10 Events Happening for Veterans Day Around Metro Phoenix

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Short history lesson: November 11 became a legal holiday in 1938. Back then, it was called Armistice Day in honor of the end of World War I. In 1954, the day became a holiday to honor veterans of all wars.

Around metro Phoenix, there are plenty of events happening on Friday, November 11, and throughout the weekend to commemorate the service and sacrifice of military veterans.

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A scene from the 2021 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.
Honoring American Veterans

Phoenix Veterans Day Parade

The Phoenix Veterans Day Parade, presented by the nonprofit organization Honoring American Veterans, will kick off at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 11. More than 45,000 attendees are expected at the event, which will start at Montebello and Central avenues, crosses east on Camelback Road, and turns south on Seventh Street to end at Indian School Road. The parade will include hundreds of participants and special features like a T-55AM2 tank and an eagle balloon with a 25-foot wingspan. Some of this year's Grand Marshals are Sam Weinstein of Scottsdale, who took a bullet to the mouth while defending his stronghold in the Army in WWII; Lew Bradley of Chandler, who risked his life to save downed pilots in the Korean War; Tom Tostenson of Phoenix, who served as a Navy chaplain in the from 1985 to 1998; and Jonathan Rosenberg of Phoenix, who spent 22 years in the Marine Corps, including multiple combat deployments. Visit the Honoring American Veterans website for full details.

East Valley Veterans Parade

The annual East Valley Veterans Parade will honor our nation’s servicemembers beginning at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 11. The parade begins at Center Street and University Drive, where it will travel south on Center Street and turn west on First Street, continuing down to Robson.  This year’s parade theme is “Raise the Flag,” and the grand marshal is retired Army colonel and Medal of Honor recipient Bruce Crandall, who received the nation’s highest military honor for his heroic actions as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. A brief program will in which Mesa Mayor John Giles honors veterans for their service starts at 10:40 a.m. at the start of the parade route. See the parade website for more information.

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The Tempe Veterans Day Parade runs from Gammage Auditorium to Tempe Beach Park.
City of Tempe

Tempe Veterans Day Parade

This 50-year tradition starts at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 11. The parade will start at Gammage Auditorium, 1200 South Forest Avenue, Tempe, and proceed north on Mill Avenue to Tempe Beach Park, where there will be live entertainment and a Resource Village featuring nonprofits and organizations dedicated to serving active-duty military, veterans, and their families. Visit the city of Tempe website for full details.

Veterans Day Gourd Dance

For a unique observance of Veterans Day, head to Pueblo Grande Museum for the annual Veterans Day Gourd Dance. Presented by the Arizona Territory Gourd Society, the event will be held from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. on Friday, November 11 at the museum, 4619 East Washington Street. for the Veterans Day Gourd Dance on November 11 from 11 am to 4 pm at Pueblo Grande Museum. Dancing begins at 11:30 a.m., and the day will include art, Indigenous vendors, and more. There is no cost to attend. See the city of Phoenix website for full details.

Native servicemen attend last year's Veterans Day tribute at the Heard Museum.
Heard Museum

Honoring Indigenous Veterans

The Heard Museum will have a full day of programming relating to Veterans Day on Friday, November 11. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., attendees can hear live music and see the work of Native veteran artists in the courtyard. At 5 p.m., the 10th Annual Veterans Day Sunset Tribute will take place with a featured keynote speaker and special guests. There will also be a presentation of commemorative medallions to all veterans in attendance and an outdoor reception. The outdoor events are free to attend; inside the museum, where admission is $22.50, the new exhibition "In the Service Of: American Indian Artists and Tributes" is opening. Admission to the museum is free through Sunday, November 13, for veterans plus one guests. Visit the Heard Museum website for more.

Veterans Day Tribute Concert

The Pinnacle Concert Series at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church will present an evening of music by the Phoenix Brass Collective and others paying tribute to those who have served in the military. Also on the program are poetry and other readings. There is no cost to attend, but donations are requested. Pinnacle Presbyterian Church is located at 25150 North Pima Road, Scottsdale. See the church music website for for information.

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Tune in on Friday night for a livestream of a free concert by the United States Air Force Band Airmen of Note.
Chandler Center for the Arts

Free Virtual Concert

Chandler Center for the Arts is hosting a free concert performed by the United States Air Force Band Airmen of Note. Although no more tickets are available, you can livestream the show at home beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 11. The link for the livestream is available here.

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Veterans can check out the Arizona Natural History Museum for free on November 11.
Visit Mesa

Free Museum Admission for Veterans

Several Mesa mseums are giving veterans and active-duty military, plus up to three additional people (four people per party), free admission on Friday, November 11. Participating museums include the Arizona Museum of Natural History at 53 North Macdonald, the i.d.e.a. Museum at 150 West Pepper Place, and the Commemorative Air Force Museum at 2017 North Greenfield Road. A Bells of Peace Observance will take place at the Commemorative Air Force Museum at 11 a.m. Hours on November 11 are 9 to 5 p.m. at the Arizona Natural History Museum, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the i.d.e.a. Museum, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Commemorative Air Force Museum.

Discounted Admission at Odysea and Butterfly Wonderland

Odysea Aquarium and Butterfly Wonderland, both located at Scottsdale's Arizona Boardwalk complex, are giving discounts to both veterans and active-duty military on Friday, November 11. Servicepeople will get $10 off the $44 ticket price at the aquarium and $3 off the $28 ticket price for Butterfly Wonderland. Hours on Friday are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for Odysea and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for Butterfly Wonderland.

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Veterans and their families bowl for free at Mavrix on Veterans Day.

Free Fun at Mavrix and Octane Raceway

Scottsdale attractions Mavrix and Octane Raceway have some specials going on for veterans and their families on Friday, November 11. At Mavrix, former and active servicemembers and their families get one hour of free bowling; at Octane Raceway, they get a free 30-minute axe-throwing session. Just show a military ID to get the deal. Mavrix is located at 9139 Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale, and is open 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday. Octane Raceway is located at 9119 Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale, and is open from 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday.
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Jennifer Goldberg is the culture editor and Best of Phoenix editor for Phoenix New Times.

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