Tucson's Dia de San Juan fiesta

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Tucson's rich history and culture coming alive Thursday to celebrate the start of our monsoon with the Dia de San Juan Fiesta.

Celebrating and praying for rain on a hot desert day.

Thursday was Dia de San Juan Fiesta, a joyful celebration of water.

This rich tradition dates all the way back to 1540 and the patron saint of water, Saint John the Baptist. "It's a celebration, it's the birthday of St. John."

According to legend, a Spanish explorer stood on the banks of the Santa Cruz praying for rain.  "The horses were dying, the plants were dying, everything was dying.  They needed the rain badly."

When the drops started to fall, it was deemed from that day forward June 24th would traditionally begin our monsoon.  This year we might have to wait.

"I think it's really needed because as you can see it's really dry out here, we need the water," says one celebration attendee.

But with good music and good food, people said this celebration was perfect.

"It's a great way to spend time with your family."