Events at Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

December 2, 2016

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 December 2016, 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.

Ongoing Special Exhibit: Tubac’s Pioneer Families and the CATASTROPHE of Baca Float No. 3. This ground breaking exhibit tells the story of how local homesteaders lost their lands to real estate speculators and political actions beyond their control.  Included with park admission, $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.

Non Presidio Event: La Fiesta de Tumacácori, Saturday & Sunday, December 3 & 4, 10 am – 4 pm. In recognition and celebration of the many cultures that were historically and are presently associated with Santa Cruz Valley, the Tumacácori Fiesta presents the traditional creations of these cultures. The fiesta features around fifty food and craft booths, continuous live entertainment on stage, and children’s activities each day. On Sunday, the day begins at 10 am in front of the Visitor Center with a procession through the Fiesta grounds to the historic church, followed by a traditional Mariachi Mass. The mission grounds and park are open throughout the weekend and admission is FREE.

Women on the Arizona Frontier - Special Presentation by Jack Lasseter – Saturday, December 3, 2 pm. The history of the West is not just the story of men. Jack tells us the fascinating story of some of the women on the Arizona frontier, who were as tough and hardy as the men, but who also brought civilization to this land.  He focuses on three women: an Apache, a Spaniard, and a New Englander.  Their stories are all pertinent to the development of Arizona.  Jack will also talk about other women including governors, judges, a bridesmaid of Eleanor Roosevelt, the Captain of the “Arizona Navy”, the first territorial historian, a famous painter and architect, and a stagecoach robber! 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.

Teodoro ‘Ted’ Ramirez Artist-in-Residence Concert Series: Dolan Ellis, Sunday, December 4, 2 pm.Dolan Ellis returns celebrating 50 years as Arizona's Official State Balladeer.  Dolan has graced the national folk music stage for many years, both as a member of the New Christy Minstrels, as a solo performer and has contributed to folklore preservation - one of the most notable aspects of his work. He has dedicated his life to the art of music and storytelling - please call 520-398-2252 today to reserve your seat and join us for this very special concert "Dolan Ellis - Arizona's Official State Balladeer - Celebrates 50 Years". Tickets are $20, children 14 and under are free. Seating is limited, so please make your reservations early, 520-398-2252.

Dipped in Tubac - Friday, December 9, 10 am to 1 pm. In celebration of the village-wide “Dipped in Tubac” Chocolate Festival, everyone is invited to come and 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.

Presentation: Apollo 8 Mission to the Moon by Bob Zimmerman – Saturday, December 10, 2 pm. Robert Zimmerman, an award-winning science journalist and historian, tells the hidden story behind the Apollo 8 mission, describing its background and how this one mission changed both American and world history forever.  It was Christmas Eve, 1968, and the astronauts of Apollo 8 -- Commander Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders -- were participants in a mission that took them faster (24,000 mph) and farther from the Earth (240,000 miles) than any human had ever traveled. More importantly, Apollo 8 was the mission that broke humanity's absolute bond to the Earth, the first mission to leave the Earth's orbit and go to another world.  Don’t miss this fascinating talk!  Call (520) 398-2252 to make your reservation.  $10.00 fee includes admission to tour the Park.

Guided Tour of the Barrio de Tubac Archaeological Site – Thursday, December 15, 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 admission to tour the Presidio Park. Tour limited to 15; reservations encouraged, 520-398-2252 or [email protected].

Living History: Spinning, Saturday, December 17, 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.

Walking Tour of Old Tubac, Saturday, December 17 and Friday, December 30, 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 Presidio Park. Tour limited to 20; reservations requested, 520-398-2252 or [email protected]

Southwestern Christmas Concert with Ted Ramirez and Special Guests – Sunday, December 18, 2 pm. Our own Artist-in-Residence Teodoro ‘Ted’ Ramirez will give his annual “Holiday Season Concert” in the 1885 Territorial Schoolhouse, sharing the stage with several outstanding musical friends: Nancy Elliott (storyteller/singer/seamstress), Blaine McIntyre (musician/songwriter for Ian Tyson), Michael Markowitz (mandolinist, physician), Ellen Edmonson Murphy (singer/songwriter/bi-lingual teacher and daughter of Southwest music legend Travis Edmonson), and Ted’s beautiful and talented grandniece Leah Frost Blue (ballerina).  Experience the joy of the holiday season Southwest style. Don't forget to invite visiting friends and neighbors. Tickets $18 adults, free for children 14 and younger.  Seating is limited, please call now for reservations, 520-398-2252.

Frontier Printing Press Demonstrations –Tuesday, December 27, 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.

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 December 2016. Find out more by calling (520) 398-2252 or visit at

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


Learn More about Tubac Presidio State Historic Park