We all have holiday traditions; some passed down to us by our parents, some we share with our extended families, and some we start on our own – like making cookies, opening a single gift on Christmas Eve, trimming the tree, watching Christmas movies. You get the idea. Well one of the family traditions we started is to attend a performance with the arts; go see a show, concert, or play. Over the years we have seen local city symphonies, Christmas shows by the U. S. Air Force Band, Broadway productions. One year we even watched “A Christmas Carol” in Ford’s Theater with seats right in front of the stage where John Wilkes Booth jumped after assassinating President Lincoln.
Well this year was not quite as historic but just as memorable. We attended a local production of “Inspecting Carol” in a small community theater, The Roadrunner Theater Company.
The storyline is about a small theater company that is going broke. Its survival depends on its annual stipend from the National Endowment of the Arts. Aware the NEA is sending a site visitor to evaluate their annual production of “A Christmas Carol,” the company mistakes a naive and untalented amateur actor, to be the NEA hatchet man in disguise. In a manic effort to save the theater, the company’s harried artistic director invites him to join the company.
This is the second time we have attended a local community theater performance in Tucson and have truly enjoyed both experiences. The setting is very intimate, and you really feel like a part of the production. To be honest, I think I have enjoyed watching shows in this setting better than in a big theater. The play was very entertaining. It was mainly a comedy and the actors did a great job. The theater company has a full season of original shows and I am sure we will be back.
But the show was not our only holiday event. This year we actually got double the Christmas spirit. The following evening, we went with friends to downtown Tucson for the annual Tucson Parade of Lights. Ron and Anne managed to secure reservations at a local restaurant, Cafe Poca Cosaas a primer to the parade. The restaurant is right on the parade route, so we watched some of the beginning of the parade while enjoying our dinner and drinks.
The parade is a local community event to celebrate not just the spirit of the Winter season, but also the unique culture of the Tucson community. The downtown is decorated and illuminated as the parade winds its way through the streets with colorful floats, dancers adorned with brilliant lights, marching mariachis, and of course the obligatory fire engine. All the floats were decked out in lights and broadcasting the songs and sounds of Christmas.
There were people and families lining the streets with their folding chairs. Street vendors were pushing carts selling lights and Christmas tree light necklaces, yes Craig bought one. Most all the floats had people riding on them, throwing out candy and goodies to the crowd. It really did have a small town feel to it.
In the adjacent plaza was a small festival with live entertainment, a veritable smorgasbord of foods from local vendors, and SNOW! Yes, even in Tucson you can have snow, if you make it. They made a snow play area with a sledding hill and area for snowballs.
All and all it was a great year for our Christmas tradition.