PHOENIX — While September marks the start of fall and (finally) slightly cooler temperatures in the Valley, it also marks the start of the so-called events and festivals season.
Because of increasing concerns regarding the delta variant, the Arizona Taco Festival, Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival, and Tempe Oktoberfest have been canceled.
However, other events and festivals are currently moving forward as planned.
Generally, the CDC says fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask when outside, but also said people should "consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings." The CDC also recommends everyone wear a mask when at indoor public
places, regardless of their vaccination status.
For those planning ahead for the fall, here is a list of events and festivals happening around town.
Mortimer Farms Sunflower Fest & Pumpkin Fest (Sept. 10 - Oct. 31)
Located about 90 minutes north of Phoenix, Mortimer Farms, in Dewey, Arizona, opens for the fall season with pumpkins, a hay maze, rides, games, cinnamon-sugar doughnuts, and farm-inspired attractions, such as a ropes course, swings, slides, and train rides.
What to know: Sept. 10 - 19, 24-26 is soft opening; full festival begins Oct. 1. Admission varies from $12 - $22.50 per person throughout the month, weekdays vs. weekends. Some rides, food, and drink have separate costs, www.mortimerfarmsaz.com/PumpkinFestival.
Pumpkin Fest at the Princess (Sept. 16 - Oct. 31)
Following the end of its summer space-themed events, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess will host its fall festival with mini carnival rides, a pumpkin patch, fireworks, and a hay maze. New this year is The Cider Orchard with flaming ciders (alcoholic and nonalcoholic), kettle corn, and caramel apples, Mystic Passage with animatronics and photo opportunities, and "The Spookeasy" at the Plaza Bar.
What to know: Festival admission is included for overnight guests at the resort. The public can also gain admission to the festival by dining at one of the resort's restaurants ($75 spend min. per vehicle) or purchasing parking ($72 for self-parking and four wristbands or $108 for valet and six wristbands), www.scottsdaleprincess.com/pumpkin-nights.
I Love Mesa Day (Sept. 25)
An all-day event in downtown Mesa that hopes to support the businesses in the area. The event starts with the Downtown Mesa Farmers Market, business promotions, walking tours, musicians and artists, and evening concerts at the Mesa Amphitheater.
What to know: Free, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. throughout Main Street in downtown Mesa, concert series starts at 4:30 p.m., https://downtownmesa.com
Rockin' Taco Street Fest (Sept. 28)
Tacos, margaritas, live music, and Lucha Libre are on tap for the 10th Rockin'Taco Street Fest. More than 20 local food trucks, restaurants, and other food vendors will be at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park in downtown Chandler, including Tapas AL Gusto, Los Sombreros, and Salsa Bites. There will also be a mechanical taco and eating competitions.
What to know: Advanced tickets are $12 or $20 at the door. Kids 12 and under are free. Food, drink, and games are separate costs; www.rockintacoaz.com.
Schnepf Farms Pumpkin & Chili Party (Oct. 1 - 31)
Schnepf Farms' yearly fall festival runs throughout the month of October with a U-pick pumpkin patch, 10-acre corn maze, pig races, small amusement rides, hayrides, petting zoo, live entertainment, bonfires, chili dinners, and a spooky train ride. A new attraction this year will be a ropes course.
What to know: Tickets are $24 per person and include more than a dozen rides, including superslide, hyperloop, ropes course, zip lines, plus a petting zoo, 4-acre, and 10-acre corn mazes. The train ride, haunted bus, food, and pumpkins are separate costs. A season pass is $79, www.pumpkinandchiliparty.com.
Vertuccio Farms Fall Festival (Oct. 1 - 31)
Kids and families can venture through a five-acre corn maze, play mini-golf, and jump on a giant jump pad, among other activities, at Vertuccio Farms' yearly fall festival. There are also giant tube rolls, pumpkins, duck races, a petting zoo, barrel train rides, and pumpkin bowling.
What to know: Admission is $12 per person. Kids two and younger are free, www.vertucciofarms.com/fall-festival
Phoenix Greek Festival (Oct. 8-10)
The Phoenix Greek Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Phoenix will celebrate 60 years in 2021. The three-day festival will have Greek food, music, dancing, and vendors selling artwork and jewelry.
What to know: Friday, 5 p.m. - 10 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m, and Sunday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 1973 E. Maryland Avenue, Phoenix AZ 85016; admission is $5, food and drink are extra; parking is $5 at church or free at Charles Schwab (24th Street and Lincoln); http://phoenixgreekfestival.org
Country Thunder Arizona (Oct. 14-17)
Dustin Lynch, Old Dominion, Luke Combes, and Eric Church are set to headline the four-day desert music festival in Florence, Arizona. Old Dominion replaced Morgan Wallen. Meghan Patrick, Hardy, Mitchell Tenpenny, Chris Janson, Ashley McBryde, Parmalee, among others, are also scheduled to perform.
What to know: Single-day tickets start at $99, four-day pass starts at $200; campgrounds are additional; 20585 E. Water Way, Florence, AZ 85132; www.countrythunder.com
Anthem AutumnFest (Oct. 23 & 24)
This year's Anthem AutumnFest will have carnival rides, an arts and crafts fair, hayrides, live music, a food court and beer garden, and a pumpkin patch.
What to know: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Communiy Park. Free. Pumpkins and carnival rides may have their own costs; www.onlineatanthem.com
Mesa Arts Center’s Dia De Los Muertos Festival (Oct. 23 & 24)
Celebrate "Day of the Dead" and Latin American art and culture at this free event at the Mesa Art Center.
What to know: Free, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Mesa Arts Center, One East Main St., Mesa, AZ 85201, www.mesaartscenter.com/diadelosmuertos
Dia De Los Muertos PHX (Oct. 24)
Also known as "Day of the Dead," families remember and honor their ancestors through photos, offerings, music, and artwork. Plans for this year's festival include mask making, a community altar, live music and entertainment, face painting, and a sunset procession.
What to know: Free, though food, drink, merchandise are separate costs; gates open at 1 p.m., http://diadelosmuertosphx.com
Canal Convergence (Nov. 5 - 14)
Ten immersive artworks and installations will line the Scottsdale Waterfront canal, near Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, for 2021 Canal Convergence, an outdoor art walk. This year's theme is "Art and Technology." Walter Productions will once again have their fire pieces on display. This year's piece, Floom, featured a series of "fire-spouting flower sculptures."
What to know: Free; Nov. 5 - 6, 6 p.m. - 10 p.m., Nov. 7 - 11, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., Nov. 12-13, 6 p.m. - 10 p.m., and Nov. 14, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., https://canalconvergence.com
Arizona Bao and Dumpling Festival (Nov. 6)
Asian steamed buns, gua bao, and sweet buns will be showcased at the Arizona Bao and Dumpling Festival, as well as Boba, desserts, and other Asian dishes. The festival will be held in downtown Chandler.
What to know: Admission is $4-$15, plus fees and cost of food and drink; noon to 4:30 p.m., Dr. AJ Chandler Park, 3. S. Arizona Avenue, Chandler AZ 85224, www.facebook.com/azbaodumpling
Phoenix Pride Parade and Festival (Nov. 6 & 7)
Phoenix Pride marks 40 years in 2021 after having to postpone its 2020 festivities due to the pandemic. This year, the Grand Marshals include past board chairs and executive directors. Neon Trees, Melanie Fiona, Jenn Cuneta, Maribel Guardia, and Los Horoscopos de Durango will headline the festival's main stages.
What to know: Parade begins at 10 a.m. on Nov. 6 near Third Street and Thomas, free admission; Festival runs noon to 9 p.m. Nov. 6 & 7 at Steele Indian School Park, 300 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85012; festival admission is $30-$100; https://phoenixpride.org.
The Good Life Festival (Nov. 6)
After years at the Trilogy at Encanterra community, The Good Life Festival moves to Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek. The event was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic and is set to return in 2021. American, Don Felder, who served as the lead guitarist for the Eagles and launched a solo career, and The Guess Who with Nate Nathan and Mac Daddy-O’s, are set to perform at the event.
What to know: Tickets are $50-$95; doors open at 2 p.m. and show starts at 2:45 p.m., Schnepf Farms, 24810 E. Rittenhouse Rd, Queen Creek, AZ; www.thegoodlifefest.com
AZ Barrels, Bottles & Brews (Nov. 13)
Sample beers, wines, spirits, and hard seltzers from more than 25 Arizona breweries, wineries, and distilleries. All will have booths at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick for the 2021 AZ Barrels, Bottles & Brews festival.
What to know: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale AZ 85258; admission is $50 - $65 and includes a dozen samples. Additional sample tickets are available for purchase, https://azbottlesandbrews.com
Phoenix Pizza Festival (Nov. 12 & 14)
A festival for pizza lovers. Around 20 pizza makers will be at Margarita T. Hance Park with individual slices available for $2 - $4, as well as half-pies and whole pizzas. This year, the festival expands to two days vs. one. There will also be vendors with beer, wine, cocktails, and dessert, plus lawn games and live music. There will also be a "Donut Hole" with a dozen or so doughnut makers in place of this year's Phoenix Donut Festival.
What to know: Tickets are $12 and much be bought in advance. Organizers expect the event to sell out. Food and drink are separate costs; www.phoenix.pizza.
Enchanted Island Harvest Festival (Nov. 20 & 21)
The family amusement park will have a two-day fall festival with a petting zoo, pony rides, carnival games, such as ring toss and pumpkin fishing, pumpkin golf, and pumpkin bowling. The park's other rides, including its train and carousel, will also be open.
What to know: 11 a.m. - 6p .m. both days; admission is $12 per person or $25 for unlimited access to festival and amusement park rides; www.enchantedisland.com