What’s Up: Newsy Stuff for January and February 2024

Editorial StaffJanuary 15, 2024
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Photo By Darby Vance/Courtesy Devour Culinary Classic
Photo By Darby Vance/Courtesy Devour Culinary Classic
Must Do

February 24-25
Devour Culinary Classic
Started by community advocacy group Local First Arizona in 2009, this gastronomic extravaganza brings together the best chefs, winemakers, purveyors and culinary artisans in Arizona to present an edible snapshot of the Valley. More than 40 local restaurants, including Chula Seafood, Feringhee and Chilte, will participate in what The New York Times calls “the best culinary festival in the Southwest.” 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., $150-$225, Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, 480-941-1225, devourphoenix.com


“I’m taking action where the federal government won’t.”

—Governor Katie Hobbs on her executive order to deploy Arizona’s National Guard to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers reopen the Lukeville Port of Entry in southwestern Arizona. The border crossing closed on December 4 due to a record number of migrants and lack of resources to supervise it.

Photo courtesy Library of Congress
Photo courtesy Library of Congress
A Supreme Life

Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s death on Friday, December 1, made international news, but the loss resonated with a personal pang for Arizonans. While born and educated in El Paso, Texas, the first woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court grew up on Lazy B Ranch outside Duncan, Arizona. “She has shown time and time again that she is a true cowgirl,” the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said of her longtime friend and colleague in a 2015 tribute. O’Connor and her brother, H. Alan Day, wrote about their rural childhood in their 2003 memoir/family biography Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest. Her service on the Supreme Court – and pivotal role as a moderate conservative who was the key vote in several high-profile cases – capped an accomplished career in law, from starting her own legal firm with her late husband, John Jay O’Connor, to serving in the Arizona Senate. Her own dementia diagnosis followed her husband’s death from Alzheimer’s disease in 2009, and she died of complications from it and a respiratory illness in Phoenix at age 93.

On Pickleball and Vampires

Publicists nationwide love sending PHOENIX their big-data garbage stats (example: “Arizona: No. 3 State for Cheaters!”), and we keep lapping them up. This month, we were particularly intrigued by the state’s various No. 1 rankings.

Sources: Construction Coverage; Injured in Florida; WalletHub; Betway
Sources: Construction Coverage; Injured in Florida; WalletHub; Betway
4 Weird and Whimsical Vendors at the 2024 Arizona Renaissance Festival 

Huzzah! Arizona’s ultimate destination for medieval mirth (arizona.renfestinfo.com) returns on February 3, and brings with it a host of costumed characters peddling peculiar wares and provisions. Here’s a quartet of the quirkiest. 

Starfire Swords

Stop by this swordsmith if you’re in the market for a new poleax, halberd or claymore – or an assortment of handmade leather sheaths to protect their blades. 

Ancient Art of Falconry

Birds of prey were a status symbol among the aristocracy in the Middle Ages. Experience the same spirit and skill displayed by these elite falconers throughout the festival.

Shamus the Insulter

The Arizona Renaissance Festival’s resident rascal roams around the festival grounds providing patrons with medieval roast sessions.

The Horn Shoppe

Looking for a drinking horn, a blowing horn or a combination of the two? Pop by this one-stop shoppe for a one-of-a-kind cup, instrument or alarm.