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Tempe Festival of the Arts turns 50, drawing hundreds of thousands

Posted at 7:47 AM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 12:01:12-05

Downtown Tempe Authority is a paid advertiser of Sonoran Living.

Tempe Festival of the Arts Turns Fifty this November

Since its inaugural event in 1968 as a tiny gathering to celebrate local Arizona-made artwork, the Tempe Festival of the Arts has been putting Arizona on the map as a destination for art, artists, creators, makers and art enthusiasts. Spanning two centuries, and celebrating its gold anniversary, the 50th Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts takes place November 30th though December 2nd, 2018 in Downtown Tempe.  This award-winning and nationally-acclaimed 3-day festival now draws upwards of 225,000+ visitors to as many as 375 booths lining Mill Avenue and the surrounding streets; presenting unique, and hand-made artwork that offers visitors a fantastically eclectic urban art experience in the middle of the Sonoran Desert.

Perfect for holiday gift shopping, this free-to-attend and family-friendly event boasts fun, frolic, entertainment and food and drink for all ages. In addition to the custom-made art available, guests will discover strolling street performers, buskers, musicians and two stages programmed with LIVE entertainment. Cottage Edibles and Crafts offers an expansive variety of snacks and housewares from salsa, sauces, seasonings, soaps and confections to herbal botanicals, honey, hot sauce and more.  A fabulous Food Court and selection of Food Trucks offer heartier fare and beverages from frozen lemonade to water, sodas and soft drinks and more.  Adults gather at the Beer Gardens and Arizona Wine & Spirits Tasting, which are 21+ and offer a selection of locally brewed beers, Arizona wines and distilled spirits with ticket purchase and age-verification required.  Kids of all ages will delight in Kids Block and Chalk-A-Lot Street with professional chalk muralists creating eye-catching and mind-blowing designs with sidewalk chalk. New this year is the Young Collectors program, wherein a child can begin their art collecting journey by purchasing their very own piece of art handcrafted by one of the professional artists vending at the festival for just $5.00, fostering a lifetime appreciation for the arts.

Special programming on Saturday December 1st includes local artist Kylan Manney to creating an interactive commemorative art piece for the festival's 50th anniversary.  Tempe's fashion incubator F.A.B.R.I.C. is hosting the Labelhorde fashion show featuring cutting edge styles and designs from over 60 local designers and visual style artists at 2pm. And Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell and the founding event producers will make an official proclamation honoring the festival, including a not-to-be-missed, secret surprise twist announcement by the Mayor at 3pm near the intersection of 5th Street and Mill Avenue.

While parking and ADA accessible parking are available at select parking garages, street meters and paid lots around Tempe, the most convenient ways in and out of the festival are by bike, foot or public transport including Valley Metro's Light Rail, which runs throughout the Valley to nearby stops in Downtown Tempe including the 3rd Street and Mill Avenue stop, as well as the Tempe Transportation Center located at Veterans Way and College Avenue.

For more information about the 50th Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts, please visit:

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