Phoenix Pizza Festival; Photo by Harrison Lai Photography

Best Fests

Written by Isabella Castillo Category: Lifestyle Issue: November 2017
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Our snappy sampler of the Valley’s premier fall and winter festivals

For most of the United States, the term “festival season” probably conjures up ultra-filtered Instagram posts tagged #summervibes. But in Arizona, our summer vibe is staying indoors at all costs, and the real festival season begins in  fall and winter. Break out your boots and plan your weekend jaunts with our ultimate list of festivals to enjoy during our most gorgeous time of year.

Arizona Fall Fest
Arizona Fall Fest; Photo by Flargus

Arizona Fall Fest
November 4
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Local First Arizona is back with its 13th fall festival showcasing all things local. Previously known as the Certified Local Fall Festival, this year the Arizona Fall Fest will include live music, more than 200 vendors from around the Valley offering food and goods, and a beer and wine garden with local brews. This AZ-centric event takes place at Margaret T. Hance Park. Admission is free.

Herberger Theater Festival of the Arts
Herberger Theater Festival of the Arts; Photo by Apatrou Photography

Herberger Theater Festival of the Arts
November 4
11:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Herberger Theater hosts its eighth annual fall festival featuring drama, dance and live music across five stages with performances by Arizona Opera, Arizona School for the Arts, Phoenix Conservatory of Music and many more. Bring the whole family for children’s activities, food vendors and pet adoptions. The event takes place at Herberger Theater in Downtown Phoenix. Admission is free.

Phoenix Sriracha Festival
November 4
Noon-8 p.m.
Pumpkin isn’t the only spice dominating the fall season. The Phoenix Sriracha Festival returns for a second year with a whole host of fiery offerings crafted by local chefs. Die-hard Sriracha fans will have their pick of dishes and drinks spiked with the zippy Asian sauce, and enjoy live music and games while their palates recover. The event scorches through Heritage Square in Downtown Phoenix. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online.

Arizona Hip-Hop Festival
November 19
10 a.m.-10 p.m.
It’s legit: Hip-Hop Day, November 19, is a statewide holiday thanks to this grassroots festival and Mayor Greg Stanton’s declaration in 2016. Arizona’s hip-hop community comes together for all-day, multi-stage performances featuring DJs, breakdancers, graffiti artists and, of course, lots of local hip-hop artists. The festival will be held at Comerica Theater. Tickets can be purchased online for $16.50.

Phoenix Pizza Festival
November 18
11 a.m.-5 p.m.
It’s an event dedicated to pizza. Need we say more? Fifteen vendors from Phoenix’s pizzaiolo royalty – including La Piazza Al Forno and Grand Avenue Pizza Co. – will converge in Downtown Phoenix to offer slices for $2-$4 each. This cheesy, carb-loaded celebration of the most important food group takes place at Margaret T. Hance Park. Tickets can be purchased online for $10.

Glendale Glitters
November 24 and 25
5-10 p.m.
One of the Valley’s most beloved holiday events kicks off on Friday, November 24, and Saturday, November 25. The mayor of Glendale lights up Historic Downtown Glendale across 16 blocks with 1.5 million LED lights, and opening weekend sparkles with local vendors, food, live music and a petting zoo. The lights themselves will illuminate the West Valley nightly until January 6. Attendance is free.

Phoenix Flea
November 25
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Whether you’re shabby chic, midcentury modern or just a lover of all things local, this massive outdoor market will have something to suit your aesthetic. Featuring handmade goods, vintage finds and fine art, the Flea rolls out at Heritage Square Park. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 10 and younger.

Food City Tamale Festival
December 9 and 10
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Food City has been putting on this weekend-long fiesta for 16 years. The festival takes over Washington Street from First Avenue to Fourth Avenue, and the four blocks will be packed with tamales from Food City and vendors from local faith-based groups fundraising for their organizations. Homemade offerings include carne asada burritos, aguas frescas, menudo, champurrado (Mexican hot chocolate) and más tamales. There will also be crafts, art and jewelry for sale, live mariachis and a competition for best tamale of the fest judged by a guest panel. Admission is free.

Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival
January 20 and 21
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Valley is vegging out for the fourth year in a row with speeches from animal rights activists, demos from culinary experts and plenty of products sans animal cruelty. This two-day haven for vegetarians and vegans (and hungry omnivores) springs up at Scottsdale Civic Center Amphitheater. One-day tickets can be purchased online for $30 or at the door for $35. A two-day pass can be purchased for $50 online or $60 at the door.