Sunday, August 23, 2009

Keeping it Local

When I first moved to Tucson almost five years ago (it will be five on September 9, 2009), I must admit that I was underwhelmed. Tucson did not wow or dazzle me right away. But it has grown on me over time, surprising me with its quirkiness and subtle desert beauty.

I was most proud to be a Tucsonan this past week during the 4th Avenue Underpass Opening (August 20, 2009). The tremendous spirit of Tucsonans came pouring out as individuals of all ages and backgrounds streamed into downtown to celebrate the long-awaited reconnection of 4th Ave and Congress. All of the downtown businesses put on their Sunday best - welcoming the crowds with free treats, discounts, and special performances. I scored a pen from Chase Bank, a t-shirt from Dinnerware Artspace, glow sticks, an Entertainment guide, and a free historical walking tour of the El Presidio neighborhood. But it was not this collection of goodies that most put a smile on my face. It was the energy and excitement I felt walking under the new underpass and searching for people I knew in the portrait tile mural. It was the feeling that we were all in this together, that for at least one day we could forget about all of the complaints and woes of downtown politics and development, and just have a good time. It was pure magic.