The Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance (SAACA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation, preservation and advancement of the Arts, will be presenting the Patagonia Fall Festival for the second year in a row in partnership with the Sky Islands Tourism Association (SITA).

The Event Coordinator, Shelby Scheer wrote that SAACA has “created over 200,000 arts-driven experiences around the state; from massive art festivals and culinary events to art therapy programs that support veterans and the elderly to large-scale community shows.”

“The most difficult aspect of our work is that the demand for arts programming is always greater than the resources SAACA has on hand,” wrote Scheer. Further, Arizona has no permanent source of funding for the arts and until it does, the arts, nonprofits and artists struggle to compete for resources.

For Scheer the most fulfilling aspect of her work is that SAACA is filling that gap in funding and bringing arts into communities around the state every day.

Last year the Fall Festival experienced unusually heavy rainfall, wrote Scheer, “so we really learned how to present the festival under the most difficult conditions our first year, which was challenging at the time but is a blessing in hindsight.”

The SAACA team has developed a much improved contingency plan for rain. Scheer wrote, “experiencing the Patagonia Park in the rain, wind, and muddy grass has helped us improve the logistics for this year, especially how to improve public safety and enjoyment in the park itself.”

Scheer believes that Fall Festival fits into a broader strategy to support the Town of Patagonia and the Sky Island region. The festival brings 15,000 to 20,000 people to Patagonia once a year but how can SAACA convert that captive audience into frequent visitors to Patagonia? How can SAACA support bring those attendees back?

SAACA hopes to grow the prominence of the Fall Festival, Patagonia and the Sky Islands region so that it is considered one of the best regional festivals in the entire country.