Nerd Culture

13 Arts and Culture Festivals in Metro Phoenix This Fall

Dress for success at the Phoenix Fan Fest.
Dress for success at the Phoenix Fan Fest. Benjamin Leatherman

This fall, you can honor Mexican traditions, take in a curated fest of indie movies, and celebrate the LGBTQ community. Because metro Phoenix has festivals for all of the above — and a whole lot more.

Here's your guide to 13 upcoming fall festivals from around the Valley to help you make the most of the festive season.

Ghostfest Improv Marathon
When: Friday and Saturday, October 13 and 14
Where: The Torch Theatre
The Torch Theatre’s annual event brings more than 32 hours of longform improv comedy from a wide variety of performers. The event also serves as a fundraiser for the Phoenix Improv Festival, another annual event devoted to the improv medium. Eighty different shows happen throughout each day – from morning performances to late nighters. Expect to see troupes like Mail Order Bride, The Neighborhood, Zombie Gourmet, Fart Doctors, and Pizza Party. There’s also Ghostfest Jr. (a block of kid-friendly shows) on Saturday morning.

Harvest Fest
When: Saturdays and Sundays, October 14 to 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Pioneer Living History Museum
This family-friendly event has different ways to enjoy the season. You can take a hayride, pan for gold, get into the pumpkin patch, or try your hand at pumpkin bowling. The fest also has food, drink, and live music.
Goodyear Fall Festival
When: Saturday, October 21, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Where: Goodyear Ballpark
The Goodyear Fall Festival promises a fun night at the ballpark for attendees of all ages. This seasonal get-together will include a costume contest with prizes for the winners, so get creative with your Halloween duds. There will also be train rides, corn hole games, a book sale, and demonstrations by local martial arts and dance groups.

Rainbows Festival & Street Fair
When: Saturday, October 21, and Sunday, October 22, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Heritage Square Park
Celebrate the pride and diversity of the LGBTQ community during this annual festival that sees more than 25,000 attendees. Two stages will offer live entertainment throughout each day of this two-day celebration. There will be more than 150 exhibitors selling a range of goods and presenting information. Numerous food vendors will be on-site to meet the needs of hungry visitors.

click to enlarge Folks enjoying Day of the Dead festivities. - ALEXANDRA GASPAR
Folks enjoying Day of the Dead festivities.
Alexandra Gaspar
Dia De Los Muertos Festival
When: Saturday, October 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, October 29, from noon to 5 p.m.
Where: Mesa Arts Center
Pay tribute to the dead at this annual festival and traditional Mexican celebration. See an array of altars created by locals. The community altar will have space for you to share your own memories. Expect more than a dozen cultural performances, live music, food trucks, and plenty of joyous activities to honor those who have passed on before us.

Dia De Los Muertos PHX Festival
When: Sunday, October 29, from noon to 6 p.m.
Where: Steele Indian School Park
Celebrate the dearly departed at this annual Dia De Los Muertos event. Music, dance, and theater performances will occur throughout the afternoon to honor ancestors and celebrate heritage and traditions.
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Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young