Get ready -- this year's bringing a host of art, film and cultural festivals to the Valley.
Take a look at our first-quarter list to ensure that you don't miss an old favorite festival (Matsuri is always a good bet) ... or find some new events and explore new artists, areas of town, or sample some new ethnic food and culture. (And if you're hungry for more, check out our roundup of foodie springtime festivals on Chow Bella.)
20 - April 3
- Arizona Fine Art Expo
Where: Located in a tent on the southwest corner of Scottsdale Rd. and Jomax
Price: $8 for adults, $6 for senior and free to kids under 12
Why go: 74 continuous days of art shows and demonstrations from artists of a variety of mediums: paint, pen and ink, metal-working, jewelry-making and more. Art and crafts are available for sale in the marketplace.
- Quilt, Craft & Sewing Festival
Where: Arizona State Fairgrounds
Price: $10 ($1 off coupon available online)
Why go: To find out about the newest crafting products and/or learn some new skills at one of the workshops.
Check out our full list of fests after the jump ...
- Glendale Chocolate Affaire
Where: Murphy Park in downtown Glendale
: This right-before-Valentine's Day festival celebrates
chocolate, but also the "romantic arts." Tour Cerreta's candy factory,
enjoy crafts and carriage rides and take some romance writing workshops
given by romance experts.
- Arizona Renaissance Festival
Where: 12601 E. Highway 60, Apache Junction
Price: $20 for adults, $10 for children 5-12
Why go: When else can you pepper your conversations with "thee" and
"shalt" without sounding like (as much of) a fool? Entertainment
includes period comedy, music, jousting and "mischievous antics." The
Marketplace is jam-packed with more than 200 artisans display old-school
art techniques like glassblowing, woodcarving, and blacksmithing.
- Wigwam Festival of Fine Arts
Where: Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa
Why go: Visit to see the recent Wigwam renovations and view works by some accomplished southwest artists.
- Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival
Where: At a variety of Harkins theaters around town: Camelview 5 in Scottsdale, Crossroads 12 in Chandler and Arrowhead 18 in Peoria
Price: Each film is $9.50 for adults, $5 for students and $30 to attend the opening gala
Why go: View 11 Jewish-themed feature films from all over the world you wouldn't otherwise be able to see in a theater.
- Almost Famous Film Festival
Why participate: Teams are given 48 hours to complete a one to five minute video based on guidelines given at the kick-off party on the 18th. The top 20 films will be screened and judged at a later date.
26 & 27
- Arizona Matsuri Festival
Where: Heritage & Science Park
Why go: Look at bonsai trees and koi, listen to taiko drums, eat some (somewhat) authentic Japanese snacks and partake in amazing people-watching as kids dressed in Gothic Lolita and animee-wear characters pass by.
- Carefree Fine Arts and Wine Festival
Where: Downtown Carefree
Why go: Fine art and wine in beautiful Carefree.
- Scottsdale Arts Festival
Where: Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Price: $7 for adults, $5 for students, children under 12 are free
Why go: Live music, food & wine, free admission to SMoCA with admission, and view and buy art from over 200 jury-selected artists from across the country.
12 & 13
- Arizona Aloha Festival
Where: Tempe Town Lake
Why go: Shop for Polynesian products, watch experienced hula dancers and eat some Hawaiian treats (rice/spam sandwich anyone?).
- St. Patrick's Day Parade & Faire
Where: Margaret T. Hance Park
Price: TBA (though last year it was around $10)
Why go: Go if you like Irish step dancing, music, food and lots of beer.
- Festival of the West
Where: Westworld in Scottsdale
Price: A variety of different prices depending on how many days, if you attend the concerts, etc.
Why go: An all-western, all-the-time event. Experience western music, a poetry stage featuring cowboy poets, horseback exhibitions, costume contests, and a kids area with crafts, face painting, trains, and roping.
- Tempe Festival of the Arts
Where: Along Mill Avenue north of University Avenue
Why go: One of the Valley's most popular festivals, over 200,000+ people visit to shop booth after artsy booth (more than 400) of fine art, crafts, and jewelry and eat fair food.
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- Arizona International Film Festival
Why go: New and innovative independent cinema is just a two-hour drive away.
- Arizona Asian Festival
Where: Mekong Plaza in Mesa
Why go: Food, entertainment and a visit to the Mekong Plaza grocery store, which is a destination in its own right.