’s most notorious outlaw, said Dalice Shepard, senior marketing and events manager for the hotel.
John Dillinger, who earned the title Public Enemy No. 1 had evaded capture by the FBI. As Shepard noted, Dillinger Days features a re-enactment of Dillinger’s apprehension by the Tucson Police Department and Tucson Fire Department.
For one weekend a year, the historical Hotel Congress takes you back to the 1930’s.
The Historic Hotel Congress will commemorate the anniversary of the Tucson capture of America’s Most Wanted gangster John Dillinger and his gang.
Activities include a Speakeasy, with adults-only whiskey-tasting as well as all-ages activities, including historical reenactments depicting Dillinger’s capture, a vintage car show, historical artifacts exhibit, lectures, arts and crafts, historical walking tours of downtown, and the actual Tommy Gun on display.
Dillinger Days is a two-day spectacle in honor of the capture of America’s most notorious outlaw.
Things you might not know about John Dillinger’s capture in Tucson
- On January 25, 1934, John Dillinger and his crew of criminals, Charley Makley, Russell Clark and triggerman Harry Pierpont, were apprehended by Tucson law enforcement following a string of bank robberies, murders and jailbreaks carried out from Kentucky to South Dakota.
- The gang came to Tucson to hide from the heat and get out of the cold, but soon found themselves behind bars. They were eventually transported east to face their fates.