1. Arizona Taco Festival – October 18-19
If Arizona had an official state food, we'd put money on the taco. The humble, handheld delights soar to new heights at this festival, where $2 gets you a taco in any conceivable variety – chicken, beef, pork, seafood, veggie, dessert and beyond – with taco-helpers like salsa, guacamole and other Mexican dishes available for purchase. More than 50 teams will compete for the title of Best Taco Grand Champion, and other food contests, live music, Chihuahua beauty pageant, Lucha Libre wrestling and a tequila expo round out the fiesta. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Call for ticket prices. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, aztacofestival.com, 480-270-5000.
2. Zac Brown Band – October 16
This crossover country collective seamlessly melds bluegrass, reggae, rock and, of course, country influences on crowd-pleasing ditties like "Chicken Fried," "Toes," and "Keep Me in Mind." Their expansive, transportive songs about life's simple pleasures are perfectly suited to the wide-open oudoor arena. 7 p.m. $29.50-$74.50. Ak-Chin Pavilion, 2121 N. 83rd Ave., Phoenix, ticketmaster.com, 800-745-3000.
3. Taste of the Town – October 17
An evening of refinement for a cause – the Muscular Dystrophy Association, that is. Fine food, wine, spirits, live music and a silent auction benefit the organization. PHOENIX magazine is among the sponsors. 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Call for ticket prices. Scottsdale Quarter, 15279 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, tasteofthetownaz.com, 480-753-9084.
4. MIMFest – October 18-19
It's the inaugural global music festival for the Music Instrument Museum, arguably one of the best museums in Arizona. Local pop-up performerswill play on two stages and featured performers include The Okee Dokee Brothers, La Santa Cecilia, Socks in the Frying Pan, and Muskellunge. Children's activities mean fun for the whole family, and food trucks will be on hand to fuel hungry musicians and listeners alike. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $30, adults; $20, teens; $15, children 7-12; free, children 11 and younger. Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, mim.org, 480-478-6000.
5. Oktoberfest for Parkinson's – October 18
It's the 10th anniversary of his annual event raising money for the Arizona Chapter of the American Parkinson's Disease Association. All the hallmarks of traditional German revelry will be on display, including fine ales and wines, a German-style buffet and restaurant samples, as well as a raffle and silent auction. 5 p.m.-9 p.m. $25, advance; $35, at the door. High Street, 5415 E. High St., Phoenix, baehrchallenge.org, 480-330-0805.
6. Taste of Cave Creek – October 15-16
Sample Cave Creek's thriving culinary scene at this festival, with more than 25 restaurants offering tastings accompanied by craft beers, wine, spirits, tequila and more. Live music will keep guests partying into the night. 5-10 p.m each night. $10 entry tickets; $1 food and drink tickets (tastings are generally between $2-$5). Stagecoach Village, 7100 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, tasteofcavecreek.com, 480-488-6600.
7. Arizona Hip Hop Festival – October 18
Comerica Theatre gets a little street cred this week with the premiere of the Arizona Hip Hop Festival, masterminded by rapper JustUs Samuel, who also founded hip-hop collective Respect the Underground and hosts regular hip-hop nights at Joe's Grotto. Dozens of artists will perform on three stages, with headliners including Trap House, Haze Alvarez, Gladiator Pen and Justus CTL, to name a few. Sets start at 3 p.m. and continue through midnight. $15 (online or through artists directly). Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix, comericatheatre.com, 602-379-2800. For more information, visit azhiphopfestival.com.
8. Marsalis Well-Tempered – October 19
Saxophone legend, Grammy Award winner and Tony Award-nominated composer Branford Marsalis collaborates with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia for a night of baroque music. Masterpieces by Handel, Bach, Albinoni and more are part of the elegant program. 7:30 p.m. $49-$79. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St., Scottsdale, scottsdaleperformingarts.org, 480-499-TKTS.
9. Lee Ann Womack – October 17
Womack, the Grammy Award-winning country songstress known for her tearjerking yet inspirational hit "I Hope You Dance" visits the Valley with a full lineup of hits, including "A Little Past Little Rock," "I May Hate Myself in the Morning," and "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger." 8 p.m. $49-$79. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St., Scottsdale, scottsdaleperformingarts.org, 480-499-TKTS.
10. Orchids in Art– October 18-19
Flower fiends flock to this annual show and sale featuring hundreds of flowering orchids. The Orchid Society of Arizona hosts this event, which also features educational displays, growing supplies, ceramics, and paintings and decorative items with an orchid motif. Sa, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Su, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Free. Arizona State Veteran Home, 4141 S. Herrera Way, Phoenix, orchidsocietyaz.org, 602-451-5952.
Tour de Fat
Beer, bikes and bemusement are on tap as New Belgium Brewing hosts this event, which celebrates the power of two-wheeled transportation. Festivities kick off with a costumed bicycle parade that winds through city streets, followed by an afternoon of entertainment in the park. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Tempe Town Lake, 620 N. Mill Ave., Tempe, newbelgium.com, 888-NBB-4044.
Through November 23
Visitors stroll among hundreds of delicate and colorful monarch butterflies as they learn about the magical metamorphosis of the monarch life cycle. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Call for ticket prices. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, dbg.org, 480-941-1225.
Regular season action gets under way Oct. 9, 7 p.m., vs. Winnipeg Jets; Oct. 11, vs. Los Angeles Kings; Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m., vs. Edmonton Oilers; Oct. 18, vs. St. Louis Blues; and Oct. 25, vs. Florida Panthers. 6 p.m. faceoff unless noted. Call for ticket prices. Jobing.com Arena, 9400 W. Maryland Ave., Glendale, coyotes.nhl.com, 480-563-PUCK.
Through October 5
Baby Bear Goes to School
Baby Bear is excited about his first day of school in this charming musical show. W-F, 10 a.m.; Sa, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Su, 2 p.m. $10, adults; $7, children 12 and younger. Great Arizona Puppet Theater, 302 W. Latham St., Phoenix, azpuppets.org, 602-262-2050.
Through October 4
Challenger Space Center
They Came from Outer Space, through Oct. 4, examines the life and work of Geoff Notkin, author, explorer, science writer, meteorite specialist, photographer and host of TV's hit series, Meteorite Men. M-Sa, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $8, adults; $7, seniors; $6, children 3-12; free, children 2 and younger. 21170 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria, azchallenger.org, 623-322-2012.
This month's programs focus on selection and care of fruit trees, importance of soils, caring for your desert garden, cooking with fish, pine-needle coiling on gourds, irrigation system maintenance, herbs and spices, cultivating desert roses, home landscape design basics, seed germination and planting, vegetable gardening for beginners, digital photography, berry gardening, vertical vegetable gardening, saguaro rib walking sticks, birds of prey, pumpkin arrangements, and best bulbs for desert gardens. Call for times, dates and registration fees. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, dbg.org, 480-481-8146.
Fans of "Life in the Fast Lane" enjoy life in memory lane as the veteran California rock band plays classics such as "Hotel California," "Take It Easy," "Lyin' Eyes" and "Take It to the Limit," as well as songs featured in the group's documentary, History of the Eagles. 8 p.m. $43.55-$183.55. Jobing.com Arena, 9400 W. Maryland Ave., Glendale, ticketmaster.com, 800-745-3000.
Through October 4
The Brothers Size
Two brothers, the Louisiana bayou and West African mythology swirl together in this hot-blooded, tough and tender, music-filled drama staged by Stray Cat Theatre. Th, 7 p.m.; F-Sa, 8 p.m.; Su, 2 p.m. $12-$20. Tempe Performing Arts Center, 132 E. Sixth St., Tempe, straycattheatre.org, 480-227-1766.
The veteran comedian transcends age, gender and cultural barriers with his humorous anecdotes and musings on the human condition. His current best-seller, I Didn't Ask to Be Born, But I'm Glad I Was, talks about the Bible, being a grandfather and his first love. 7:30 p.m. $55-$75. Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St., Mesa, 480-644-6500.