Best Parade - 2008
Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts
A slew of cities across the country have weird parades: Philadelphia has the nutty Mummers affair. Tucson boasts the even nuttier All Soul's Day Procession. And New York City hosts the boffo and beyond-bizarre Village Halloween Parade. Not wanting to be left out of the fun, the Valley fringe community has created the Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts. Over the past two years, the event, which goes down around Halloween time (natch), has been a lively and fanciful showcase of costumed revelers, crazy antics, and artistic endeavors. Organizers describe PAPA as a "parading art fair" that allows PHX residents (as well as members of the local art scene and gonzo fringe community) to gather together in the spirit of fun and to let their freak flags fly. The 2007 version was a memorable experience, populated by artsy shopping cart floats, cyclists on modified bikes, belly dancers, stilt walkers, and countless other weirdos who marched along a mile-long route around downtown Phoenix. Book-ending the frenetic fete was a street party in Copper Square featuring music and performance art, capped off with a fireworks show. This year's event (scheduled for November 1), promises an "Out of this World" theme, so we're expecting to see plenty of outrageous aliens and astronauts in attendance.