Ding! The biggest showdown this week isn't Ohio State against Kansas State, but Tempe versus Scottsdale in the battle of the New Year's block parties. The Tempe Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Block Party is the incumbent, named one of the top 10 places to ring in the New Year by USA Today. This year's entertainment includes headliner Live, along with Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Jackyl. In all, a total of 30 bands will rock out, starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday, December 31, at Tempe Town Lake. Tickets to the Fiesta Bowl Block Party can be purchased for $10 with a Fry's Food & Drug VIP card or for $15 through 480-350-0911 or www.tostitosfiesta bowl.com.
If BTO doesn't get your blood pumping, the city of Scottsdale would like to lure you to its inaugural Ultimate Block Party, where Alien Ant Farm and Trik Turner will rock in the New Year. The event is a collaboration among four Scottsdale nightclubs: Acme Bar and Grill, NOYZ, NEXT and Dos Gringos, so expect plenty of cosmetically enhanced beautiful people.
The party starts at 5 p.m. in downtown Scottsdale. Tickets are $20 in advance from www.ticketweb.com or $25 the day of the event. For more information, call 602-522-1929. - Brendan Joel Kelley
Maestro of His Domain
Jazzy tunes fill the air at Symphony Hall
Super conductor Robert Moody takes the podium Wednesday, December 31, when the Phoenix Symphony pipes up for its annual New Year's Eve concert. Showcasing jazzy tunes from the Roaring '20s and romantic rhythms from the '30s, "Puttin' On the Ritz" also treats audience members to a champagne toast at intermission. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. See www.phoenixsymphony.org or call 602-495-1999 for tickets, $25 to $55. - Jill Koch
Winter Thunder Land
Tribes gather for native celebration
It's a party, and the world is invited. At the beginning of the 21st century, more than 187 tribes of indigenous people from around the world gathered to celebrate the rising sun of the new millennium at "Thunder in the Desert." To fulfill the traditional sacredness of the number four, three more gatherings are scheduled every four years through 2012. The 12-day gathering features parades, fashion shows, birds of prey, equestrian events, powwows, concerts, dances and more to acknowledge the important contributions of native peoples to the world, including tribes from Mexico, Australia, Africa and Alaska.
"Thunder in the Desert" takes place at Rillito Raceway Park, 4502 North First Avenue in Tucson, from Wednesday, December 31, through January 11. Visit www.usaindianinfo.org or call 1-520-622-4900 for more information. - Eric Schandel
Phoenix parade marches on
Even though the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl is mostly an opportunity for obnoxious tourists to flood the streets of Tempe, Phoenix's Fiesta Bowl Parade provides a fine counterpoint. Presented by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, the annual display of pageantry keeps it real for more than 400,000 attendees. It is regularly ranked the largest spectator event in Arizona, and USA Today has called it one of the top parades in the nation. In keeping with tradition, this year's parade takes place on Wednesday, December 31, and celebrates diversity with the theme of "Arizona's Treasures." Beginning at 11 a.m., the parade runs down Central Avenue from Bethany Home Road to Thomas Road. Parking is always a challenge, so we definitely recommend arriving early. Tickets run from $10 to $25. For more information, call 480-350-0900, or visit www.fiestabowl.org to purchase tickets and see a map of the parade route.- Maidi Terry