Phoenix festivals 2018: 90+ food, drink, music and art festivals you cannot miss this fall, winter

PHOENIX - Where has the year gone?

It may be hot now, but in a matter of weeks the temperatures will start to cool and the Valley's events season will rev up to a racing start.

We have a lot to look forward to: a doughnut festival, a mac-and-cheese festival, Oktoberfest and beer stein-holding competitions, and the yearly Tour de Fat bike race in Tempe.

To help you plan, we've rounded up many of the food, drink, art, and music festivals happening around town between now and the end of the year.

Some festival dates have not been announced yet. Once they are, we'll continue to update this list.

AUGUST

August 19: The Van Beer'n Indoor Beer Festival - An indoor beer festival. Sample beer from 25 breweries including Four Peaks, Founders, Deschutes and listen to music inside The Van Buren.

August 24-26: Hell City Tattoo Festival - A three-day tattoo convention and competition with seminars mixed in.

August 31-September 3: Saboten Con - A four-day anime and manga convention with panels, workshops, and vendor hall.

Rockin' Taco Street Fest

SEPTEMBER

September 1: Wickenburg Fiesta de Septiembre - The festival celebrates the start of Hispanic Heritage Month with mariachi, Folkorico, music, arts and crafts, and salsa and guacamole contests.

September 8: Children’s Learning & Play Festival - A free children's festival at WestWorld of Scottsdale with puppet shows, sing-a-longs, S.T.E.M. activities, a LEGO play area, dinosaurs and nature exhibits. Parking is $5.

September 14-16: Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market - Shop vintage looks and items from more than 150 curators and businesses at WestWorld of Scottsdale.

September 15: Rockin' Taco Street Fest - Metalachi, a heavy metal Mariachi band, will headline this annual food festival in downtown Chandler. There will be tacos, elote, churros and other treats from about 25 different restaurants and food purveyors, as well as food eating competitions.

September 15: Furry Friends Fine Arts Festival - Shemer Art Center's animal-themed festival where artists will showcase their animal paintings and drawings.

September 15: Messy Fest - A family-friendly festival in Queen Creek where the goal is to make a mess. They will have an ice cream and chocolate sauce slip n' slide, slime dunk tanks, shaving cream, tug-o-war, mud pits, and food fights.

September 21-30: Fall Arizona Restaurant Week - Looking to try a new restaurant? During Arizona Restaurant Week, more than a 100 eateries around the state offer three-course pre-fixe menus for either $33 or $44.

September 21-23: Ultra Fit Fest - An inaugural three-day all-inclusive fitness festival from beer maker Michelob Ultra. There will be workouts, panels, hiking and live entertainment.

September 22: Brazilian Day Festival - Learn about and experience Brazilian culture through workshops, music, live performances, arts and crafts, and food vendors at the 9th annual Brazilian Day Festival. New in 2018 will be the Samba fashion show.

September 22: Founders’ Day Festival - An annual festival in Queen Creek with eating contests, pig races, 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 - Sample 20 infused mojitos and margaritas from Lucky Dog Cocktails. This year, the festival will be at Sloan Park, the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs. They will also have more food trucks, according to the website.

September 22: Phoenix Children's Festival - The second Phoenix Children's Festival will once again 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 Jeffrey Osborne, Earl Klugh and Jazz Funk Soul 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 is bringing back one of its past festivals to celebrate the city's history and culture. The festival will have face painting, inflatables and bounce houses for the kids, and a beer garden for the adults.

September 28 - November 4: Tolmachoff Farms Corn Maze & Pumpkin Days - The Glendale farm opens for the season at the end of September. They have two mazes, a petting zoo, play areas and activities for the kids, including a tomato canon, and pumpkins. They also have a haunted "Fields of Screams" attraction that opens on September 28.

September 29 & 30: Goldrush Music Festival - Deadmau5, Illenium and Steve Aoki will headline the 2018 Goldrush Music Festival at Rawhide Western Town. Forty artists are slated to attend the two-day festival.

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 29SanTan Brewing’s Oktoberfest - Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers will headline the 11th SanTan Brewing Oktoberfest in downtown Chandler. Reminiscent of the parties in Munich, Germany, there will be Bavarian pretzels, beer steins, stein-holding competitions and brats.

September 29: Chili Pepper Festival - The 7th Chili Pepper Festival returns to downtown Phoenix Sept. 29. Local chefs and restaurants will serve up unique dishes using various peppers, from mild to spicy.

September 29-November 18: Mighty Monarch Butterfly Exhibit - Hundreds of Monarch butterflies will once again return to the Desert Botanical Garden's exhibit. People can walk around as butterflies freely fly around them and learn about their transformation.

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, too.

Four Peaks Oktoberfest

OCTOBER

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, plus pumpkins for purchase.

October 4-28: Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party - The Queen Creek farm is adding an extreme inflatable area, two stages, a build-your-own mac-and-cheese bar, and a revamped BMX show to its Pumpkin and Chili Party this year. There will also be a petting zoo, amusement rides, pumpkins and two corn mazes.

October 5-28: Arizona State Fair - Big & Rich, Gary Allan, The Flaming Lips, and Sesame Street Live! are some of the acts coming to this year's Arizona State Fair. There will also be carnival-style rides and games, and, of course, deep-fried treats, and turkey legs.

October 5-7: Greek Festival of Chandler - Experience a taste of Greek culture through food, dance, and music. Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church puts on this festival every year.

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. You can even dress up for Halloween.

October 5-6: Peoria's Old World Oktoberfest - Dress up in lederhosen and snack on pretzels, brats and sauerkraut, and drink from a beer stein at Peoria's Oktoberfest celebration. There will be rides, live entertainment, and a "stein holding" and "best dress" competition.

October 6: New Belgium Tour de Fat - New Belgium Brewery’s annual bike, beer and food festival returns to downtown Tempe and Tempe Beach Park. Trampled by Turtles is scheduled to perform.

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. There will also be performances by Folklorico dancers.

October 6: DTPHX Oktoberfest -  A brand new festival to downtown Phoenix, DTPHX Oktoberfest will take place at CityScape. Organizers say there will be beer, beer steins, brats and pretzels, along with games and entertainment.

October 6: Rocker 7 Farm Patch & Fall Festival - This farm in Buckeye has a four-acre corn maze, a sunflower field, hayrides and other activities during its fall festival. You can also purchase a pumpkin to carve on Halloween.

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 11: Taste of the Biltmore - Sample unlimited food and drink from local restaurants and bars in a block party-style environment. The event benefits local charities.

October 12-May 12, 2019: Electric Desert | A light and sound experience by Klip Collective - A new exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden that will project lights onto the garden's cacti, plants and trees. The lights will move to different sounds. 

October 12-14: Four Peaks Oktoberfest - A three-day German festival at Tempe Town Lake with music, food, and beer. The event supports Tempe Sister Cities.

October 12-14: 58th Original Phoenix Greek Festival - A three-day Greek festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral. There will be 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 - BAM! Industries brings its street-bike freestyle show to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler. There will also be live music and a beauty contest.

October 13: Latino Pride Festival - The inaugural Latino Pride Festival will have two main stages, 12 DJs, an expression tent and a western rodeo. It will be held at the Corona Ranch and Rodeo Grounds in Laveen. 

October 13: Oktoberfest Buckeye - A 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 13-14: Arizona Taco Festival - A two-day food festival at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. More than 50 restaurants and food trucks will have $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 - A three-day event that 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 costume contest.

October 20: Goodyear Fall Festival - Goodyear’s annual fall festival at Goodyear Ballpark with a pumpkin patch, rock wall, inflatables, trick-or-treating and costume contest.

October 20: The Zombie Walk - Dress up in your best zombie attire and walk through downtown Phoenix to benefit the Arizona Hemophilia Association. CANCELED. Read more.

October 20: Touch-A-Truck - A free event in Glendale where kids can learn about and climb into a tow truck, dump truck, commercial bucket loader, sanitation vehicle, backhoe and an 18-wheeler. 

October 20-21: Rainbows Festival - The second largest LGBTQ event in Phoenix. More than 150 exhibitors and artists will showcase their works at Heritage Square. There will also be a stage for live entertainment.

October 20-21: Anthem AutumnFest - Anthem’s annual fall festival and carnival with rides, pumpkins, inflatables, hayrides and art vendors.

October 20-21: Gelato Festival - Sample and taste authentic Italian gelato at this traveling festival when it stops in Scottsdale and Tucson. There will be workshops and panels, and gelato. 

October 20: Chandler Day of Play - A festival that focuses on children's fitness and health. There will be different activities to get kids moving and information booths for parents.

October 21: Dish It Out Arizona - Sample food and cocktails from more than 40 restaurants around town at this 21-and-up event. It benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix.

October 26-27: Salt River Fields Balloon Spooktacular - See 20 tethered hot air balloons inflate and light up at this 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, live music and food.

October 27: Herberger Theater Center Festival of the Arts - A community festival that celebrates the arts in our communities. There will be two outdoor stages, 25 performances, kids activities and food.

October 27-28: Dia de Los Muertos Festival A free two-day celebration with music and dance performances, altar, and marketplace with jewelry and crafts for sale.

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 traditional customs. In the evening, there is a candlelight procession.

NOVEMBER

November 2-11: Scottsdale International Film Festival - Watch 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 look at more than 150 fine art booths in downtown Carefree.

November 3: Queen Creek Bacon, Blues and Brews Festival - Specific details have not been announced yet, but the festival has craft beer, bacon-inspired dishes, and blues music.

November 3: Arizona Fall Festival - Formerly known as the Certified Local Fall Festival, the family-friendly festival was renamed. It focuses on all things Arizona: local restaurants, small businesses, music and beer. It is produced by Local First Arizona.

November 3: AZ Barrels, Bottles and Brews - This is a new festival for the Valley and Salt River Fields. Festival-goers can sample drinks from at least 25 Arizona breweries, distilleries, and wineries. 

November 3-4: AZCentral Food and Wine Experience - A food, drink, and wine showcase that brings together chefs, mixologists, distilleries, and vineyards.

November 3-4: Litchfield Park Festival of the Arts - A free two-day festival where artists showcase their artworks. There will be live music and food vendors. The event benefits the Litchfield Park Library Association.

November 4: 9th Pie Social - Bring your own and sample pies and pie-related treats from local chefs, restaurants, and bakers along Roosevelt Row.

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 emerging bands and solo artists. Note: Only Nov. 9-10 performances are open to the public.

November 9-11: Fountain Hills Festival of Fine Arts - More than 500 selected artists will showcase their works in photography, sculpture, jewelry, and painting.

November 9-11: VolkStock - A three-day festival at Lake Pleasant that celebrates Volkswagen vehicles. There will be a dozen food trucks, live music, and camping.

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 events, 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 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 harvest festival.

November 11: Arizona Harvest Fest - A free festival and market in downtown Chandler with 100 vendors, pumpkin toss and other kids games; cornhole 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 - The name says it all, but sample slices of pizzas (or order a whole one) 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 in 2018. 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 see artworks from more than 150 artists.

November 17-18: Day of the Dog - Another new festival to the Valley. It is a free pet-friendly festival with 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 for Phoenix. Fifteen chefs and restaurants will create $1 doughnut creations, doughnut samples and doughnut holes.

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 22-25: Arizona International Auto Show - Sit behind the driver's seat and test drive some of the latest cars, trucks and SUVs. 

November 22-December 23: Rawhide Snowy Christmas - The Western town is decorated for the holidays in Christmas lights; has a 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 24: Phoenix FLEA - Shop crafts, good and other items from crafters and makers in Arizona.

November 30-December 2: Tempe Fall Festival of the Arts - A free outdoor artwalk with more than 350 curated artists from around the country. There will be live music, food and street performances.

 

APS Electric Light Parade

DECEMBER

December 1: Kung Food Fest - A new Asian-themed street food festival from HDE Agency. Organizers say to expect 20 restaurants with variations on pho, stir fry, dumplings, noodles, sushi, and fusion tacos.

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 - Yes, Chandler's Christmas tree is made entirely of tumbleweeds. 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. Fun fact: 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.

The dates for the following fall events are not yet known:

  • AZ Battle of the Brews
  • Cave Creek Wild West Days

Editor's note: The Scottsdale Grand Prix is no longer happening on Nov. 4, a spokesperson said. The event is being rescheduled though a new date has not been announced.

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