Sunday, January 25, 2009

Downtown, Dillinger Days

Were you standing on the corner in Tucson, Arizona ducking that Congress Street shootout this weekend?

I'm sick of thinking of this economy, so my thoughts instead are turning to one of the reasons I moved to Tucson -- a love of our Western heritage. There's so much coming over the next few months to fuel my respect for Western ranch history and a passion for the festivals celebrating regional culture. The start of this "season" is always the funky Dillinger Days – and it's on, right now, downtown at the restored Hotel Congress.

I like Dillinger Days because it's an experience of rough-and tumble tradition from our region's colorful past. John Dillinger ran one of America’s most notorious gangs. He was in Tucson in January 1934, hiding out at the Hotel Congress after a midwest robbery. There's a long story about fire, a suitcase of money, a melee and cops-and-robber shenanigans, but in the end Dillinger and his gang were captured in Tucson. This weekend there's fabulous food, tours, lectures and of course the re-enactment of our town's most famous gangster escapade.

’s Hotel Congress is a national historic treasure and boutique hotel rolled into one, and I love what they do to commemorate the Dillinger capture.There are crafts, music, vintage car show and other activities throughout the weekend. I’m also happy Maynard’s Market & Kitchen is now open in the train depot, because now you can enjoy local farmer produce, minestrone soup and coffee while watching all the fun.

Thanks, Hotel Congress, for making this a fun weekend to be downtown.

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