The Big Red art car by Walter Productions spotted at a previous Grand Avenue Festival.EXPAND
The Big Red art car by Walter Productions spotted at a previous Grand Avenue Festival.
Lynn Trimble

Here's Your Guide to the 2017 Grand Avenue Festival

The Grand Avenue Festival is a chance to explore eclectic offerings in one of the city's most vibrant creative enclaves.

Its 2017 edition is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 11, along several blocks of a historic, diagonal stretch of Grand Avenue. After-hours activities run from 8 to 10 p.m.

The festival is presented by Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation, which aims to make the downtown district an interesting place to live, work, and spend leisure time.

Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation was founded by artist Beatrice Moore, a preservation activist who owns several Grand Avenue properties with her husband, Tony Zahn. The organization's co-founder is Nancy Hill, who owns the Hazel & Violet letterpress and operates Chartreuse galley.

The Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts, an integral part of the festival, is organized by Sahar Mitchell and Stephen Strange of the Strange Family Circus. Also called the PAPA parade, it's one of downtown Phoenix's many time-honored traditions.

Hanging out in front of Bragg's Pie Factory during a previous Grand Avenue Festival.EXPAND
Hanging out in front of Bragg's Pie Factory during a previous Grand Avenue Festival.
Lynn Trimble

More than three dozen art spaces and small businesses are taking part in the Grand Avenue Festival – giving you a chance to try letterpress printing, make your own jewelry, watch a guitar being made, try Japanese drumming, and explore artist studios.

This year’s Grand Avenue Festival coincides with Veterans Day, so it includes an entirely new component – a celebration of Luke-Greenway American Legion Post 1, which is located in the historic Grand Avenue district.

It’s one of many ways this year’s festival will help people appreciate the fact that Grand Avenue is a hub for both history and art.

Popular traditions, including the Untrashed Recycled Fashion Show and Trashy Hat Promenade, are also part of this year’s lineup.

If you'd like to get involved, there are plenty of options – including helping to create artwork for street-side displays. Or you can just show up and start exploring.

For those who like to know a bit about what to expect and where it’s all going down, we’ve put together a field guide of festival highlights – including details about what’s happening when, and how to make the most of it all.

Yarn bombing spotted during a previous Grand Avenue Festival.EXPAND
Yarn bombing spotted during a previous Grand Avenue Festival.
Lynn Trimble

First, a few basics.

Lay of the land: Festival activities happen along Grand Avenue, primarily between two intersections. At one end, Grand Avenue intersects with Seventh Avenue and West Van Buren Street. At the other, Grand Avenue intersects with 15th Avenue and West Roosevelt Street. Most festival venues are situated along the main drag, which is part of historic Route 60. But some are located on side streets that branch off from Grand Avenue.

Getting around: Look for free, on-street parking along Grand Avenue and its many side streets. You’ll find parking lots at Bragg’s Pie Factory, Unexpected Art Gallery, and the former Paper Heart Gallery. Also look for parking lots behind Bikini Lounge and and the pastel-painted La Melgosa building.

You’ll find bike racks at Unexpected Art Gallery, Oasis on Grand, Bragg’s Pie Factory, Eleventh Monk3y, The Lodge Art Studio, and the Fushicho Daiko Dojo.

Snag free pedicabs from 1 to 11 p.m. at Oasis on Grand, Bragg’s Pie Factory, or Unexpected Art Gallery. Or just hail one as you’re walking your way down Grand Avenue. They’re free, but peddling all day is a tough gig, so tips are appreciated.

One of many recycled fashion show participants during a previous Grand Avenue Festival.EXPAND
One of many recycled fashion show participants during a previous Grand Avenue Festival.
Lynn Trimble

Keeping your cool: Dress for comfort, and prepare for the heat, even if you’re just planning to pop in for a short festival stint. Chances are, you’ll end up staying longer – and needing essentials like walking shoes and an ample supply of water. And, of course, it never hurts to wear sunscreen and a hat.

Festival guides: Get your bearings with a free festival guide that includes a map showing participating venues. You’ll find them at information tables located by Bragg’s Pie Factory, Fushicho Daiko Dojo, La Melgosa, Oasis on Grand, and Unexpected Art Gallery.

Also look for Wandering Guides donning red aprons and kooky hats, who'll be stationed along Grand Avenue to answer festival-related questions.

Timing your visit: Some activities happen at particular times, so take note if you have your heart set on making them part of your day. For example, the first tour of vintage buildings starts at 11 a.m. and the first presentation about Grand Avenue history kicks off at 2 p.m. The recycled fashion show starts at 2:30 p.m. and the PAPA! Parade gets underway at 6 p.m. (arrive early if you want to register so you're eligible for parade prizes).

Checking out Hector Ruiz's studio inside The Chocolate Factory during a previous Grand Avenue Festival.EXPAND
Checking out Hector Ruiz's studio inside The Chocolate Factory during a previous Grand Avenue Festival.
Lynn Trimble

Event Highlights

Under the Vintage Roof
Tour several buildings with guides well-versed in Grand Avenue history and lore. They're being organized by Jim McPherson, president of the Arizona Preservation Foundation, and Jill Johnson, manager for Phoenix Rising Tour Company.

Tours start at 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m. at Milum Textiles, a building constructed around 1935. Tour stops include the American Legion Post, Paper Heart/Quebedeaux, Tuft & Needle, and Unexpected Art Gallery. Tour guides include Jennifer Boucek, Tim Eigo, John Jacquemart, Gerda Lobo, and Louisa Stark.

Grand History Mania
Learn more about Grand Avenue's past and present, as well as possible future plans, during presentations by historical experts between 2 and 3:30 p.m. at Motley Design Group. Topics include the American Legion Post (2 p.m.), the Phoenix Trolley Museum (2:30 p.m.), and the Arizona State Fair (3 p.m.). Featured speakers include Bob Graham and G.G. George.

Exploring open studios at Bragg's Pie Factory during a previous Grand Avenue Festival.
Exploring open studios at Bragg's Pie Factory during a previous Grand Avenue Festival.
Lynn Trimble

Untrashed Recycled Fashion Show and Trashy Hat Promenade: Show off self-styled fashion and recycling prowess during the promenade that launches from Unexpected Art Gallery at 2:30 p.m.

Model your fashions at the gallery, then parade along Grand Avenue to ThirdSpace for judging and prizes at 3 p.m. Forget being on trend. This fashion show is all about being creative.

Never fear if your closet is devoid of fabulous headwear. Shannon Youso, director for the Bergamon Institute, will be leading a Trashy Hat-Making Workshop for all ages from noon to 6 p.m. in front of Bragg's Pie Factory. Hat bases and craft supplies are provided.

Super PAPA!: Take part in this year’s Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts, a.k.a. PAPA. This year’s parade, which has an “undersea madness” theme, will launch at 6 p.m. from McKinley Street and Grand Avenue, then circle over to Unexpected Art Gallery for post-parade entertainment. It’s being headed up by drummers from the Fushicho Daiko Dojo.

Show up in costume at 5 p.m. if you want to register to be eligible for parade prizes such as best costume or float. Or be there at 6 p.m. if you simply want to join the parade. Festivalgoers can walk or bicycle along the parade route, and non-motorized floats are welcome.

Art Shows: Several galleries will be showing works by local and national artists, and you’ll find an exhibition of photographs documenting the history of Grand Avenue at the Tufts & Needle showroom. That show’s being curated by local historian Douglas Towne. Here's a sampling of other exhibitions, and where to find them:

• "City/Pretty" will feature mixed-media urban landscapes by Aileen Frick from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at {9} The Gallery.

• "Me, Me, Me" will include self-portraits by Abe Zucca. It's on view from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Abe Zucca Gallery.

• "Words Matter" will display text-based work by Chris Jagmin from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Chartreuse gallery.

• The "Invitational Art Show" at the Lodge Art Studio will present work by more than a dozen Valley artists from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

• "Mixed Bag" at The Chocolate Factory will feature works on paper by artists around the globe from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

One of many looks from a previous Grand Avenue Festival fashion show.
One of many looks from a previous Grand Avenue Festival fashion show.
Lynn Trimble

Street art: For those who favor street art, there’s plenty to explore in the festival’s “Hanging Gardens and Woven Fences” installation featuring eclectic, offbeat offerings by artists and other creatives.

Murals along Grand Avenue make great backgrounds for selfies and other photos. Our favorites include Joseph “Sentrock” Perez’s You Can Fly Higher located across from {9} The Gallery, Rebecca Green’s The Painted Desert at The Lodge, and Beatrice Moore’s Between Innocence and Understanding near Bikini Lounge.

You'll find 45 large-scale artist-designed planters along Grand Avenue, as well as six selfie stations painted by Luster Kaboom.

Also look for Colibri’s migration-themed mural on the side of the pastel-colored La Melgosa building, and Laura Spalding Best’s new mural featuring circular vignettes of real and imagined Phoenix landscapes at the new Marisol Credit Union building.

Check out the Grand Avenue Billboard Project while you're in the neighborhood. It's a privately owned and -funded billboard that routinely features provocative fare. Currently it's graced by Trumpocalyse and Unity , two works by California-based artist Karen Fiorito.

And make sure you stop by Tammi Lynch-Forrest's information table in front of Bragg's Pie Factory to learn about the artist's plans to create a Human Mural Project for a wall at the former pie factory turned creative space.

Music performance during a previous Grand Avenue Festival.EXPAND
Music performance during a previous Grand Avenue Festival.
Lynn Trimble

Live music: Look for bands playing at various locations throughout the day, as well as festival “after hours” that start at 8 p.m.

Here's the live music lineup for Bragg's Pie Factory:

Noon to 1 p.m.: The Lucky Band (low country)
1 to 2 p.m.: Local poets and spoken word artists, including Shawnte Orion
2 to 3 p.m.: The Soloman Trio (jazz and soul)
3 to 4 p.m.: Marilyn Clark Silva (jazz)
4 to 5 p.m.: DJ Freedom (disco, boogie, rare groove)
5 to 6 p.m.: Alan Jones Jazz Trio
6 to 7 p.m.: Eclecto Fenix (cumbia)
7 to 8 p.m. : Trio Salado (jazz and rock)
8 to 9 p.m.: Mariachi Marquez de Maricopa

And here's a look at what you can expect at ThirdSpace:

Noon to 1 p.m.: Michael Brandon Vela
1 to 2 p.m.: Matt Felix
2 to 3 p.m.: Shawn Stradler
4 to 6 p.m.: DJ Coco Lopez
7 to 8 p.m.: The Lies
8 to 9 p.m.: Robert Ship
9 to 10 p.m.:Los Sherpas
10 p.m. to 11 p.m.: Nuclear Beach Party

You'll find a fresh schedule of live music performances at festival information tables.

One of many artist-decorated planters located along Grand Avenue.EXPAND
One of many artist-decorated planters located along Grand Avenue.
Lynn Trimble

Interactive activities: Festivalgoers can create wearable urban landscapes with Laura Spalding Best inside the new Marisol Credit Union community gallery. A new Best mural graces the building, and the community gallery is showing a solo exhibition of her works. Gallery hours during the festival are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Figment, a creative team launched in 2007 in New York, is bringing a one-day participatory arts experience to Phoenix during the festival. Check out Figment's interactive sculpture and live painting, as well as music, dance, and costumes, at Unexpected Art Gallery. Look for those activities throughout the day.

Walter Productions, a Scottsdale-based creative company whose work was recently featured at the inaugural Lost Lake Festival at Steele Indian School Park, is parking its Peace Train art car in front of Bragg's Pie Factory during the festival.

Peace Train comprises a trio of World War II communication trailers and the giant replica of a VW Kubelwagon built atop a Hummer chassis. Walter Productions is filling Peace Train with all sorts of interactive elements, so step inside to get the full effect of their souped-up vehicle love.

Expect a range of options from light snacks to full meals at 17 cafes, restaurants, and creative spaces — including ThirdSpace, Grand Avenue Pizza Company, Treehouse Bakery, Irma's Kitchen, Gracie's Tax Bar, and Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva. The walls (and bathrooms) at Barrio Café are filled with art by local muralists, and it’s best to get a reservation ahead of time.

Food options: The food trucks will be out in full force, with diverse offerings that include Puerto Rican, Moroccan, and Tunisian fare, to name a few. Here's that lineup:

• Grand ArtHaus: Brûlée (10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m), Shug's Coffee (10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m), and Burgers Amore (3 to 8 p.m.)

• Chartreuse: Phoenix Coqui (10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.), Nakia's Kitchen (10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.), Okie Dokie (10:30 a.m. to 8 pm.), and Tasty Tangerine Rolled Ice Cream (3 to 8 p.m.).

• Chocolate Factory: Phil the Grill BBQ (10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and Habbouz (3 to 8 p.m.).

• Dojo: AlzoHour Restaurant (10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

Phoenix artist Denise Yhagmourian and her daughters getting ready for a recycled fashion show on Grand Avenue.
Phoenix artist Denise Yhagmourian and her daughters getting ready for a recycled fashion show on Grand Avenue.
Lynn Trimble

Children's activities: If you're bringing kids along, check out the hands-on arts and crafts area outside Lady Luck Tattoo, a creative hat-making table in front of Bragg’s Pie Factory, and a coloring table and puppet-making station in front of The Lodge Art Studio. Deon Allen will have a face-painting station at the corner of Grand and Fillmore, and Joy Young will be making twisted balloon art. Also look for Kristin Wesley’s Casa de Chaos in front of the La Melgosa building, craft tables at Unexpected Art Gallery, and free karate and drumming workshops at Fushicho Daiko Dojo.

Grand Avenue After Dark: You'll find more festival frivolity, including live music, at various venues during official "After Dark" hours that run from 8 to 10 p.m. Look for after-hours happenings at Grand Avenue Records, Bikini Lounge, Oasis on Grand, Bragg’s Pie Factory, ThirdSpace, Unexpected Art Gallery, and Fushicho Daiko Dojo.

Stop by the American Legion post at 8 p.m. to see an "After-Hours Undersea Madness" fashion show highlighting works by local designers, stylists, and makeup artists. It's being presented by Marshall Shore and his WEARizona fashion enterprise.

The Grand Avenue Festival takes place Saturday, November 11, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Find more information on the event Facebook page.

Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.

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