If you’re under the impression that nothing fun happens in Tucson during the summer, check out the Western National Parks Association Store’s lineup of free events.
The store, at 12880 N. Vistoso Village Drive, offers a packed schedule of performances, films, exhibits and lectures. And in most cases, they’re free.
“Most in our crowd are senior citizens and retirees,” said David Pitts, who coordinates the events. “It’s a social time, and it’s a pretty friendly atmosphere.”
The programs started in 2002 after the association moved its headquarters to its present spot on Vistoso Village Drive.
In the new spot, the association was off the beaten path with a medical supply company headquarters building as its only neighbor. If people were to drive out to the association’s bookstore, they needed an incentive.
The resulting programs vary greatly. July’s schedule alone includes a Native American storytelling session, a film about the Grand Canyon, a workshop on attracting birds to your neighborhood, a reception for a photography exhibit and a talk about the largest expedition ever gathered in North America.
Programs run two days a week — typically Wednesdays and Saturdays — and usually start at noon and 2 p.m. The association requires reservations, because seats fill up quickly and the program room can accommodate only 60 people.
“That’s per the fire marshal, so that’s it,” Pitts said.
Although most programs are free, sometimes the association charges a fee for special events designed to generate revenue for the park service. Other revenue comes from the increased traffic through the bookstore.
“Our goal is to help the National Park Service, and that’s with cash,” Pitts said.
The National Parks Association runs bookstores in 65 national park sites in the western part of the United States.
WHAT: Performance on Native American flute by Sydney Cregger
WHEN: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, July 19
WHERE: Western National Parks Association Store, 12880 N. Vistoso Village Drive
DETAILS: Through Native American flute music, drumming and storytelling, the artist introduces listeners to an ancient rhythmic past.