Reporter - Danielle Lerner

Oct 26, 2011 3:36 PM

Heritage Square project nearly complete at Old Tucson Studios

Some new additions to Old Tucson Studios are just about complete. The Heritage Square Project broke ground back in June, bringing nearly a dozen new sets and three new streets to the main part of town. It's also shifting the focus of Old Tucson from movies to history.

Construction on Heritage Square is nearly complete. The buildings are up, some even decked out for Halloween. However they won't be seen on the big screen anytime soon. Instead, they will be starring in Old Tucson's newest venture.

"What we're trying to do here is add a new dimension, and this, what you see behind me, will be the focal point of that new living history entertainment package," said Pete Mangelsdorf, general manager and CEO of Old Tucson Company.

From dressmaker shops, to a general store and blacksmith, the sets will coincide with living history presentations to further transport visitors back to the 1800s.

"More programs that have to do with the different cultural aspects, the Hispanic culture, the Chinese culture, the Native American culture," said Mangelsdorf.

Along those lines, another new exhibit now open to the public features a Tohono O'odham village as it would have appeared in the 1860s. It includes traditional houses, a garden and other facets of village life.

"We definitely want people to know that the Tohono O'odham were here," said Joe Camarillo, group sales manager at Old Tucson.

The public can get a sneak peek of the new additions during Old Tucson's Nightfall Halloween event Thursday through Sunday, but once the sets are ready in about mid-November, the public can check them out seven days a week.

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