The weekend is coming up fast and we don't want you caught on the couch. Prior planning is key, so here are a few dining and drinking events to look forward to around the Valley.
Beat the Heat Winter Fest Friday, August 23
It's almost cruel to be talking about winter when it's still over 100 degrees outside, but the 22nd annual Arizona Winter Fest at The Venue Scottsdale eases the offense with a pretty sweet deal. The $30 admission price (or $35 at the door) buys you 20 pours of beer from more than 30 craft breweries, as well as food from Scottsdale's K.I.S.S. pizzeria. The lineup of brewers includes local favorites like Four Peaks and Phoenix Ale, as well as some visitors including Maui Brewing, Mudshark, Lagunitas, Odell and Deschutes. If you can't clear your schedule for the first night of the event, which will run from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, you'll get a second shot on Saturday, August 24 from 1 to 6 p.m. For the complete list of breweries or to purchase a ticket for either day of the festival, visit the Beat the Heat Winter Fest website.
Reynolds Family Winery Wine Dinner Saturday, August 24
Since 1999, the Reynolds family has been producing Tuscan-style wines in the Napa Valley. The winery now produces seven wines including a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, two varieties of Cabernet Sauvingon and a red blend named "Persistance." This weekend ,owner Steve Reynolds and Tom Bracamontes, the winery's national sales director, will join guests at Tempe's Top of the Rock restaurant for a four-course wine-paired dinner. The wine experts will share inside knowledge and stories from the wine country, as well as offer some wine education. The dinner, which will feature four of the winery's most popular selections, costs $65 per person and will begin at 6 p.m. Call 602-431-2370 for reservations or visit the event website for more information.
Second Annual Prickly Pear Festival Saturday, August 24
Head out to Superior this Saturday for the historic copper mining town's Prickly Pear Festival. The daylong event includes a variety of dining and educational events, including Jean Groen's popular prickly pear class from 1 to 2 p.m. The day will begin at 6 a.m. with a guided hike into the desert to see prickly pears and hear about desert plants. Meet at the Superior Airport to join in. Afterward, hungry hikers can head to Porter's Cafe in downtown Superior for a pancake breakfast, and throughout the day, participating local restuarnats will offer pricky pear-infused dishes for lunch and dinner. For the full list of events, directions, and other details, visit the Superior Chamber of Commerce website.
Chainbreaker, Coeds and Cocktails: Deschutes' "Back to School BBQ Bash" Saturday, August 24
Back to school doesn't have to mean back to boring, and this weekend, Deschutes Brewery is teaming up with Mill Avenue's beer bar The Handlebar Tempe for a barbecue bash to celebrate the season. There will be a special BBQ menu available for diners including a half-rack of ribs, German potato salad and drunken pork and beans for $15. Beer specials will include special pricing on Deschutes brews and a trio of "Chainbreaker Cocktails" created in celebration of the the first anniversary of Deschutes "Chainbreaker White IPA." You can view the cocktails and vote for your favorite online for a chance to win a free bike from The Bicycle Cellar and State Bicycle Company. There's no cover for the event.
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El Zaribah Shriners' CornFest Sunday, August 25
Hands down, one of the best things about summer is sweet corn, and even though we're headed into fall, there's still one more chance to stuff yourself on the seasonal treat. This weekend El Zaribah Shriners will host their 22nd annual CornFest with two days of corn, crafts and family-friendly fun. For $7 in advance or $9 at the door adults can get a hot meal with sweet corn on the cob or take home a bakers dozen for $10. The event will also bring more than 60 vendors to the Phoenix auditorium and kids can look forward to face painting and balloon animals. There is no admission price for the event, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the El Zaribah Shriners website.