Events at Tubac Presidio State Historic Park – March 2017

February 8, 2017

TUBAC – Arizona’s first State Park opening in 1957, Tubac Presidio State Historic Park was first founded by Jesuit, Eusebio Francisco Kino, who established a mission in Tumacacori in 1691, and Tubac became a mission farm and ranch. In 1776, as Juan Bautista de Anza set on his historic journey to found San Francisco, military authorities moved the garrison from Tubac to Tucson, and the unprotected settlers abandoned their homes. In 1976, an underground archaeological display was finished and visitors can now view portions of the original foundation, walls, and the plaza floor of the 1752 Presidio Commandant's quarters, as well as artifacts representing the various periods of Tubac's unique history. 

The Park now holds monthly events. In March 2017, the park will hold the events listed below. Find out more at or call (520) 398-2252. The cost is the entry fee of $5 per adult and $2 per youth aged 7-13.

Museum Tour: Spanish Tubac – A Curator’s Look at the Presidio that Transformed the Santa Cruz Valley, Wednesday, March 1 and Tuesday, March 28, 11 am – Noon. Join us for a guided tour where you’ll explore Spanish Tubac and take a closer look at several museum artifacts and discuss their impact on history. Allow 1 hour for the tour. $10 fee includes all day admission to tour the Presidio Park. Tour limited to 12; reservations requested, 520-398-2252 or

Living History: Blacksmithing in Tubac – Wednesday, March 1, 10 am – 2 pm. Blacksmithing has a long and important place in the history in Tubac, from Spanish times, to the great mining boom, to the simple hard work of making latches for the 1885 schoolhouse. Visit our blacksmith as he creates all those wonderful tools for daily life, from nails, to latches, to spoons and forks. Includes all day admission to tour the Presidio. $5 adult, $2 youth, children free.

Anniversary of “The Weekly Arizonian” – Friday, March 3, 11 am. Join us for cake and a celebration of the 158th anniversary of Arizona’s first newspaper, which was printed in Tubac on March 3, 1859. The original 1858 Washington Hand Press that printed the newspaper is still in operation at the Tubac Presidio. There will be a demonstration of the hand press in operation as it prints, a commemorative edition of the first issue of the Arizonian and an informal talk about the history of the press. Includes all day admission to tour the Presidio. $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.

Roy Purcell: Tubac Takes Flight: The Artist’s Experience – Saturday, March 4, 2 pm. Join artist Roy Purcell as he talks about his experience creating a painting depicting a Curtiss JN-4 Jenny
bi-plane and a Lockheed Sirius aircraft flown by Tubac residents Clarence “Dutch” and Joan Shankle.  Joan, the first woman to earn a private pilot’s license, and the first woman to fly coast-to-coast owned and flew the Curtiss JN-4 Jenny between Massachusetts and Tubac. They bought a 400 acre farm north of Tubac and built a hangar and runway naming it Pajaritos Migradores or PM ranch. Both the Shankles won awards at the first Annual Tucson Air Show in 1933.  Theirs is a fascinating and largely unknown piece of Tubac History. Call 520-398-2252 for reservations now. $10 fee includes all day admission to tour the Park.

Walking Tours of Old Tubac – Saturdays, March 4 & 18, 10 am – Noon. Come explore colorful Old Tubac that even some of the locals don’t know about! Guided by Connie Stevens, you’ll discover fascinating facts about the town’s early adobe buildings and learn about Arizona’s first European settlement. Topics from early Native American inhabitants, Spanish explorers, American pioneers, Apache attacks, kidnappings, and other exciting episodes are discussed. Meet at the Park’s Visitor Center. Allow 2 hours for the tour and wear walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. $10 fee includes admission to tour the Park. Tour limited to 20; reservations requested, 520-398-2252 or

Tubac Takes Flight Presentation: Nature Rescue, Rehab, & Release! - Sunday, March 5, 2 pm.
You just found a wild animal that needs help. Who can you call? What should you do and not do? Joan Cass, education director at the Tucson Wildlife Center will give us the answers and information about helping our fellow earthly creatures when they are in distress. Watch rescue demonstrations, identify mystery baby animals, and find out how you can help the wonderful wildlife that lives around us. Call (520) 398-2252 to make your reservation.  $10 fee includes all day admission to tour the Park.

Hell Bent for Resurrection: A Hike through Tubac’s Many Layers, Tuesday, March 7, 10 am – Noon. Join us for a new program of History Hikes to take advantage of the great outdoors and our amazingly rich cultural heritage. Join our docent for an insightful walk on the Anza Trail starting at the original Plaza de Armas from which the expedition to Alta California departed.  The hike will follow along a short portion of the Rio de Tubac (as it then was!) while discussing the native peoples and later arrivals who lived in the area.  Wear sturdy walking shoes, sunscreen, and bring water. $10 fee includes all day admission to the Park. The 1 and 1/4 mile hike begins from the Tubac Presidio visitors center at 10 am, rain or shine. Hike limited to 15 people. Call (520) 398-2252 to reserve your place today.

Concert: Joni Harms - Thursday, March 9, 2 pm. Joni Harms lives on a ranch in Oregon that was homesteaded in 1872. Growing up, she learned to sing and write songs by listening to Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, George Strait and Emmylou Harris. Joni wants to put the “Western” back into “Country” music and has won numerous awards and accolades over two decades.   Harms was named Female Vocalist of the Year and accepted the award for Song of the Year from the Western Music Association.  Get your tickets early by calling (520) 398-2252 as seating is limited, and this concert is sure to be a sell-out. Tickets $15 for adults, free for children 14 and under.

Presentation: Rio Rico’s Most Unusual Real Estate History by Dwight Thibodeaux – Saturday, March 11, 2 pm. Two brothers began selling goods in the streets of Baltimore. They would eventually become sellers of a well-known hair tonic and the worlds’ largest land sales company in the 1960s. In a series of very successful and ground breaking land sales techniques, some legal and some less than legal, the Rosen brothers would test their land sales methods by developing several communities in Florida. These communities became the blue print for the development of the Baca Float Ranch in Santa Cruz County into the Rio Rico Project and Subdivision. Dwight Thibodeaux will provide an entertaining exposé. Rio Rico’s unconventional development by Gulf American Land Corporation of Arizona. You won’t believe what they did to sell land to unsuspecting buyers!  Call (520) 398-2252 to make your reservation.  $10 fee includes all day admission to tour the Park.

Teodoro ‘Ted’ Ramirez Artist-in-Residence Concert Series – Don Armstrong - Sunday, March 12, 2 pm. Don Armstrong has been a favorite on the Tucson folk music scene for many years now.  He started his career in upstate New York listening to and learning from legendary performers like Dave Van Ronk, Gary Davis and Bob Dylan. Don is soft spoken, easy going, and a terrific performer. His guitar and banjo work are both flawless, his voice is clear, sweet and strong. He will present a solo concert, but if we know Don he may have talented musicians in tow. In either case, do not miss this concert - Don is a musical treasure! Grab your tickets early by calling (520) 398-2252 as seating is limited, and this concert is sure to be a sell-out. Tickets $18 for adults, free for children 14 and under.

Guided Tour of the Barrio de Tubac Archaeological Site – Wednesday, March 15 & Friday, March 24, 10 am – Noon. Special tour by Phil Halpenny and Gwen Griffin of the Spanish colonial archaeological site just south of the Park which preserves the remains of the original Tubac town site, including residence foundations, plaza area, refuse area and partial irrigation ditch. Meet at the Park’s Visitor Center. Tour involves a walk of about 1-1/4 miles. The Archaeological Conservancy protects this site and participants are asked to sign 'An Acknowledgement of Risk Factors' before entering.  Wear walking shoes, sunscreen and hat. $10 fee includes all day admission to tour the Presidio Park. Tour limited to 15; reservations encouraged, 520-398-2252 or

Frontier Printing Press Demonstrations – Thursday, March 16, 11 am – 2 pm. A knowledgeable volunteer demonstrates the Washington Hand Press used to print Arizona’s first newspaper in 1859 and answers questions about hand press printing, type setting, and other aspects of this marvel of industrial engineering. You will get to set type and print small samples to take with you.  Included with park admission: $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.

Transportation in the Old West, Special Presentation by Jack Lasseter, Saturday, March 18, 2 pm. Boring you think? Not on your life. Come and hear about the various routes across the Old West, and particularly across Arizona. Learn about the Jackass Mail where passengers had to walk part of the way, the famous Butterfield Stage running from Apache attacks, the different kinds of wagons: prairie schooners, conestogas, celerities, Concords, and Spanish carretas; why stage drivers sat on the right and the shotgun guards on the left, why a stagecoach’s front wheels were smaller than the rear ones. Jack will also talk about the paddle wheelers on the Colorado, the camels across northern Arizona, the topographical engineers, the pony express, and the coming of the railroads; and why the railroads did not connect with Phoenix until the “end of the frontier”. It’s a fascinating story and part of our history. Wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served. $15 per lecture.  A portion of the proceeds supports our education and preservation programs. Please call for reservations, 520-398-2252.

Concert: Arizona Balalaika Ensemble, Sunday, March 19, 2 pm. This amazing ensemble will dazzle you, your houseguests, and your family with spirited Slavic balalaika music and colorful costumes of the Tsarist era. You’ll hear Russian folk music played with charm and verve on unique stringed musical instruments, and you will revel in the lively tempos. For over thirty years, the group has toured throughout southeast Arizona and Mexico to the delight of all. Authentic and lavish Russian-themed hors d'oeuvres will be served including smoked salmon, deviled eggs and samples of flavored vodka. This is a hugely fun event that you will not want to miss! The last time the ensemble played at the park, we were sold out, so make your reservations today! Tickets $20 adults, free for children 14 and younger. For reservations call 520-398-2252.

Living History: Spinning, Friday, March 24, 10 am – 1 pm. Spinning is one of the oldest surviving crafts in the world. The tradition of weaving traces back to Neolithic times – approximately 12,000 years ago. Watch and learn how fiber and spinning impacted human activity from ancient to modern times. A knowledgeable volunteer will demonstrate how the spinning wheel produces thread from fiber, and you are welcome to experience spinning with a drop spindleIncluded with park admission, $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.

Living History: Chocolate! 1000 Years and Counting – Saturday, March 25, 10 am - 1 pm. Come discover the rich history of chocolate in the Southwest. Taste a cacao bean, learn how the Mayans and pre-Columbian Native Americans prepared their chocolate, and sample the energy drink that fueled the 1774 and 1775 Anza expeditions from Tubac to Alta California. Included with park admission, $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.

Teodoro ‘Ted’ Ramirez Artist-in-Residence Concert Series: The Ronstadt Review, Saturday, March 25, 2 pm. John Ronstadt and Jeanne Ronstadt (husband & wife), along with Bill Ronstadt (cousin) will close out the season with a truly Arizona-style concert. There will be a spectacular collection of songs with legendary Ronstadt harmony - guaranteed to touch your heart. Ted will open the program with a short set of classic Southwest folk tunes and together with the Ronstadts you will hear songs and stories as integral to the fabric of the great American Southwest as the giant saguaros themselves! Admission is $18 for adults, free admission for children 14 and under. Seating is limited and reservations are recommended. Please call 520-398-2252 or email today! 

Presentation: Life and War on the Edge: Spanish Colonial Arizona - Sunday, March 26, 2 pm
Join Rick Collins, our new interpretation ranger, for a fascinating talk on what it was actually like to live on the Spanish Frontier. Despite the dangers, Spanish colonials prospered. You will learn about daily life, relations with the native people and the realities of living on the edge of civilization at a time when southern Arizona was the northern outpost of New Spain. Call (520) 398-2252 to make your reservation.  $10 fee includes all day admission to tour the Park.

WHAT:  Events at Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

WHERE:  Tubac Presidio State Historic Park - Located 45 miles south of Tucson on Interstate 19 at One Burruel Street in Tubac, AZ.

WHEN:  Throughout the month of March 2017. Find out more by calling (520) 398-2252 or visit


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