Scottsdale, Phoenix and the surrounding Valley cities are prime for outdoor events October through December. Snowbirds flock, wine flows, food competitions flourish. With the daunting list of events this season, it can be hard to narrow down the options. So take a tip from a reviewer who loves all things art, food, culture and wine.
Phoenix Cultural Events: Travel to Another Country…Without Leaving the Valley
Festivals that represent almost every culture are celebrating this season in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe – you name it.
Festival of Greece in Scottsdale November 12-14. Free admission. Live Greek music, folk dancers, vendors, a Greek market, raffles, and the best part – Greek beer, wine and ouzo. And don’t forget to taste some of the delicious Greek fare, including roasted leg of lamb, gyros, stuffed grape leaves and loukoumades, traditional doughnut holes drenched in honey and cinnamon.
Wild West Days in Cave Creek November 5-7. This signature event of Cave Creek is in its 8th year, and includes a golf tournament, live entertainment, mutton bustin’, dancers, a bull fest, Miss Wild West Days, house-related competitions, musicians, bathtub races and a Western parade. It’s purpose is to keep the community strong and traditional while providing a wide range of fun events over the course of the weekend.
Ballet Arizona’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Phoenix October 31-November 2. This classic Shakespeare play is directed by Ib Anderson with incredible sets, extravagant costumes and great music by the Phoenix Symphony. This is one ballet that the boyfriend won’t fall asleep in.
Celebrate Halloween with style at the annual Dia de los Muertos Celebration in Phoenix, October 30-31. Mexican food, pastries, live music and entertainment, mariachis, Ballet Folklorico, local Latino artists and craft booths are set against a lush backdrop at the Phoenix Botanical Garden.
For all the beer and leprachaun lovers out there, the 10th annual Arizona Irish Festival is a great way to get to know the culture. Modern and historic Ireland is celebrated here, with performances from current Irish rock n’ roll to authentic ballads. Dancing, storytelling, historical presentations, Irish crafts, and of course, drinking and debauchery will all be available at this festival.
Phoenix Music Festivals
The 21st annual Classic Jazz Festival in Chandler is ideal for music lovers of all genres, with several different jazz, ragtime and swing bands from all over the U.S. and Europe. Food, wine and other activities are offered as well.
The 10th annual Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding on December 18 is for those who cherish a little more twisted Christmas. Located at Dodge Theatre, this event is a variety show combine, music, theatre, dance and comedy.
Phoenix Art Festivals
Scottsdale’s 17th annual ArtFest November 20-21 features more than 200 artists and craftsmen from around the country. Live music, foods from a variety of regions, and hands-on art activities for children help keep the entire family busy.
Try a new type of art event with the 4th annual Wearable ArtWalk in Scottsdale November 4. This section of Scottsdale Fashion Week is a one-of-a-kind parade with high fashion.
Phoenix Food Festivals: This One’s For The Foodies…And The Drunks May Get Lucky, Too.
The Arizona wine scene is taking off. Meet Arizona’s grape farmers and wine producers at the Farm at South Mountain on November 6 for the Arizona Wine Grower’s Festival. Over 20 of the state’s top wine growers will showcase their finest wines, while guest learn about the desert’s wine production and participate in dozens of tastings.
The Chiles & Chocolate Festival at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix takes place November 12-14. With a backdrop of live music and art, sample hot chiles and silky chocolate from local vendors. Chocolate mole, anyone? Chile white chocolate salsa? Southwest gifts, cooking demonstrations and Spanish Flamenco dancing and music will also be there.
For Cajun or spicy food lovers, there’s something even better than the Chiles & Chocolate Festival. The 5th annual Great Cajun Cook-Off in Phoenix will have competitors vying for the “Best in the West” in Cajun/southern food categories. Guests and judges helps decide whose best, with live music and entertainment, a raffle and silent auction. All proceeds benefits the Gulf Coast and Arizona charities on top of it all.
Even if tequila isn’t your thing, it can still be fun to learn about it the distillery process and where it comes from. And for those who do love tequila, this festival will be heaven. The TequilaFest in Phoenix from December 11-12 has a wide sampling of premium blancos, anejos, reposados, and much more, whether it is well-known popular brands or rare boutique spirits. A Margarita Challenge, continuous live entertainment and music, and food samplings from restaurants like Macayo’s, Dos Gringos and Garcias round out the day. Tequila distillers will also be there, providing demonstrations on how to grow, harvest, roast and distill tequila while tequila mixologists will show new drinks infused with coffee and mango.