Fall not only brings cooler weather to Phoenix, but it also brings some of the best festivals. Here’s a roundup of the fall festivals we are looking forward to the most.
Cala Festival (September 14 — November 16)
This fall Greater Phoenix will celebrate Arizona’s rich Latino cultural heritage with the Celebracion Artstica de las Américas (CALA) Festival. During the two-month celebration there will be theatrical and musical performances, film festivals, art exhibitions and culinary offerings throughout the Valley
Ballet Under the Stars (September 18 — 25)
Ballet Under the Stars allows Arizona communities to enjoy dance in a unique outdoor setting complete with a stage, lighting, costumes, and beautiful Arizona weather. These events are free and open to the public.
Arizona Fall Frenzy (September 30)
Arizona Fall Frenzy is a one day event along the Tempe Beach Waterfront. The festival features recording artists such as Blink 182, and the valley’s own Jimmy Eat World. Accompanying the wide variety of musical acts will be food vendors, beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), sponsor booths, arts, crafts and more. This will be a night for both local Arizonians and out-of-state visitors alike to come enjoy.
Rainbows Festival (October 1 and 2)
The annual Rainbows Festival and Street Fair is a celebration of the diversity of the LGBT community. The event is located in historic Heritage Square Park in downtown Phoenix. Each year, the Rainbows Festival draws a crowd in excess of 25,000 gay and lesbians, family members and friends. This is one of the largest LGBT events in the state of Arizona.
Dine Out With the Chefs (October 2)
Dine Out with the Chefs showcases its largest number of chefs to date, representing many of the Valley’s finest restaurants. Five new establishments have been added to the distinguished Dine Out roster this year, joined by 18 returning favorites. Guests have the opportunity to mingle with renowned culinary masters and to sample their mouth-watering creations, from delicious soups, salads and appetizers to some of their signature dishes and most decadent desserts.
To complement the brilliant cuisine, the event also features live entertainment, tastings of fine wines and tequilas, cooking demonstrations and a book signing, among other surprises.
Phoenix Fashion Week (October 5 — 8 )
Sponsored by Phoenix magazine, this seventh-annual fashion extravaganza features established and emerging designer runway shows, seminars, a model of the year competition, student design scholarship competition, designer sample sales, glitzy after-parties, a Fashionably Pink charity event and celebrity fashion show benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the event’s signature Style Villa shopping experience. Guests will also enjoy a VIP lounge created by ASID North Interior Designers.
Phoenix Greek Festival (October 7 — 9)
The festival will include a superb full-scale authentic dinner menu, al la carte meals, delicious pastries, an extensive line of imported groceries, live entertainment, Greek beer and wine, a variety of vendors to choose from-jewelers, music, novelty items, and more. Plenty of parking with shuttles available. As always, a percent of the proceeds will benefit the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Come out for a spectacular three-day event that you, your family, and friends will enjoy.
Arizona State Fair (October 15 — November 4)
New and exciting attractions for the 2011 Arizona State Fair are expected and many of the favorite attractions from past years will be returning as well. Don’t miss fun events such as, the United States Arm Wrestling Championships, Arizona Lottery Backyard, Arizona State Fair 5k & Fun Run/Walk, Figure 8 Racing and so much more. There will be something for everyone in the family. Numerous food booths will be there to get your carnival cravings.
Tempe Oktoberfest (October 7 — 9)
This Bavarian-themed celebration offers a taste of Regensburg, Germany, one of Tempe’s sister cities. The three-day fete features a polka-dance floor, multiple entertainment stages, wine and beer gardens and a German-food market with heaps of strudel and bratwurst. During the day, bring the kids to see the dachshund racing and Kinderfest area. As the sun goes down, the crowd gets more mature – and the suds really start flowing.
Phoenix Oldworld Oktoberfest (October 15)
This celebration, hosted by the Arizona Center for Germanic Cultures, a non-profit group representing people of Germanic roots, is modeled after the world’s largest and first Oktoberfest, which began more than 200 years ago in Munich. From lederhosen to accordions, the festival promises an authentic German experience, including a sauerkraut cookoff, imported German products and a stage where Bavarian bands play throughout the day.
Arizona Taco Festival(October 15)
Everyone from Valley restaurants to amateur competitors will sign up for their chance to taco-battle it out for $7,500. Expect a huge VIP Tent, Lucha Libre wrestling, beer donkeys, a main bar experience sponsored by a local taco shop, a Margarita Challenge, hot chile pepper eating contest, and a Boutique Tequila Expo Tent featuring over 30 different brands of premium tequilas, a kid’s zone, and so much more.
Kokopelli Krush (October 21 — 23)
The highlights of this annual festival are the daily grape-stomping competitions, which begin at 7:15 Oct. 21 and at 1 p.m. Oct. 22 and 23. Arizona wine tastings are featured and ceremonies for the bistro’s 1 millionth bottle-opening are held at 7 and 11 p.m. Oct. 22. A kids zone is available, and daily live entertainment includes performances from Alonzo on the steel drum and island beats and reggae tunes from Kush County.
Grand Avenue Festival (October 22)
The Grand Avenue Merchants’ Association will be hosting the free 3rd annual Grand Avenue Festival on October 22nd, from 3 — 11 pm. The festival will be a celebration of the vibrant culture, art, history and adaptive re-use of the Lower Grand Avenue arts and small business district and adjoining neighborhoods.
Phoenix Food Truck Festival (October 22)
Sample food at more than 30 food trucks, including Short Leash Hot Dogs, Carte Blanche, Frufrupops, Sunshine and Spice, Sweet Republic, Toms Pig Rig, Pizza People, Udder Delights and Emerson Fry Bread. The Four Peaks Beer Truck and Dos Cabezas Winery provide beverages at a cash bar. Live music from four bands is sponsored by Stinkweeds Records. Hosted by Roosevelt Row Community Development Corp. and the Phoenix Street Food Coalition.
Arab American Festival (October 22 — 23)
Celebrate Arabian culture with more than 35 international singers, dancers and musicians offering 20 hours of on-stage entertainment. Activities include folklore shows, an international food court, a hookah lounge, kids rides and vendors.
Cave Creek Wild West Days (November 3 — 6)
Wild West Days, Arizona’s largest western venue and a Cave Creek signature event, will be held from November 3-6, 2011 in downtown Cave Creek. The four-day venue kicks off with a golf tournament at Rancho Manana Golf Club followed by three days of non-stop family entertainment including: mutton bustin’, live music, a period costume competition, musical performers, period vendors, a western parade and Walk for 100 benefit, bathtub races, the Trainer’s Challenge, Miss Wild West Days and various horse-related activities and other festivities. Wild West Days is a renowned annual western experience.
La Gran Fiesta (November 5 and 6)
The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts hosts this mix of culturally themed activities, concerts and dance performances showcasing Mexican, Caribbean and South American acts. The programs are free during the day and ticketed at night. Evening shows include a performance by Grammy Award-winning musician Sergio Mendes of the group Brasil. Don’t miss the mercado with Latin food and drinks.
Frontier Town Firefighter Chili Challenge (November 5)
Firefighters and regular Joes from all over the state are invited to make their best chili in a contest with cash prizes up to $500. Proceeds benefit local charities, such as the 100 Club, which supports the families of fallen first responders.
Chiles & Chocolate (November 11 — 13)
Sample gourmet chocolate, zesty salsas and Southwestern food at this festival. See dance performances and listen to Latin music from DJ Miguel Ivery. A chile-roasting station offers fresh-roasted chiles, and vendors sell such food and beverages as chicken mole, burritos, street tacos, chips and salsa, brownies, soda, water and lemonade.
Chandler Museum Chuck Wagon Cook-off (November 12)
Try a plate of chuck wagon food prepared by one of the competing authentic 1880s chuck wagon teams, including selections like chicken-fried steak, cowboy beans, sliced potatoes, biscuits and fruit cobbler. Sample sizes are offered. Judges decide the winner at noon. A petting zoo, horse rides, candle dipping, tours and a general store are available and weaving and blacksmith demonstrations are featured. Pioneer Pepper and the Sunset Pioneers perform songs of the Old West.
Heard Museum Spanish Market (November 12 and 13)
Vibrant Latin culture will be on display at one of the Valley’s largest all-Spanish markets, which also features strolling mariachis, folklorico dancers and cultural foods. More than 75 artists from Arizona and New Mexico will display their original works, which range in price from less than $10 to more than $1,000. Pieces include milagros sculptures, colcha embroidery, pottery, jewelry and paintings.
Festival at the Farm (November 19)
Shake hands and drink the juice of Arizona’s own grape farmers and wine producers in the picturesque setting of Phoenix’s historic The Farm at South Mountain this fall. More than 20 of the state’s top wine growers will gather to showcase their finest wines at this interactive event. Guests will learn about Arizona wine production, participate in fun and educational wine seminars and taste dozens of wines. Come experience all the joys that wine has to offer.