Spring has undoubtedly sprung in the Valley of the Sun. Before it gets too unbearably hot to wander around outdoors for an afternoon, here are 14 food and drink festivals you should check out in the next two months.
Now - March 29: Arizona Renaissance Festival Where: Renaissance Festival Fairgrounds Cost: $19-22 for adults, $10-12 for children What to eat: If you go for the $70 "Pleasure Feast" instead of a regular ticket to the Renaissance Festival, you'll get a full five-course lunch to go with your knightly entertainment. The star entrees are prime rib and Moroccan chicken, but it's more about the setting than the food.
March 21: The Great American Barbecue and Beer Festival Where: Chandler Park Cost: $12, $125 VIP What to eat: Some of the top pit masters will be in attendance, so be sure to munch on the best BBQ around. Plus, nothing washes down a big plate of pulled pork like a craft beer, which will also be plentiful at the festival.
March 21-22: Italian Festival Where: SouthBridge Cost: $10 What to eat: There'll be some of the finest Italian wines and food available from over 10 local restaurants, so if you're a fan of classic Italian food, this'll be a must-attend.
March 22: Check, Please! Arizona Festival Where: CityScape Cost: $69-89 What to eat: Check out samples from many local restaurants including Haus Murphy's, Salerno's Restaurant and Pizzeria, and Frasher's Steakhouse.
March 28 and April 18: The Good Life Festival Where: Encanterra Country Club Cost: $35-75 What to eat: To try some of the finest food and drinks of the San Tan Valley, head to one of the dates for the Good Life Festival, where a collection of aging rockers will accompany local food, beer, and wine as the main draws.
April 2: Arizona Wine and Dine Where: Scottsdale Quarter Cost: $55-$75 What to eat: What's better than a top-of-the-line meal served by the Valley's finest resort chefs? A meal from the Valley's finest resort chefs while you're sipping on a nice glass of wine or beer.
April 4: Wingstock Where: Mesa Amphitheatre Cost: $5-8 What to eat: A handful of sports bars and restaurants from the southeast Valley will be bringing out their signature chicken wings for the event.
April 7-12: Scottsdale Culinary Festival Where: Varies Cost: Varies What to eat: We recommend going to a few different events and trying a little bit of everything. It's hard to be disappointed after what the festival's put out in years past.
April 18: The Great Arizona Beer Festival Where: Cubs Park Cost: $50, $90 VIP What to drink: Since you clearly didn't get your fill of beer in February, there's another beer festival later in the spring. As a bonus, you get to check out one of the newest spring training facilities in the Valley as well.
April 18: Chipotle Cultivate Festival Where: WestWorld Cost: Free What to eat: The festival, put on by Chipotle (yes, that Chipotle), will be serving up a number of interesting dishes, including pork belly gorditas, Sofritas tacos, and kale salad.
April 18: Great Southwest Cajun Festival Where: Margaret T. Hance Park Cost: $10, $65 VIP What to eat: It should be pretty clear from the name, but this is going to be the place to be for Cajun food. Get yourself some red beans and rice along with a po' boy, and we're sure you won't regret it.
April 26: Sausage Fest Where: Brat Haus Cost: $10 ($8 presale) What to eat: Once you're done snickering at the name of the festival, you'll be able to enjoy some of the finest sausages and brats available in the Valley. Plus, there'll be beers and pretzels to pair them with.
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May 2: Arizona BBQ Festival Where: Salt River Fields Cost: $12, $60 VIP What to eat: It's centered around BBQ and bars, so we'd probably go with the grilled/smoked meats and the booze, but that's just us.
May 16: AmeriCAN Canned Craft Beer Festival Where: Scottsdale Civic Center Cost: $45 ($35 presale), $100 VIP What to drink: With over 50 breweries from across the country already lined up to attend the 5th annual festival, you're sure to find a craft beer that tickles your fancy. There'll also be cider from some of the breweries, for those who are dragged to it and don't like beer.