For 30 years, Hotel Congress has gathered thousands of people for Dillinger Daysa weekend-long event to commemorate the capture of John Dillinger, infamous gangster from the Great Depression era.

This year’s Dillinger Days celebration kicks off on Saturday for the 21-and-up Speakeasy.

Offerings include:

Whiskey tastings Snacks Live music Premium cigars Gun trick show Old gangster movies screenings

Tickets run for $15 apiece. The hotel noted that they have sold out in other years and suggests buying early to secure a spot.

But Sunday’s festivities are free and family-friendly:

Three Dillinger capture reenactments Historical artifacts exhibit Vintage car show Historic lectures and walking tours Live music

“Everyone will be dolled up,” Entertainment Director David Slutes said. “Its a lot of fun. You just step back in time for this event.

The Congress team is on rain watch for Sunday. Bad weather altered the event last year too, preventing the display of time-period vehicles and restored firetrucks, and moving the reenactments to a smaller, inside space.

For now, all events remain as planned.

The History

January 23, 1934:

It all started when a fire broke out at the hotel, where some of Dillinger’s gang members were staying at the time. Dillinger was hiding out at a separate house near the University of Arizona campus.

When the men tipped off one of the firemen to save their unusually heavy bags from their room, it raised some red flags.

The fireman later alerted Tucson police of the men’s identities, recognizing them from

True Detective Mysteries


Police arrested Dillinger and his associates two days later without any shots fired.

In the fire, Hotel Congress lost its third floor, taking the room count from 106 to 39.

There was just one salvageable space remaining, which they now call the “Seance Room.”

Slutes said the hotel is still a very live building nearly a century later.

One of my favorite stories is seeing John McCain and one table and this punk rocker with a giant mohawk at the next, sitting, eating the same meal at the same time,” he recalled.

“Everyone loves this place. It is really an epicenter of Tucson and the heartbeat, I think, of the town.