We may all be on our last nerve with the summer heat, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Fall in Arizona is just around the corner. When the temperatures finally dip, the activities around the state ignite.
Sit down and open up your social calendar because it is time to plan to attend some of the greatest events this state has to offer. In the next few months, there is a lot happening, everything from art, food, drink and music events and you won’t want to miss out on the fun.
August 24-26: Hell City Tattoo Festival – A three-day tattoo convention, seminars and competition.
August 31-September 3: Saboteur Con – A four-day manga and anime convention that include workshops, panels, vendors.
September 1: Wickenburg Fiesta de Septiembre – The festival celebrates the start of Hispanic Heritage Month with music, crafts, art, salsa and guacamole contests.
September 8: Children’s Learning & Play Festival – This free children’s festival at WestWorld of Scottsdale includes puppet shows, S.T.E.M. activities, dinosaurs and nature exhibits, sing-a-longs and a LEGO play area.
September 14-16: Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market – Shop vintage from more than 150 businesses at WestWorld of Scottsdale.
September 15: Rockin’ Taco Street Fest – Metalachi, headlines the annual food festival in Chandler. Enjoy tacos, elote, churros and other treats from about 25 restaurants.
September 15: Furry Friends Fine Arts Festival – Shemer Art Center’s animal-themed festival where artists showcase their animal art.
September 15: Messy Fest – A family festival in Queen Creek where everyone gets messy. Dive into an ice cream and chocolate sauce slip n’ slide, mud pits, slime dunk tanks, shaving cream, tug-o-war, and you can’t forget the food fights.
September 21-30: Fall Arizona Restaurant Week – During Arizona Restaurant Week enjoy more than a 100 eateries around the state that offer three-course pre-fixe menus for either $33 or $44.
September 21-23: Ultra Fit Fest – A three-day all-inclusive fitness festival from title sponsor Michelob Ultra. Partake in workouts, panels, hiking and enjoy live entertainment.
September 22: Brazilian Day Festival – At the 9th annual Brazilian Day Festival learn about, experience and enjoy the Brazilian culture through workshops, music, live performances, arts and crafts, and food vendors. Don’t miss the Samba fashion show.
September 22: Founders’ Day Festival – An annual festival in Queen Creek with pig races, eating contests, rock wall, an inflatable obstacle course, and a friendly competition between Queen Creek Fire & Medical and Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
September 22: Summer End’s Margarita Mojito Festival – Enjoy and Sample 20 infused mojitos and margaritas from Lucky Dog Cocktails. The festival will be held at Sloan Park. Additional food trucks will be in attendance.
September 22: Phoenix Children’s Festival – The second Phoenix Children’s Festival will take place at CityScape in downtown Phoenix. The free festival raises money for children’s charities and has activities geared for children 3-12.
September 23: Firebird Music Festival – Jazz artists Jazz Funk Soul , Jeffrey Osborne and Earl Klugh will headline the inaugural Firebird Music Festival at WestWorld of Scottsdale. The jazz festival will be hosted by former “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson.
September 28: El Mirage Fiesta de la Gente – El Mirage celebrates the city’s history and culture. The festival will have face painting, inflatables and bounce, and a beer garden.
September 29 & 30: Goldrush Music Festival – Head over to Rawhide Western Town to see Deadmau5, Illenium and Steve Aoki headline the 2018 Goldrush Music Festival. Forty artists are slated to attend the two-day festival.
September 29: SanTan Brewing’s Oktoberfest – Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers will headline the 11th SanTan Brewing Oktoberfest in downtown Chandler. Enjoy Bavarian pretzels, beer steins, stein-holding competitions and brats.
September 29: Chili Pepper Festival – The 7th Chili Pepper Festival will be held in downtown Phoenix on September 29th. Local chefs and restaurants will serve up unique dishes using various peppers, from mild to spicy.
September 29: Somos Peoria – Sheila E. Sunny Ozuna will headline the cultural festival in Peoria. There will be traditional foods, arts and crafts, inflatables and dancing.
September 29-30: Queen Creek Olive Mill’s Garlic Festival – Celebrate the Olive Mill’s garlic harvest with samples of garlic-infused products. There will be live music and food trucks.
September 29-November 18: Mighty Monarch Butterfly Exhibit – Hundreds of Monarch butterflies will return to the Desert Botanical Garden’s exhibit. People can walk around as butterflies freely fly around them and learn about their transformation.
October 1-November 4: Vertuccio Farms Corn Maze & Fall Festival – The family-owned farm in Mesa opens for the fall season in October. It has a 7-acre corn maze, a mini hay maze, jump pads, pumpkin bowling, and other activities, and don’t forget to pick your favorite pumpkin.
October 5-7: Greek Festival of Chandler – Experience a taste of Greek culture through food, dance, and music. The annual event will be held at Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church.
October 5-28: Arizona State Fair – Big & Rich, Gary Allan, The Flaming Lips, and Sesame Street Live! are some of the live acts that will be coming to this year’s Arizona State Fair. Take part in the fun carnival-style rides and games, and, delicious deep-fried treats, and turkey legs.
October 5-6: Rio Salado Audubon Center’s Enchanted Trail Festival – Walk the “Enchanted Trail” and learn about Arizona’s nightlife, nocturnal animals, and nature.
October 5-6: Peoria’s Old World Oktoberfest – Dress up and snack on pretzels, brats and sauerkraut and of course drink from a beer stein at Peoria’s Oktoberfest celebration. Attendees can enjoy rides, live entertainment, and a “stein holding” and “best dress” competition.
October 6: Chandler Mariachi and Folkloric Festival – Mariachi Angeles de Pepe Martinez Jr., Mariachi Sonido de Mexico, and soloist Sandra Guevara will perform at Chandler’s annual heritage festival.
October 6: New Belgium Tour de Fat – New Belgium Brewery’s annual bike, beer and food festival returns to downtown Tempe. Trampled by Turtles is the scheduled performer.
October 6: DTPHX Oktoberfest – A new festival to downtown Phoenix, DTPHX Oktoberfest will take place at CityScape. Enjoy beer, beer steins, brats and pretzels, along with games and entertainment.
October 6: Litchfield Park’s Oktoberfest – Hosted at The Wigwam Resort, there will be performances from the Phoenix Polka Band; kids activities, and German food.
October 6: Rocker 7 Farm Patch & Fall Festival – The Buckeye farm has a four-acre corn maze, a sunflower field, hayrides and other activities during its fall festival. Purchase a pumpkin to carve on Halloween while you are in attendance.
October 11: Taste of the Biltmore – Sample unlimited food and drink from local restaurants and bars. The event benefits local charities.
October 12-14: Four Peaks Oktoberfest – A three-day German festival held at Tempe Town Lake with music, food, and beer. The event supports Tempe Sister Cities.
October 12-May 12, 2019: Electric Desert | A light and sound experience by Klip Collective – A new exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden will project lights onto the garden’s cacti, plants and trees. The lights will move to different sounds.
October 12-14: 58th Original Phoenix Greek Festival – A three-day Greek festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Enjoy Greek food and dessert, a market with jewelry and baked goods, traditional dance performances and inflatables for the kids.
October 12-13: Vintage and Vino Market – Shop more than 100 vendors at Queen Creek’s Horseshoe Park with vintage, recycled and refurbished goods.
October 13: BAM! Fest 2018 – Chandler is going to be rolling with the BAM! Industries street-bike freestyle show at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. There will also be live music and a beauty contest.
October 13: Oktoberfest Buckeye – A full weekend event in Buckeye that includes Oktoberfest, a sangria and shopping event, tractor show and car show.
October 13: Barktoberfest – A dog-friendly festival in Gilbert that benefits Friends for Life Animal Rescue.
October 13: Latino Pride Festival – This inaugural Latino Pride Festival will feature two main stages, 12 DJs, an expression tent and a rodeo. It will be held at the Corona Ranch and Rodeo Grounds in Laveen.
October 13-14: Arizona Taco Festival – This two-day food festival held at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick will feature more than 50 restaurants and food trucks and attendees can enjoy $2 tacos for sale. There is also music, Lucha Libre wrestling, eating contests and a kids area.
October 17 & 18: Taste of Cave Creek – A two-day food festival showcasing Cave Creek restaurants, bars and musicians.
October 18-21: Billy Moore Days – This three-day event celebrates the incorporation of Avondale and its founder, Billy Moore. There is a carnival, a festival and a parade.
October 19-21: The Maricopa County Home and Garden Show – A convention with home-improvement vendors, speakers and demos.
October 19: El Mirage Halloween Harvest Festival – The city’s annual Halloween event with pumpkins, a magician, kids activities and of course a costume contest.
October 20: Goodyear Fall Festival – Goodyear’s annual fall festival will be held at the Goodyear Ballpark with a pumpkin patch, rock wall, inflatables, trick-or-treating and a costume contest.
October 20: The Zombie Walk – Calling all Zombies. Dress up in your best zombie attire and walk through downtown Phoenix to benefit the Arizona Hemophilia Association.
October 20: Touch-A-Truck – A free event in Glendale where kids can learn about and climb into tow trucks, dump trucks, commercial bucket loaders, a sanitation vehicle, a backhoe and an 18-wheeler.
October 20-21: Rainbows Festival – This festival is the second largest LGBTQ event in Phoenix with more than 150 exhibitors and artists that will showcase their works at Heritage Square. There will also be a stage for live entertainment.
October 20-21: Gelato Festival – Sample authentic Italian gelato at the traveling festival when it makes a stop in Scottsdale and Tucson. There will be workshops and panels, and gelato.
October 20-21: Anthem AutumnFest – Anthem’s annual fall festival and carnival with rides, pumpkins, inflatables, hayrides and art vendors.
October 20: Chandler Day of Play – A festival that focuses on children’s fitness and health. There will be many different and fun activities to get kids moving and information booths for parents to keep kids healthy.
October 21: Dish It Out Arizona – Sample food and cocktails from more than 40 restaurants around town. It benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix. Attendees must be 21 years of age.
October 26-27: Salt River Fields Balloon Spooktacular – See 20 tethered hot air balloons inflate and light up at the annual Halloween event. More than 4,000 pounds of candy will be distributed.
October 27: West Valley Island Cultural Festival – A multi-cultural festival with dance performances, hula demonstrations, food and live music.
October 27: Herberger Theater Center Festival of the Arts – A community festival that unites the arts in our communities. There will be two outdoor stages, 25 performances, kids activities and food.
October 28: Dia De Los Muertos Phoenix – Also known as “Day of the Dead,” it’s a multicultural festival that honors the dead through dance, music and customs. There will be a candlelight procession in the evening.
November 2-11: Scottsdale International Film Festival – Don’t miss more than 50 independent, documentary, and award-winning films during this 10-day festival.
November 2-4: Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival – Sample wine and shop at more than 150 fine art booths in downtown Carefree.
November 3: AZ Barrels, Bottles and Brews – The new festival will be held at Salt River Fields and festival-goers can sample drinks from at least 25 Arizona breweries, distilleries, and wineries.
November 3: Arizona Fall Festival – This family-friendly festival focuses on all things Arizona: local restaurants, small businesses, music and beer. It is sponsored by Local First Arizona.
November 3-4: AZCentral Food and Wine Experience – A food, drink, and wine showcase that brings together chefs, mixologists, vineyards and distilleries.
November 3-4: Litchfield Park Festival of the Arts – A free two-day festival where artists showcase their work. Enjoy live music and food vendors. The event benefits the Litchfield Park Library Association.
November 4: Grand Prix of Scottsdale – Watch box cars race through the Scottsdale Waterfront during this free 1920s-themed event. There will be jazz music, themed cocktail events, and a kids fun area.
November 5: Desert Gathering Jewish Music Fest – Chava Mirel, Nefesh Mountain and Todd Herzog will headline this year’s Desert Gathering Jewish Music Fest.
November 8-10: Mesa Music Fest – A free music festival in Mesa showcasing bands and solo artists. Only the November 9-10th performances are open to the public.
November 9-11: VolkStock – A three-day festival held at Lake Pleasant that celebrates Volkswagen vehicles. There will be a dozen food trucks, live music, and camping.
November 9-11: Fountain Hills Festival of Fine Arts – 500 selected artists will showcase their works in photography, sculpture, jewelry, and painting.
November 10: Chuckwagon Cook-Off – A free Western food festival in Chandler where food is cooked in 1880s chuck wagons. Don’t forget your cowboy hat!
November 10: Olivepalooza at Queen Creek Olive Mill – Tour Queen Creek Olive Mill’s olive grove, see how they make Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sample their flavored olive oils at this free festival.
November 10-11: Polo Championships – Watch Italy’s Polo team take on Arizona Polo Club, and Aspen Valley (defending champs) take on Wales to compete for the title. There will be party tents, DJs, brunch and performances from the Phoenix Symphony, Phoenix Theatre, and Phoenix Boys and Girls Choir.
November 10-11: Festival of the Superstitions – A community festival over Veterans Day weekend at FlatIron Community Park in Apache Junction.
November 11: Arizona Harvest Fest – A free festival and market in downtown Chandler with 100 vendors, pumpkin toss and other kids games and a beer garden.
November 15-18: Gilbert Days Rodeo – The annual Gilbert Days Rodeo celebrates 40 years this year. It’s part of the town’s annual celebration.
November 17: Phoenix Pizza Festival – Sample slices of pizzas from different restaurants and food trucks in the Valley. There will also be craft beer and wine for sale.
November 17: American Heritage Festival – Actors re-enact colonial American life with battle demonstrations from the American Revolution and Civil War.
November 17-18: Mac and Cheese Festival – The second annual Mac and Cheese Festival moves to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. More than 30 chefs and restaurants will be there with mac and cheese-inspired dishes.
November 17-18: ArtFest of Scottsdale – Walk around Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza and enjoy artworks from more than 150 artists.
November 17-18: Day of the Dog – A new, free festival to the Valley is pet-friendly and will feature Bulldog and Chihuahua races, onsite vets, training experts, and a cat lounge.
November 17-18: Enchanted Island Harvest Festival – A kid-friendly fall festival with hayrides, pony rides, a corn box, a petting zoo and pumpkin bowling.
November 18: Downtown Donut Festival – A new festival in Phoenix will feature fifteen chefs and restaurants that will create $1 doughnut creations, doughnut samples and doughnut holes.
November 22-25: Arizona International Auto Show – Sit behind the driver’s seat and test drive some of the latest cars, trucks and SUVs
November 21-January 13: Phoenix Zoo’s ZooLights – More than a million lights and lighted displays will be strung and placed around the Phoenix Zoo for the holiday season. They also have hot chocolate, camel rides and a synchronized light show.
November 22-December 23: Rawhide Snowy Christmas – The Western town is decorated for the holidays and hosts a spectacular weekend tree lighting, and visits from Santa.
November 23: Downtown Tempe’s Fantasy of Lights Parade – Kickoff the holiday spirit as dozens of lighted floats, marching bands, and vehicles make their way down Mill Avenue in this annual tradition.
November 23-24: Glendale Glitters – Walk around and see 1.6 million lights throughout downtown Glendale, plus other festive activities to launch the holiday season.
November 30-December 2: Tempe Fall Festival of the Arts – A free outdoor art walk with 350 curated artists from around the country. There will be live music, food and street performances.
December 1: APS Electric Light Parade – Get in the holiday spirit watching dozens of lighted parade floats and marching bands march down central Phoenix for the 32nd APS Electric Light Parade. This year’s theme is “Magic of the Holidays.”
December 1: Chandler’s Christmas tree lighting and light parade – Chandler has a Christmas tree made entirely of tumbleweeds! You can’t miss it. There will be a light parade before the tree lighting. Plus, a visit from Santa.
December 7-9: Phoenix Festival of the Arts – Shop from more than 150 artists and food vendors at this annual event in downtown Phoenix. There are three stages with music, beer and wine, and a kids area.
December 8: Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade – A yearly boat parade on Tempe Town Lake where operators decorate their boats in Christmas lights and music. This is the only time motorized boats are allowed on the lake.
December 8: Christmas in the Park – Litchfield Park’s annual Christmas parade and festival with crafters, food booths, pony rides, holiday activities and visits with Santa.