IFEA Award Kudos to Tucson, AZ


IFEA Award Kudos to Tucson, AZ!

IFEA Award Luncheon in Tucson, AZ
IFEA Award Luncheon in Tucson, AZ Photo: Dawn Vandaveer

Congratulations are in order, once again, for Tucson, Arizona! Winning the IFEA Award (International Festivals & Events Association) for 2017.

Recently, FEATSAZ (Festival & Events Association of Tucson & Southern Arizona) submitted the video (above) to the IFEA for review.

After reviewing the video, beautiful Tucson, Arizona has met the IFEA’s most highest standards. And in doing so, on Thursday, September 14th, at 1:30 PM the IFEA officially designated Tucson as a World Festival & Event City!

This event took place at the 62nd Annual IFEA Convention, Expo & Retreat at the prestigious J.W. Marriott Starr Pass. This is the third year in a row Tucson has been host to the IFEA Convention and most likely the last in the region for some time to come.

Nevertheless, on top of Tucson becoming the first city in the United States to be recognized as a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy, winning the IFEA Award, for 2017, is a great honor and another huge success for our city! We love you, Tucson!

More about the IFEA:

The main focus of the IFEA is to identify and provide services for those organizations that put on festivals.   More specifically, organizations that create and run quality festivals and events that support their communities in a positive way.

In Tucson, that organization is FEATSAZ (Festival & Events Association of Tucson & Southern Arizona).  FEATSAZ deserves a big kudos for their ongoing work for our community.  They should get an even bigger high five for their video and pdf submission to the IFEA that helped Tucson win the renowned award.

Great job to everyone at FEATSAZ and thank you.

Have a great day,
Tony Ray

P.S. Shout out to my ghost-writer “Gonzo” for writing up this piece.
Also, Please check out these other great Tucson Accolades.

50 Over 50 Accomplished Women

Congratulations to Carlotta Flores who made this year’s “50 Over 50: Vision“ in Forbes Magazine! Carlotta is the visionary owner of El Charro Café in downtown Tucson. You may have heard that Tucson is a Unesco City of Gastronomy. Carlotta Flores is a big part of what makes us the best 23 miles of Mexican Food in the States. Flores took the reins from its founder in 1972 and grew the business from a single café to multiple restaurants, over 400 employees, and a licensing and branding deal with MGM Grand in Las Vegas! That takes vision, dedication, and planning. In addition to all that Flores is an integral part of the Tucson community. She has a pay-it-forward mindset and according to her son Ray she reminds people that “sometimes you need to give more than you get to get somewhere.” Flores has been volunteering for over 20 years in Tucson and has served on several boards. She met the woman who nominated her, Rosalie Crowe, through the University of Arizona’s Chicano/Hispanic Student Affairs & Resource Center.


El Charro Cafe
El Charro Cafe
Flores told the Arizona Daily Star that even though she spoke with the editor of the list, Maggie McGrath, a couple of days before the announcement she still didn’t believe it. Flores kept waiting for someone to ask for money to finalize the nomination but it never came. When the 50 over 50 news hit Tucson social media it began to sink in that the honor was actually real. No one around Flores has any doubt that she deserves the award. In 2019 the heart of the operation, El Charro Café, was a semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Award. That award recognized exceptional talent and vision in the culinary world. She may not have won that one (even though we believe she should have,) being on the Forbes list of 50 over 50 is nothing to slouch about. Congratulations Carlotta, you deserve all the goodness that comes your way.

Tubac Nominated a Top-10 Small Town for Art by USA Today

Tubac Nominated a Top-10 Small Town for Art by USA Today
Tubac Nominated a Top-10 Small Town for Art by USA Today

I have always been very fond of the adorable historic village of Tubac. Finally, the rest of the world seems to be catching up! In fact, Tubac has been nominated by the esteemed editors at USA Today as a favorite small town for art. The art colony joins other luminaries like Carmel-by-the-Sea in California or Marfa in Texas. Keep reading to learn why Tubac is a favorite for art lovers and how you can vote for this prestigious award!

Tubac is for Art Lovers

Historically, the town is the site of the original Spanish colonial garrison in Arizona. The land originally belonged to the Tohono O’odham tribe and the name is a derivation of he original native name, Cuwak. The town changed hands numerous times until Union troops, upon advancing towards Tucson, caused the Confederate troops stationed there to retreat.

The town of today came about between the 1930’s and the 1960’s. Painter Dale Nichols opened the first art school (in 1948) and began restoring the dilapidated buildings. The school enlisted numerous high-profile artists. In 1964, the students and other residents founded the Tubac Festival of the Arts, thus charting the future for the small desert village.

USA Today 10 Best
USA Today 10 Best

Vote Today for Tubac to be a Top-10 Small Town for Art

USA Today 10Best is well-regarded for their wonderfully insightful lists. If you are planning your educational trip, check out their list of the 10 Best Free Museums. Additionally, if you are looking for a bite to eat check out  their 10 Best Meal Delivery Services. There is something for everyone at 10Best. The greatest part of the lists is the user-interaction. This allows you to weigh in on any of their popular lists and affect the placement of your favorites.

If you have read this far, I encourage you to take a trip to Tubac today. Experience the sights, sounds, and culture offered by the wonderful art colony. Once you have been struck by the magic, please visit 10Best Vote for Tubac. As the title says, vote for Tubac to be one of the 10 Best Small Town Art Scenes in the country. We can help bring even more visitors and share this artistic treasure found just outside Tucson.

The 10 Cheapest Places for Millennials to Live

The Hub - Downtown Hot Spot for Millenials, Cheapest Places for Millennials to Live
The Hub - Downtown Hot Spot for Millenials

10 Cheapest Places for Millennials to Live published an article, The 10 Cheapest Places for Millennials to Live in the U.S. where they considered data about cheap housing, availability of jobs, and social + cultural advantages.

In the past, New York City and Silicon Valley were enticing millennials in groves with fast paced tech jobs and other business opportunities; unfortunately, housing prices were so high (and they still are!) that millennials had trouble finding affordable housing and those with dreams of home ownership had a difficult decision to make and the opportunity cost was high. But now people are saying that Tucson may be the next Silcon Valley.

On the flip side, Florida is known to have an abundant affordable rental housing market, but the retiree demographic and job availability makes it a less desirable long-term destination for millennials.

Young people today are being challenged to think-outside-the-box and find destinations that will offer a more complete package and Tucson definitely does.

Without further ado, The Cheapest Places for Millennials to Live:

10. Austin, TX

9. Dallas, TX

8. Louisville, KY

7. Columbus, OH

6. Dayton, OH

5. Wichita, KS


3. New Bedford, MA

2. Sioux Falls, SD

1. Cape Canaveral, FL

“With a median one bedroom apartment price of $540, it’s no wonder that Money rated Tucson number 4 of their best places for millennials. The article credits the city’s revitalized downtown area and ethnic restaurants as a draw for young renters. Tucson’s job growth is expected to rise 11% over the next five years.”
We’ve done the research and this isn’t an all-encompassing description of why Tucson is one the cheapest places for millennials to live. Did you know we have one the lowest point of entry housing markets in the country? Boasting many programs to help first time home buyers and some the lowest homeowners insurance prices making Tucson a great place for someone just starting out to start their life.
Tucson also has an abundance of art, culture, and a very fun and hip downtown. There’s an abundance of nature– to hike, climb, ski and explore and there are a lot of other amazing places that are a short road trip away like: Las Vegas — 4 hours, Phoenix– 1.5 hours, Rocky Point, Mexico (Where you can rent entire beach front houses for the weekend for a couple hundred dollars)– 4 hours, San Diego, CA– 6 hours, and Showlow, AZ (home of Arizona’s biggest ski & snowboard mountain)– 4 hours.
This is only the tip of the iceberg… If you have questions about art, culture, or housing in Tucson please contact me– I’d be happy to help you however I can.