19 October, 2019, 00:26

Tucson Meet Yourself 2019: Everything you need to know

Unofficially known as "Tucson Eat Yourself," the annual three day festival takes place October 11-13.

If you’ve been feeling like you live in a bubble – and that bubble is indeed too small – here’s some culture to the tenth power: the annual Tucson Meet Yourself celebration.

Presented by the Southwest Folklife Alliance, Tucson Meet Yourself brings over 200 folk artists, food vendors, and performers to downtown Tucson on Oct 11 – 13. The festival takes over several city blocks surrounding Jácome Plaza in front of the public library.

This year the festival features special guests from California, highlighting traditions that spreads across the Southwest, from traditional Dia de los Muertos altars to Sonoran cooking to the diaspora of African-based expressions that migrated throughout the Americas.

3 Days & 4 City Blocks of Eats & Culture

For 2019, the festival will occupy 4 city blocks surrounding Jacomé Plaza, in front of the Joel D. Valdez Main Library.

The major elements of the festival are separated into four distinct areas:

  • Jacomé Plaza: Food, City of Gastronomy
  • Pennington Street: Community Matters, Folk Arts
  • Church Avenue: Food, Yaqui & O’odham Pavillion, Duke’s Car Show
  • Stone Avenue: Food
WHEN
  • Fri., October 11: 11am – 10pm (no performances between 2 and 5pm on Friday, but plenty of food and folk art)
  • Sat., October 12: 11am – 10pm
  • Sun., October 13: 11 am-6pm
Patrick Powell of CeeDee Jamaican Kitchen stirs up some curry chicken at Tucson Meet Yourself

Patrick Powell of CeeDee Jamaican Kitchen stirs up some curry chicken at Tucson Meet Yourself. (Photo by Steven Meckler)

This year’s festival features over 50 food vendors, which will take place at Stone Avenue and Jacome Plaza in front of the public library.

You’ll see a lot of eating at Tucson Meet Yourself, jokingly called “Tucson Eat Yourself.” Japanese takoyaki, pad thai prepared by Thai Buddhist monks, native Sonoran Desert foods of the Tohono O’odham, Russian pelmeni and borscht, Cuban “ropa vieja” and so much more. Most dishes are under $12, so you can stop at many booths for small bites.

But Tucson Meet Yourself isn’t just about eating. Since food is one of the ways people all over the world connect with and continue their heritage and culture, the festival offers educational programming through its Culture Kitchen. Learn how to make special dishes; understand more about the relationship between food, land, and water in the region; and hear from people who grow and collect the ingredients that make your food so taste.

Barbara Eiswerth of Iskashitaa Refugee Network shares recipes for preserving gleaned fruits.

Barbara Eiswerth of Iskashitaa Refugee Network shares recipes for preserving gleaned fruits. (Photo by Steven Meckler)

This year cultural critic Gustavo Arellano, author of the award-winning syndicated column “¡Ask a Mexican!” and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, comes to Tucson Meet Yourself. He’ll give a talk in the Culture Kitchen called, “Back to the Futuro: The Unlikely Return of Sonoran Cuisine in Los Angeles.”

Tucson Meet Yourself is a free event presented by Southwest Folk Alliance. For more event details, please visit tucsonmeetyourself.org.

Adam Lehrman started Tucson Foodie in late 2008 as a way to track his search for the best food Tucson had to offer.

X