Book Your Next Show or Banquet at the Placita Outside San Augustine Cathedral

April 11, 2012

By Teya Vitu

The very colorful band shell sits behind the short wall enclosing St. Augustine Cathedral, sparingly used since its dedication in May 2009.

The color bandshell at the Arsenio S. Carrillo Placita at San Augustine Cathedral.

Word apparently has not gotten out that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson is more than willing to rent out the Monsignor Arsenio S. Carrillo Placita, 192 Stone Stone Avenue, for all sorts of public events.

“We’d like to make the Placita available to the community for events like 2nd Saturdays for people to enjoy the spirit of Tucson,” said Father Gonzalo Villegas, rector of St. Augustine Cathedral.

The Placita’s showpiece is the 22-foot-tall band shell adorned with 300 flowers, 18 butterflies, six birds and 1,000 leaves, all made of steel, crafted by Adobe Anvil’s Joe Hernandez and designed by Arquitectura’s Jose Castro.

The 1,600-square-foot stage is supported with professional lighting and sound systems. The Placita seats 500 for concerts and about 250 to 300 for outdoor banquets, said John Shaheen, the Diocese’s property and insurance director.

“My dream is to see a jazz festival happen, something for the public,” Shaheen said. “I hope to see a farmers market happen. Tucson Meet Yourself really wants to do something with the Placita. There’s no reason 2nd Saturdays couldn’t expand here.

“It hasn’t been used all that much. The public needs to know that it is available for concerts and quinceañeras. There have been a couple mariachi events there.”

About 50 events have been staged at the Carrillo Placita in its three years, most church-related events, such as the St. Augustine Parish Festival coming April 29.

Alcohol may be served on the Placita, but a catering service must be engaged.

The Placita cannot be rented for political events or wedding ceremonies, but wedding receptions are acceptable, Shaheen said.

The basic rental rate for the Monsignor Arsenio S. Carrillo Placita is $200 per hour with a four-hour minimum and $100 for each additional hour.

This includes the Placita and its stage lighting and sound systems, use of the commercial kitchen, event setup and cleanup, use of 500 upholstered banquet chairs, a dozen 6-foot round tables and ice from the ice machine.

Along with staged performances and dining events, the 90-by-63-foot Placita also has 20 electrical outlets along the edges for booths.

These $1.2 million improvements to this corner of the Cathedral property also brought restrooms alongside the Placita.

The Placita was a four-year quest of Tony S. Carrillo to honor his brother, Monsignor Arsenio S. Carrillo, who was the cathedral’s rector for 40 years. Tony Carrillo chaired the 31-person Placita committee that raised all the money for the project with a variety of events and concerts. No Diocese money was used to build the Placita.

The Placita’s dedication plaque spells out what the Diocese would like to see there: “May this stage be a place for singing and dancing with joy, making music like angels, and bring the Good News so that all who see and hear will experience the love of Jesus Christ.”

To rent the Monsignor Arsenio S. Carrillo Placita and Hall, call the Cathedral office at 623- 6351.