Phoenix New Times' Best of Phoenix 2017 is out now. Here's our list of the best events the Valley has to offer.
Best Arts Festival: Canal Convergence
The best art festivals bring art to unexpected places, blend visual with performance art, and have plenty of ways for festivalgoers to get creative instead of being passive observers. That's just what happened at the last Canal Convergence, when artists and community members gathered along the banks of the Arizona Canal. Festivalgoers enjoyed four nights of art installations and performances including live music, mural painting, and dance by creatives from both the local and international scenes.
Best Film Festival: Phoenix Film Festival
Year in, year out, the Phoenix Film Festival spoils Valley moviegoers. Its 2017 edition brought 175 films to Harkins Scottsdale 101, where some 20,000 people came together for a week to watch local, national, and international films in an unpretentious environment. This year, the festival highlighted just how much moviemaking potential there is in Arizona by screening an array of films — including documentaries, shorts, and features — made here or by people from here.
Best Culinary Festival: Devour Culinary Classic
There's a reason that Devour Culinary Classic, organized by Local First Arizona, has become one of the most highly anticipated spring events in metro Phoenix. The two-day food and drink smorgasbord brings together a who's-who of local and regional culinary talent. Here's the place to rub elbows with many of the region's top chefs, restaurateurs, mixologists, makers, brewers, and vintners. If you manage to score tickets, you can rely on a heady mix of high-quality food and drink, gorgeous spring weather, and big crowds.
Best Music Festival: Viva PHX
No other way to put it: Viva PHX took over downtown Phoenix during its 2017 edition. And it kinda had to. (Full disclosure: New Times is a sponsor.) Around 100 bands took to stages at 20 venues during the fourth annual music festival. Girl Talk, American Football, Wyclef Jean, and The Maine headlined, and the rest of the bill was stellar in its variety.
Best Home Tour: Willo Historic Home Tour
The Willo Historic Home Tour is our favorite see-and-be-seen old-house extravaganza. Every February, we head to downtown Phoenix to play lookie-loo at a dozen or more beautifully restored historic homes representing a variety of styles and eras: bungalows from the '20s, modified ranches from the '50s, Tudors and Craftsmans and adobes. After checking out crown moldings and wood floors and neat old furnishings, we head to the street fair featuring local vendors.
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Best Gem and Mineral Show: Flagg Gem & Mineral Show
Find everything from gold and quartz to metatorbernite at the annual Flagg Gem & Mineral Show — a three-day, tailgate-style event held the first weekend in January as a major fundraiser for the Flagg Mineral Foundation. In its 45th year in 2017, the outdoor FGMS show is a collection of jewelry, gems, beads, fossils, minerals, and lapidary supplies ideal for local mineral and lapidary clubs, enthusiastic collectors, and even the general public.
Best New Storytelling Event: The Whole Story
Storyline co-founder Rachel Egboro launched her quarterly storytelling series, The Whole Story, to showcase a more comprehensive narrative of the black experience. In her first two shows, Egboro proved that she could bring not just the diversity of the black community to the stage, featuring everyone from stand-up comedian Anwar Newton to BlackPoet Ventures' Leah Marche, but also a packed audience of listeners from all backgrounds to the theater.