There are many reasons to be thankful for living in Arizona and a big chunk of them fall under spring. Between the great weather, influx of tourists, and an abundance of things to do, February through May is a time for serious celebration.
And we're not the only ones who think so. Here are 21 festivals happening from late winter through spring.
The bulls are running free this weekend in Cave Creek. Visitors of the festival can choose to run in any of the six daily bull races for as little as $30 or enjoy the festival's other activities such as Indian dancers, matadors, bull fights, bull riding, and a battle of the bands. Visit runningwiththebullsusa.com.
Native Now is a free festival that commemorates the mosaic of cultures that illustrate what being indigenous in Arizona looks, sounds, and tastes like. Stop by between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and enjoy musical performances, film screenings, and community art projects. Visit dvrac.asu.edu or call 623-582-8007.
The Arizona Renaissance Festival returns to Apache Junction Saturdays, Sundays, and President's Day with costumes, jousting, live entertainment, games, and shopping. Admission ranges $10 to $22, and parking is free. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit royalfaires.com/arizona or contact 520-463-2600.
Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival February 9 to 23 Various Locations
The 18th Annual Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival presents two weeks of 12 films screened across three Harkins Valley locations: Scottsdale Camelview, Crossroads 12, and Arrowhead Fountains 18. Single tickets start at $11 and festival passes at $80. Showtimes vary. Visit www.gpjff.org for a full scheduleor call 602-753-9366.
Arizona SciTech Festival February 9 to April 2 Various locations
More than 450 organizations throughout the Valley join together in celebration of science and technology with such signature events as the Mesa Discovery Trek, Chandler's Science Spectacular, Geeks' Night Out, the 2014 Glendale Passport to Science, the SciTech Crawl, and the Arizona SciTech Buckeye Festival. Prices, times, and locations vary per event. Visit azscitechfest.org or call 480-250-7764 for more information.
Almost Famous Film Festival is in its 10th year. The festival challenges local creatives to make their own one- to five-minute movie in just 48 hours. Filming dates for interested participants are February 14 through 16, and registration is $50. Special film guidelines will be revealed February 14 at 7 p.m. during the festival launch party at Majerle's 9 Lounge. A public screening of the top 20 films will be held February 27 at AMC Arizona Center 24. For more information, visit thea3f.net.
The Alwun House showcases local performing artists including poets, musicians, and comics. All share one common theme in their work: serious adult content. The NSFW event, which features over 30 acts on two stages, will run from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Visit alwunhouse.org or check out the event on Facebook.
This weekend celebration of Japanese arts and culture offers a Matsuri Parade, Japanese folk singing, drum performances, a Kimono fashion show, tea ceremony, arts, crafts, food, and shopping. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. For more details, visit azmatsuri.org or call 602-262-5029.
Hormel New Works Festival March 2 to 16 Phoenix Theatre
Phoenix Theatre brings new works and emerging playwrights to the stage with the return of the Hormel New Works Festival. The week-long event will deliver four new plays chosen from more than 150 submissions as well as An Evening of Short Plays, A Composer/Lyricist Cabaret, and the 24-Hour Theatre Project. Prices and showtimes vary. For a look at this year's festival selections and to buy tickets, visit phoenixtheatre.com or call the box office at 602-254-2151.
The Ostrich Festival returns to Chandler with plenty of food, fun, and entertainment like Ostrich and pig races, camel rides, the Axe Women Loggers of Maine, and a bungee trampoline. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for kids and seniors. Festival hours are 2 p.m. to midnight Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. Visit www.ostrichfestival.com or call 866-993-2477 for more information.
The Arizona Aloha Festival explores Hawaii and South Pacific cultures with a two-day family-friendly event. This free festival offers traditional foods, live music, dance performances, and a marketplace. Hours of the festival are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Visit www.azalohafest.org or call 602-697-1824 for details.
The 44th Annual Scottsdale Arts Festival showcases roughly 200 jury-selected artists in a wide range of media including painting, illustration, sculpture, photography, and jewelry. Visitors of this outdoor event can meet with the artists, view and purchase new works, as well as enjoy live music and food trucks. Admission is $8 for a single-day pass and $12 for a two-day pass. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. all weekend long. Visit www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org or call 480-499-8587.
The free community event will offer food, music, and interactive art events like the Wonder Dome by Dan Fine and Intrinsically Disordered by urbanStew, as well as exhibitions including the outdoor site-specific installation "Dragonflies" by Jeff Zischke. Spark! starts at noon each day, running until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7 p.m. all other days. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.mesaartscenter.com or call 480-644-6500.
The first ever Festival de España is an all-day gathering of Spanish arts and cultures with Flamenco classes taught by Flamenco Por La Vida, lectures on Northern Spanish culture and Flamenco history, art exhibits, live music and dance performances. Admission is free, except for the final Third Street Theater flamenco performance, which is $15. Visit phoenixcenterforthearts.org.
The Arizona Dragon Boat Association brings the ancient Chinese water sport to the Valley for a weekend of racing and cheering as teams of 22 people row colorful handcrafted and imported boats across Tempe Town Lake. Admission is free. For team and schedule updates, visit azdba.com or follow the Arizona Dragon Boat Association on Facebook.
The biannual arts festival returns for another season of live music, performers, vendors, and up to 400 jury-selected artists lining their work in booths along Mill Avenue. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day and admission is always free. Visit www.tempefestivalofthearts.com for more information.
Arizona Bike Week beings with its pre-rally days March 28 through April 1 and concludes with the action-packed CycleFest April 2 through 6. CycleFest is five days of live music, vendors, stunt shows, motorcycle rides, and biker babe pageants. Visit www.azbikeweek.com or call 480-644-8191.
The Phoenix Film Festival returns for a 14th year with eight straight days of parties, filmmaker seminars, and of course movie screenings spread out across seven screens in one location. Tickets start at $13. Showtimes and other festival events vary. For details, visit www.phoenixfilmfestival.com or call 602-955-6444.
Formerly known as The Great Arizona Bicycle Festival, this two day event takes over the streets of Downtown Mesa with the Criterium on Friday and the El Tour de Mesa 70-mile bicycle race on Saturday as well as vendors, food trucks, a beer garden, zip line, and kids bike rodeo. Admission CycloMesa is free. For more information, visit cyclomesa.com or follow the event on Facebook.
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Phoenix Gay Pride kicks off once again with a parade starting at Third Street and Thomas Road at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 5, followed by the Pride Festival from noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday. The festival will feature an art expo, plenty of vendors, and five stages of live entertainment including music, dance, and speakers. Tickets start at $15. For more information, visit phoenixpride.org
The 13th Annual Phoenix Improv Festival returns with a lineup of local and out-of-state talent including National Comedy Theatre, Apollo 12, and The Displacers. For festival updates, visit phoeniximprovfestival.com or follow Phoenix Improv Festival on Facebook.