Every March, a temporary tent city sets up for one weekend on the grassy Mall in the center of the campus of the University of Arizona. Over 100,000 people gather under the palms. In just five years, the Tucson Festival of Books has grown to become the fourth largest festival of its kind in the country; only Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Miami have larger events.
The Festival is so much more than just books—it's a vast fair that distills the literary tastes and cultural possibilities of an entire region: hundreds of organizations and vendors, authors from all over the country, cooking demonstrations, National Park docents, a food-court-restaurant-village, readings, signings, science-for-children, SW Native American arts...and, of course, readings, lectures, signings, and writing workshops.
Meet a Pulitzer-prize-winning author, then chow down on some tamales before catching a performance of Apache music.
Spring in the southwest can be fickle. Be prepared for an 80-degree-day under the desert sun...but bring a jacket just in case. This year it was in the 50s, with snow blanketing the mountains on the city's northern and eastern edges...