I first attended the Scottsdale Arts Festival more than a decade ago when my children were very small. They loved tagging along for all sorts of reasons. The chance to see paintings, sculpture and other works of art. Hands-on arts and crafts projects. Fresh air and sunshine. Even the chance to people and pet watch.
This year’s Scottsdale Arts Festival takes place March 9-11 outdoors at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Folks who attend can experience the works of more than 180 artists from across the country, more than 20 bands and entertainers and a dozen “gourmet” food trucks.
The festival runs Fri/Sat 10am-6pm, and Sun 10am-5pm. Children under age 12 are free and students pay just $5 to attend (single tickets for others are $7).
The Mesa Festival of Creativity also kicks off on Fri, March 9 — but it runs through Sun, March 18. It’s being held Mesa Arts Center, and though admission to most events is free, there is a $5 charge to take a “Studio Sampler” class or explore the “Mirazozo” sculpture.
Folks who attend the Mesa Festival of Creativity can add their strand to a community fiber arts project, create an origami bird to help fill trees surrounding MAC, play a giant “Earth Harp,” watch an artist couple painting with break dancing, create a work of chalk art, help build a giant LEGO structure and more. Festival hours are noon to 9pm.
The Tucson Festival of Books takes place March 10 & 11 9am-5:30pm on the University of Arizona campus. The festival features dozens of authors, illustrators and storytellers — including Caldecott and Newbury Award winners. Also entertainment including music, dance and more — much of it with a multicultural vibe. There’s also a special children’s area.
The Irish Cultural Center presents their 29th annual “St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Faire” Sat, March 17 10am-6pm, beginning with a parade up 3rd St. from the Irish Cultural Center to Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix. The festival features “music, dancing, piping, a beer garden and dozens of vendors selling artifacts and food” — plus a children’s area. Dress as you will but know that anything other than green will stick out like a five-leaf clover in a field of shamrocks.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presents another festival next month. Their “OrigiNation: A Festival of National Cultures” April 14 & 15 noon-4pm will “celebrate indigenous cultures of Arizona, Australia and New Zealand.” The free event features an arts and crafts market, arts and crafts exhibits, children’s activities and workshops, and more. It’s being held in conjunction with the center’s “Discovery Series.”
Note: The Heard Museum also holds several festivals each year, so watch their website for upcoming events as well. And click here if you’d like to learn more about the Red Shamrock Foundation, an Iowa-based organization supporting patients and families who have been through cancer treatment.
Coming up: Another Arizona Centennial, Art meets refugee, Music experiences for the very young