We’re heading toward the holiday season in metro Phoenix area, and there are plenty of events, Thanksgiving or otherwise, to keep you occupied. Check out our list of November festivals to find something for the kids, foodies, out-of-town visitors and more.
Welcome Home Ranch is home to the 38th annual Gilbert Days Rodeo. The exciting and traditional rodeo performances, which are part of the annual Gilbert Days celebration, are hosted by the Gilbert Promotional Corporation.
Details: Nov. 11-13. 7 p.m. Friday; 5 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Welcome Home Ranch, 26601 S. Val Vista Drive, Gilbert. $15, $10 ages 55 and up, $10 ages 7-15, free for ages 6 and under and military with ID. gilbertaz.gov.
Some of the Valley’s top celebrity chefs will create a multicourse dinner to benefit the Scottsdale League for the Arts at this outdoor event. Chefs include Mel Mecinas, Todd Allison and Joey Cavaretta.
Details: 6:30-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11. Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, 10600 E. Crescent Moon Drive. $125 general; $175 VIP. 480-515-5700,cooksandcorks.org.
Browse booths full of original artwork, sculptures and paintings from more than 500 artists at this annual outdoor festival. Listen to live music while having a bite to eat and visiting the beer garden. Guests can browse clothing, jewelry and more. The event is held rain or shine.
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Nov. 11-13. Downtown Fountain Hills, Avenue of the Fountains. Free. 480-837-1654, fountainhillschamber.com.
Experience Western history and chow down on food prepared by authentic 1880s chuck-wagons from around the Southwest. Visitors get a close-up look at slow-cook, wood-fire methods and experience live music, cooking demonstrations, art, historic home tours and more. Chuck-wagon meals will be sold. On Saturday, watch the chuck-wagon competition and purchase a five-course lunch from competitors. The event supports educational development efforts at Tumbleweed Ranch.
Details: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. Tumbleweed Ranch at Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen, Chandler. Admission is free. Chuck-wagon meal tickets are sold for $15 each at 10 a.m. Saturday. 480-782-2717, chandleraz.gov.
The Chiles and Chocolate event at the Desert Botanical Garden mixes sweet and spicy with flora and food. Guests can sample and purchase gourmet chocolates, fiery sauces and other products that pack a punch. Entertainment throughout the evening includes music mixes and live performances of Latin, Brazilian and Spanish dances.
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Nov. 11-13. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. $22; $20 for age 60 or older; $12 for ages 13-18 (with student ID); $10 for age 3-12; free for members. 480-941-1225, dbg.org.
Celebrate 37 years of pickin’ and grinnin’ with some of the finest players in the Southwest. Featured performers include Run Boy Run, Blue Canyon Boys and Flint Hill Special, and there will be championship competitions for players on instruments including fiddle, banjo and mandolin. There will likely be plenty of impromptu jam sessions in the parking lot, as well.
Details: Nov. 11-13. 1-4 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Everett Bowman Rodeo Arena, 935 Constellation Road, Wickenburg. One-day tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for children. Three-day passes are also available for $45 for adults, $40 for seniors and $25 for children. A military discount of $10 with proof of military ID is available Friday. 928-684-5479, wickenburgchamber.com.
This Veteran’s Day weekend, party Apache Junction-style at this community celebration in the shadow of the Superstition Mountains. There will be plenty of fun, including live music, an obstacle course, bounce houses, a petting zoo and local vendors. The festival opens after the Apache Junction Veterans Day Parade on Friday with a veterans tribute. A movie will be screened outdoors Friday night, and a car show will take place Saturday.
Details: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11-12. Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce, 567 W. Apache Trail. Free. 480-982-3141, ajchamber.com.
If a trip north is part of your holiday tradition, get in the spirit with a stop at this showcase of Christmas trees, wreaths, lights and other items that turn the Flagstaff Arboretum into a holiday wonderland. Holiday items and displays crafted by local residents will be raffled off when the festival closes Dec. 3. The festival also includes choir performances, photos with Santa and more.
Details: 4-7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 1-4 p.m. Sundays, starting Friday, November 11 through Dec. 3. Flagstaff Arboretum, 4001 S. Woody Mountain Road. $5-$8. www.thearb.org.
The Mesa Music Festival will return with Fuel set to headline a free outdoor concert in downtown Mesa at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. Fuel hit the airwaves with their first album “Sunburn” and hit single “Shimmer” in 1998. Their second album “Something Like Human” followed in 2000 and went multi-platinum with the singles “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)” and “Innocent.”
The festival is designed for up and coming bands to network with industry professionals, trade ideas and play a free festival together on the final day of the conference. So far, more than 100 bands from across the country and beyond have been selected to perform in downtown Mesa businesses and on outdoor stages from noon to 8 p.m.
Details: Noon-8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. Downtown Mesa. Free. www.mesamusicfest.com.
This festival celebrates the arts, small businesses and conservation while highlighting the history and character of Lower Grand Avenue. The event, put on by Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation, provides tours of historical commercial buildings, along with art exhibits, fashion shows, live music and more. Make costumes and masks for the Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts.
Details: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation, 1301 Grand Ave., Phoenix. Free. 602-391-4016, grandavenueartsandpreservation.org.
Get ready for an evening of lively and beautiful music during the 1st Annual Mariachi Festival at the Orpheum Theatre. The “World’s Best Mariachi” festival, which will feature the memorable tunes of Mariachi Vargas, also includes colorful folklorico dancers, as well as performances by Ballet Folklorico Tapatio, Monica Trevino and Mariachi Sonido de Mexico.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. Orpheum Theatre, 203 W. Adams St., Phoenix. $40-$90. phoenixconventioncenter.com/orpheum-theatre.
There’s only one way to properly welcome new vintages to the wine family – drink them amid much fanfare. While it may be nothing more than good marketing, Sonoita Vineyards has partnered with eight other wineries (and one distillery) to celebrate this year’s releases. The festival features music, tastings, grape stomping and more.
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. Sonoita Vineyards, 290 Elgin-Canelo Road, Elgin. $35, $10 lunches available. 520-455-5893, www.sonoitavineyards.com.
You may know the pecan from such things as pie, pralines or casual snacking. Yet there is so much more to learn about the versatile nut. See for yourself as the Green Valley Pecan Company hosts a festival devoted to the husked fruit. Enjoy live entertainment, games and demonstrations. You can also hop aboard a hayride into the orchard.
Details: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. Green Valley Pecan Co., 1625 E. Sahuarita Road, Sahuarita. Free, $5 for on-site parking. 520-329-5790, www.sahuaritapecanfestival.com.
Stars of the rock world are on display and won’t complain if you take their photos. The show includes an array of gems and minerals, as well as handcrafted jewelry starring nature’s shiny prizes. Browse among the various collections, and enjoy jewelry demonstrations as well as hourly raffles.
Details: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12-13. Lake Havasu Aquatic Center, 100 Park Ave., Lake Havasu City. $2, free for ages 12 and younger. 510-872-7070, www.golakehavasu.com/events/details/1765.
Celebrate Gilbert’s heritage and history with three days of activities that are fun for the whole family. A water-tower lighting and concert featuring Cisco and the Racecars kick off the festivities on Thursday. A mile run and 5K take place at Freestone Park on Friday. The festivities conclude with a parade in downtown Gilbert on Saturday.
Details: Concert is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, at Water Tower Plaza, 45 W. Page Ave. Free. Festivities at the 5K and mile run begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at Freestone Park, 1045 E. Juniper Ave. Spectators are free. Registration details at gilbertaz.gov. The parade is held in the Gilbert Heritage District at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. 480-503-6200, gilbertaz.gov.
History buffs can get a hands-on experience at the annual family-friendly festival. Known as the largest living-history event in the Southwest, the educational festival covers historical American life from colonial days to modern times. It includes battle re-enactments, live historical music and a historical fashion show. Actors will portray characters from times like the Old West and the world wars. Merchants will sell historical-themed goods.
Details: Reservations required Thursday and Friday, Nov. 17-18. 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. Schnepf Farms, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek. $15; free for age 3 younger; discounts for homeschoolers available through Oct. 31. 480-777-1776, americanheritagefestival.com.
Get ready for some serious muscle as the hottest street rods, custom cars and trucks take to the track at WestWorld for the AutoCross Shootout. Or just wander through over 3,000 pre-1972 hot rods on display at the “Show and Shine.” And if you need parts to get that old clunker back to museum quality, there will be a swap meet, as well. A Kids Zone and model car make-n-take activity make the weekend family-friendly.
Details: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18-20. WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road. $17 adults, $6 children 7-12, free for kids 6 and younger; $5 parking; $5 discount to Goodguys members and military personnel. 925-838-9876, good-guys.com.
This fifth annual festival will focus on urban and bohemian groove, like loft and nesting hide outs. If you love spending your weekends junking at estate sales or in Phoenix’s Melrose neighborhood, this huge flea market and vintage and handmade festival might be for you. Whether Midcentury Modern, lowbrow art, or just plain weird, join the hipsters and bargain hunters at this “Vintage Woodstock” festival.
Details: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Nov. 18-20. 3841 N. School House Road, Cave Creek. $7, free for kids 12 and under. 480-329-6118, thebigheap.com.
Relentless Beats will once again bring the Wild West Edition of this dance music festival to Rawhide. This year’s 18-and-over event will feature genre giants Bassnectar, Galantis, Louis the Child, Louis Futon and JackLNDN.
Details: Doors open 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. General admission $69-89; VIP $149-179. Rawhide Western Town, 5700 W. North Loop, Chandler. relentlessbeats.com.
Celebrate fine arts and do some early Christmas shopping. More than 150 artists and dozens of local authors will display their works, all to the sound of regional musicians. Sample delicious food from Valley restaurants or just enjoy the beautiful weather in downtown Scottsdale. Kids can enjoy hands-on activities, and dogs are welcome.
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19-20. Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza, 7380 E. Second St. Free. 480-968-5353, 888artfest.com.
Take a hayride or pony ride around the park while enjoying the cooler temperatures. Guests can visit the animals at the petting zoo, climb a rock wall or, for a fee, go to the painting pumpkin patch. Face painting, bounce houses, amusement rides and more will be part of the event.
Details: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19-20. Enchanted Island Amusement Park at Encanto Park, 1202 W. Encanto Blvd., Phoenix. $7 for Harvest Festival only. $12 for guests over 54″; $20 for guests under 54″ for festival and unlimited rides; $1 off per canned food donation (up to $5 off) per person. 602-254-1200, enchantedisland.com.
It’s Phoenix’s second-annual pizza party, and the entire city is invited. About 15 pizza makers will be tossing, saucing and topping pies, and festivalgoers can choose from slices or half or whole pizzas. The event will also feature craft-beer and wine bars, dessert vendors, lawn games, live bands and a kids zone. The 2016 event is set to benefit Downtown Phoenix Inc., a community development group that works to promote downtown revitalization efforts.
Details: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. Margaret T. Hance Park, 67 W. Culver St., Phoenix. $10 admission, babies and toddlers are free, pizza costs extra. 480-442-9176, phoenix.pizza.
It’s a day of peace, love and puppies at Chandler’s annual canine celebration. Bring Fido down for the annual Walk of Honor – A Salute to Veterans, sponsored by the American Service Animal Society, and play “Spot the Service Animal:” Keep track of all the service animals you can find for a prize. Proceeds help provide guide dogs for veterans. There also will be vendors and a Blazin’ K9s flyball racing demonstration.
Details: 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. Tumbleweed Park, 745 E. Germann Road. Free. 480-782-2665, chandleraz.gov/default.aspx?pageid=284.
This is the event that led to Mayor Greg Stanton declaring Hip Hop Day for Phoenix. Last year’s event featured more than 100 local hip-hop artists in a single day. As the major explained his support to azcentral.com, “I love the fact that an ambitious guy like Justus (Samuel) has put this all together and he’s starting to build more community support, more business support. It’s a really positive thing for downtown Phoenix and the city…. And he really likes to help young up-and-coming artists, undiscovered artists, give them a shot. I love the fact that it’s a hip-hop festival where there’s gonna be an open mic. There’s gonna be competitions at various local high schools, offering talented kids an opportunity to show their art. I want to see him and the festival succeed.”
Details: 11 a.m. 10-p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix. $17. 602-379-2800, comericatheatre.com.
Over 150 vendors will be on hand at the Scottsdale Arts & Crafts Fair. Shoppers will find beautiful and handmade original artwork, jewelry and clothing, as well as photography, iron work and more. The event, which first started in 1983, is known for offering people hand-made crafts for a variety of budget-friendly prices, with some items going for $1. In addition to the vendors, the fair features acoustic jazz, food, free activities for the kids and art demonstrations.
Details: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. Granite Reef Senior Center, 1700 N. Granite Reef Road, Scottsdale. 480-312-1700, scottsdaleaz.gov.
Celebrate fun and fitness with tests of strength and endurance that include a single-loop swim in Tempe Town Lake, a three-loop bike course in the Sonoran Desert and a run around Tempe Town Lake and Papago Park. There are competitive fields for male and female professional athletes and age group athletes. Forty qualifying slots are up for grabs for the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii. An IRONKIDS fun run for younger athletes (ages 3 to 14) will be held 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19 at Tempe Beach Park. Registration for IRONKIDS is $15 and is open online until Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Details: Sunday, Nov. 20. The men’s professional field will start at 6:40 a.m. The women’s professional field will start at 6:45 a.m. The age group field will start at 6:50 a.m. General entry for IRONMAN Arizona is sold out. Spectators are free, but VIP packages for dedicated viewing areas are available. Tempe Beach Park, Mill Ave. and Rio Salado Pwky., Tempe. 813-868-5940, ironman.com.
For 21 nights, enjoy the beauty of the Valley in winter at the Desert Botanical Garden. The park will glow from the candlelight of more than 8,000 luminarias as you walk among the cactuses under the desert night. Enjoy a cup of hot cider and listen to the holiday sounds of handbell choirs and live mariachi, reggae, classical crossover, flamenco, rock and fusion music. Or, stargaze through large telescopes from the Phoenix Astronomical Society. Tickets go on sale to members Sept. 19 and to the public Oct. 2.
Details: 5:30-9:30 p.m. Nov. 25-26, Dec. 9-11, 16-18, 20-23, 26-31; members only Dec. 2-4. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. $30; $12.50 for ages 3-12. Members: $25; $10 for age 3-12; $5 member discount on adult tickets with code Lumi2016 before Oct. 31. Free to all children under 3. 480-941-1225,dbg.org.
Add Native American art to your holiday season at the Heard Museum shops. Choose from hundreds of ornaments handmade by Native American artists in a variety of styles and tribal traditions, such as carved wood, miniature baskets, pottery and beads. This year’s featured artist, Vernon Begaye of the Navajo Nation, will create only 30 signature ornaments.
Details: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25-27. Ornament prices vary; museum admission $18; $13.50 for age 65 or older; $7.50 for students and ages 6-17; free for Native Americans and children 5 and younger. Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. 602-252-8344, heard.org.
Stock up on unique gifts for the holidays and see work by local artisans during this festival, which is inspired by America’s first Thanksgiving. More than 100 exhibitors will show off Southwestern and Native American arts and crafts. The Carefree festival is hosted in a four-acre garden that is home to desert vegetation and the largest sundial in the U.S. Enjoy live music while browsing the art, and snack on local food.
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Nov. 25-27. Downtown Carefree, 101 Easy St. Free. 480-488-2014, magicbirdfestivals.com.
Get into the holiday spirit in downtown Glendale during the kickoff weekend of Glendale Glitters. Featuring 1.5 million LED lights, this holiday display is a family-friendly event that features entertainment, food, handcrafted gifts, a winter wonderland area for kids and special visits from St. Nicholas. Also enjoy a countdown to the lighting ceremony. Other holiday-themed events are scheduled in downtown Glendale every Friday and Saturday night, 6-10 p.m., through Dec. 17. The lights will be on display 5-11 p.m. each night through Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017.
Details: 5:30-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25, and Saturday, Nov. 26. Downtown Glendale, 58th Ave. and Glendale Ave. Admission is free. Free shuttles are available. 623-930-2299, glendaleaz.com/events.
Get in the holiday spirit with some percussive EDM music at the Live 101.5 Jingle Bash. Popular EDM artists Martin Garrix and Diplo will be on hand to ring in the season with great music.
Details: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30. Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St. Phoenix. $37 and $57. comericatheatre.com.
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