Events at Tubac Presidio State Historic Park – February 2017

January 10, 2017

PHOENIX - 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 February 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.

Frontier Printing Press Demonstrations – Thursdays, February 2, February 16, & February 23, 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.

Walking Tours of Old Tubac – Saturdays, February 4 & 25, 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 all day admission to tour the Presidio Park. Tour limited to 20; reservations requested, 520-398-2252 or [email protected].

Talk: The Historical Influences of the Railroads on the Borderlands, Saturday, February 4, 2 pm
Rio Rico historian Dwight Thibodeaux will speak about how the arrival of the railroads in Arizona Territory affected the borderlands. Today, we don’t think about railroads unless the traffic arms come down at a railroad crossing and block our way.  This is especially true since there is no passenger service (only freight) from Nogales to Tucson. Dwight will explain how the Gadsden Purchase of 1854, which resulted in the purchase of southern Arizona from Mexico, was motivated primarily by the railroads.  Beginning in the 1880s, the railroads had an enormous impact on southern Arizona, including an impact on marriages!  He will also explain how Rio Rico could have become a major metropolitan area with over a million residents, if only the many proposed railroads had been completed to Calabasas!  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: Earl Edmonson, Sunday, February 5, 2 pm 
Earl Edmonson is a master of the flat-top guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, harmonica, and vocals! His work is found on countless Arizona recordings, and he has appeared in live performance with many legendary performers: Alison Krauss and Union Station, the Subdudes, Travis Edmonson, Katie Lee, and Tom Paxton to name just a few. We’re thrilled Earl will perform in a solo format, and Ted might just join him and share a few tunes and stories about the early Tucson music scene. Tickets $18 adults, free for children 14 and younger.  Seating is limited, please call now for reservations, 520-398-2252. 

Tubac Festival of the Arts, Wednesday thru Sunday, February 8 – 12, 9 am to 5 pm
The Tubac Chamber of Commerce is proud to sponsor the 58th Annual Festival of the Arts. The major event of the year for Tubac showcases the work of hundreds of visiting artists and craft persons from around the country and Canada. The food court features a variety of cuisines. Nonprofit organizations (including us!) benefit from the $8 per car charge for parking. Ours is the best lot: it's paved and the closest lot to the Festival. You can insist on parking at the Presidio, but you will have to resist everyone's frantic gesticulations to get you to park in their lots. Just keep insisting "The Presidio" and make your way across Burruel to our beautiful lot. You'll get a free pass to see the Presidio, too!

Statehood Celebration at the Tubac Presidio, Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 11 am 
Join us to celebrate the 105th anniversary of Arizona’s statehood at Arizona’s first state park! The Presidio cannon will be fired at 11am and we will join in a group birthday song. To honor the occasion, we will have a special Arizona birthday cake and soft drinks will be served. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the park grounds. Included with regular Park admission: $5 adults, $2 youth (7-13), children FREE.

Museum Tour: Spanish Tubac – A Curator’s Look at the Presidio that Transformed the Santa Cruz Valley, Tuesday, February 14, 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 [email protected]

Guided Tour of the Barrio de Tubac Archaeological Site – Wednesday, February 15 and Friday, February 24, 11 am – 1 pm
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 [email protected].

Hell Bent for Resurrection: A Hike through Tubac’s Many Layers, Saturday, February 18, 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. 

Teodoro ‘Ted’ Ramirez Artist-in-Residence Concert Series: The Remuda Triangle with Sue Harris, Sunday, February 19, 2 pm
"Remuda" is the Spanish word describing the herd of horses vaquerros use to pick their daily riding mounts. This herd includes Stewart MacDougall, Ed Brown, and Sue Harris. Sue is the latest member of the New Christy Minstrels.  The group’s poems are laced with raw humor, irony, and commentary on the state of just about everything, blended seamlessly with songs that range from poignant reflections on days gone by to uplifting celebrations of modern cowboy life. Tickets $20 adults, free for children 14 and younger.  Seating is limited, please call now for reservations, 520-398-2252. 

Talk: Washington's Medicine: Blood and Guts in the 18th Century, Wednesday, February 22, 2 pm
Join us on Washington’s birthday for a sometimes humorous and interactive look at the crude and frequently innovative medical treatments of 18th century medicine. Dr. Abraham Byrd, a Tucson family physician and Surgeon General for the Sons of the American Revolution, will discuss medical practice on the frontiers of New Spain and in the eastern colonies. Dr. Byrd will look at the early days of health care when the cure could be as bad as the disease. Call (520) 398-2252 now to make your reservation.  $10 fee includes all day admission to tour the Park. 

Living History: Spinning, Friday, February 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 spindle.  Included with park admission, $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.

Living History: Chocolate! 1000 Years and Counting – Saturday, February 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, children free.

The Archaeology of Arizona - Special Presentation by Jack Lasseter, Saturday, February 25, 2 pm 
Have you ever wondered why there seems to be so many more archaeological sites here in the Southwest than in other parts of the country? It’s the dry climate. Wherever you travel in Arizona you see archaeological sites. This talk tells us about the six major pre-historic peoples in Arizona: the Ancient Puebloan People (Anasazi), the Mogollon, the Hohokam, the Sinagua, the Salado and the Patayan. Jack will also discuss the earlier Paleo-Indians, the archeological techniques used by the professionals, and some details about the archaeologists who have made this field so famous in Arizona. A great addition to our Arizona knowledge, this field of study makes us well aware that we are not the only people to have lived here. 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 and future dates, (520) 398-2252. 

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 February 2017. Find out more by calling (520) 398-2252 or visit

For information about Arizona State Parks and the many recreational, historical and cultural programs call 1-877-MY-PARKS or visit


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