Events

Metro Phoenix Spring 2021 Events: What's Happening, What's Canceled, and What's Going Virtual

No Arizona Renaissance Festival this year, sorry.
No Arizona Renaissance Festival this year, sorry. Arizona Renaissance Festival

The first few months of the year is prime events season in metro Phoenix, but with COVID-19 doing its best to ruin everything, it can be hard to keep track of what's actually going to take place.

To help, we've put together a list of of events scheduled to happen between now and the end of April — along with details about what's been canceled, postponed, or transformed to include virtual components. They're listed in alphabetical order to make it easy to find your favorites.

Everything is subject to change these days, so watch for updates. A final note: Keep it classy during in-person events by following mask and social distancing guidelines.


click to enlarge Expect the Arizona Renaissance Festival to return in 2022. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Expect the Arizona Renaissance Festival to return in 2022.
Benjamin Leatherman

Arizona Renaissance Festival

Canceled for 2021


The Arizona Renaissance Festival has been canceled for 2021, but organizers plan to bring the festival back in 2022. The festival puts a Renaissance spin on entertainment, food, costumes, and more.


click to enlarge Throwback to a previous Mutant Piñata Show during Art Detour. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Throwback to a previous Mutant Piñata Show during Art Detour.
Lynn Trimble

Art Detour

February 27 to March 31



Art Detour will span 33 days this year, from February 27 to March 31. Art Detour will include in-person offerings around the Valley, as well as online elements. This year's lineup will feature visual arts, performing arts, fashion design, culinary arts, and more. Art Detour 2020 happened during early days of COVID-19 closures and cancellations in March 2020, which affected programming and participation.


click to enlarge Ballet Under the Stars is going virtual this year. - TZU CHIA HUANG
Ballet Under the Stars is going virtual this year.
Tzu Chia Huang

Ballet Under the Stars

January 23


Ballet Arizona is replacing its free live outdoor Ballet Under the Stars performances with an online adaptation this year, which you can access on YouTube on January 23. The performance will be followed by a live online chat with dancers.


click to enlarge Exploring the showroom during an earlier Barrett-Jackson auction. - JIM LOUVAU
Exploring the showroom during an earlier Barrett-Jackson auction.
Jim Louvau

Barrett-Jackson

March 20 to 27



The Barrett-Jackson car auction is scheduled to return to WestWorld in Scottsdale March 20 to 27. The event, which usually take place in January, will include a Barrett-Jackson Cup Competition with 50 vehicles. Ticket prices vary by day and activity.


click to enlarge Woman, do you fear? by Jenny Gerena was part of Breaking Ground 2018. - MICHAEL SIMON
Woman, do you fear? by Jenny Gerena was part of Breaking Ground 2018.
Michael Simon

Breaking Ground

April 21



CONDER/dance is working with Tempe Center for the Arts to present this year’s Breaking Ground contemporary dance and film festival in a free online format on April 21. Featured choreographers and access details have not been announced.


Chandler International Film Festival

January 21 to 24


The Chandler International Film Festival is scheduled for January 21 to 24, when the lineup will include movie theater, drive-in, and online experiences. Venues include Harkins Chandler Fashion Center 20. An all-access pass costs $220. Ticket prices for individual films vary.


click to enlarge The Chandler Chamber Ostrich Festival has been rescheduled for Fall 2021. - CHANDLER CHAMBER OSTRICH FESTIVAL
The Chandler Chamber Ostrich Festival has been rescheduled for Fall 2021.
Chandler Chamber Ostrich Festival

Chandler Chamber Ostrich Festival

Postponed until Fall 2021



The Chandler Chamber Ostrich Festival, which usually happens in March, is being moved to Fall 2021. The new dates have not been announced. The festival was launched in 1988 as a way to celebrate the region’s history of ostrich ranching.


click to enlarge Bringing the red, white, and blue to Country Thunder. - LEAVITT WELLS
Bringing the red, white, and blue to Country Thunder.
Leavitt Wells

Country Thunder Arizona

April 8 to 11



Country Thunder Arizona is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Florence, with a lineup that includes Eric Church, Luke Combs, Dustin Lynch, and Morgan Wallen. Event hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Single day tickets are $75, and a four-day pass is $200.


Desert Nights, Rising Stars

February 18 to 20



The Desert Nights, Rising Stars writers conference that’s typically presented on ASU’s Tempe campus is going virtual this year, with dozens of craft talks, panels, and presentations. Single day admission is $150; general registration for the full conference is $225.


click to enlarge Expect a different spin on Devour Phoenix this year. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
Expect a different spin on Devour Phoenix this year.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Devour Phoenix

February 27 to 28



The annual culinary event is being transformed into Devour at Home this year, which will feature family-style meals that feed four people. Numerous restaurants, including The Breadfruit & Rum Bar and Gallo Blanco, are participating this year, and will receive all of the proceeds from this year’s event. The $200 cost includes souvenirs and access to virtual experiences.


Fiesta Bowl Parade

April 10


The Fiesta Bowl Parade was rescheduled from January 2 to April 10. The theme and grand marshal have not been announced. The free event takes place along Central Avenue.


click to enlarge Recalling a previous hoop dancing championship at the Heard Museum. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Recalling a previous hoop dancing championship at the Heard Museum.
Lynn Trimble

Hoop Dance Contest

February 13



The Heard Museum Hoop Dance Contest is going virtual this year. Viewers can watch the prerecorded event online on February 13. The event will include adult and youth performances.


Ikebana Art Exhibit

January 30 and 31


The Ikebana Art Exhibit is scheduled for January 30 and 31 at the Japanese Friendship Garden. The art show features Japanese floral arrangements made with flowers, leaves, branches, and a variety of less conventional materials. Hourly time slots are limited to 150 people each. Admission is $13.


click to enlarge Throwback to a 2019 Indie Film Fest discussion. - MANGO SKIES FILMS
Throwback to a 2019 Indie Film Fest discussion.
Mango Skies Films

Indie Film Fest

February 11 to 13



The Indie Film Fest scheduled for February 11 to 13 will include outdoor drive-in screenings, a virtual film walk, online virtual panels, and a select number of private screenings. Online tickets, which cost $10, include online access to all films, virtual workshops, and filmmaker Q & A sessions. Additional ticket options have not been announced.


click to enlarge Throwback to a previous Innings Festival in Tempe. - KELSEE BECKER
Throwback to a previous Innings Festival in Tempe.
Kelsee Becker

Innings Festival

Canceled for 2021



The Innings Festival scheduled to take place February 27 and 28 at Tempe Beach Park has been canceled for 2021. Organizers plan to bring the music festival with a baseball twist back in 2022.


Maricopa County Fair

April 7 to 11



The Maricopa County Fair is scheduled for April 7 to 11 at the Arizona Exposition & State Fairgrounds. The exact lineup has not been announced, but plans include live music, vendors, and carnival rides. Tickets are $9. You’ll pay an additional $30 for an all-day carnival pass.


click to enlarge The jam-packed crowd at 2019's M3F. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
The jam-packed crowd at 2019's M3F.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

M3F Fest

March 5 and 6



The M3F Festival is scheduled for March 5 and 6, although the location and lineup have not been announced and tickets aren’t on sale yet. Typically you can choose between single-day or event passes, with general admission or VIP options.


Oak Street Alley Mural Festival

March 20



The free Oak Street Alley Mural Festival is scheduled to take place on March 20 in a Coronado neighborhood alley at Oak and 14th streets, where the lineup includes live mural painting, performances, and hands-on activities.


Pat’s Run

April 24



Pat’s Run is switching to a virtual 4.2-mile race this year, which is scheduled for April 24. The event helps to support Pat Tillman Foundation scholarships for veterans and military members. The $42 ticket includes a race T-shirt, or you can pay more for two- and three-race bundles.


click to enlarge Skye Lucking and Paul Pangle painted this mural during a previous Phoenix Mural Festival. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Skye Lucking and Paul Pangle painted this mural during a previous Phoenix Mural Festival.
Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Mural Festival

February 3 to March 6


The Phoenix Mural Festival is scheduled to take place from February 3 to March 6 along the Grand Canalscape, where various artists will be painting murals with sustainability-related themes. The lineup for the free event has not been announced.


click to enlarge Look for the Phoenix Pride Festival on April 10 and 11. - MICHELLE SASONOV
Look for the Phoenix Pride Festival on April 10 and 11.
Michelle Sasonov

Phoenix Pride

April 10 and 11



Phoenix Pride is scheduled for April 10 and 11 at Steele Indian School Park. The parade happens on April 11. This event was rescheduled from November 2020. Tickets are $30 to $150, depending on whether you want general admission or VIP access for a single day or the full festival.

click to enlarge Recalling an earlier Rock 'n' Roll Arizona marathon. - ALEXANDRA GASPAR
Recalling an earlier Rock 'n' Roll Arizona marathon.
Alexandra Gaspar

Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Maraton

Canceled for 2021



The Rock 'n' Roll Arizona marathon will not take place in 2021. Organizers note the event has been postponed until January 15 and 16, 2022.


Scottsdale Arts Festival

March 12 to 14



The Scottsdale Arts Festival is scheduled to take place from March 12 to 14. The festival typically occurs at Scottsdale Civic Center, but the 2021 lineup and location has not been announced. The 2020 festival was canceled due to COVID-19, and information about participating artists was posted online.


Spring NASCAR Cup Series

March 14



The Spring NASCAR Cup Series is scheduled for March 14 at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, but only a limited number of fans will be able to participate inside the event gates. General admission tickets for hillside seating are $40.


click to enlarge Look for art by local creatives while you're in downtown Tempe. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Look for art by local creatives while you're in downtown Tempe.
Lynn Trimble

Tempe Festival of the Arts

March 26 to 28



The Spring Tempe Festival of the Arts is scheduled for March 26 to 28. The festival typically takes place along Mill Avenue in Tempe, but details for the spring festival have not been announced. Both the Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 festivals were canceled due to COVID-19.


The Good Life Festival

March 27



The Good Life Festival is scheduled for March 27 at Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek, where the lineup will include The Guess Who, Don Felder, and America, as well as Nate Nathan and The MacDaddy O’s. Tickets are not yet on sale, and prices have not been announced.


Unity Art Walk

January 5 to 31



Instead of presenting a traditional single-day Unity Art Walk to celebrate diversity and Martin Luther King Jr., seven cities and towns collaborated to present a month-long, self-guided tour of primarily outdoor artworks called Unity ArtWalk: A Visual Journey of Diversity, Culture and Equity. Participating municipalities include Chandler, Gilbert, Guadalupe, Mesa, Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale.


click to enlarge Recalling cookbooks spotted during the 2020 VNSA Used Book Sale. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
Recalling cookbooks spotted during the 2020 VNSA Used Book Sale.
Lauren Cusimano

VNSA Used Book Sale

Canceled for 2021



The VNSA Used Book Sale that traditionally happens at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in February will not take place this year. Organizers indicate that the event is being postponed until 2022.


Waste Management Phoenix Open

February 1 to 7



The Waste Management Phoenix Open is scheduled for February 1 to 7 at the TPC Scottsdale, where 132 players, including Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler, are expected to vie for a $7.3 million purse and $1.3 million first-place check. Single-day general admission tickets are $100 to $125, depending on the day.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble