The Best Things to Do in Phoenix, Mesa, and Tempe: December 2-8 | Phoenix New Times

The Best Free Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Short on cash?
The Grinch was spotted at the APS Electric Light Parade in the past.
The Grinch was spotted at the APS Electric Light Parade in the past. New Times Archive
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Short on cash? We’ve got you covered. This week, you can explore artworks crafted by local creatives at Tempe Festival of the Arts, enjoy the perfect meal with a few friends during the Tamale Festival, or get your geek on at LibCon West. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Friends Trivia

If your love life’s D.O.A., or it’s just not your day, week, month, etc., there’s one thing always there for you: Friends trivia. Given the season, your team of Joeys and Rachels will have their respective mettle tested with trivia from 10 seasons of holiday episodes, with a keen focus on “The One With the Holiday Armadillo.” What did Chandler buy Phoebe in “The One With the Routine?” How did Monica send Chandler to the hospital in “The One With the Thanksgiving Flashbacks”? Study up!

The event is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3, at Growler USA, 5415 East High Street. Chris Coplan

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Head here to find art gifts this holiday season.
Tom Klare

Holiday Art Sale

If you think artwork is too expensive, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the Holiday Art Sale happening at the Mesa Community College Art Gallery, 1833 West Southern Avenue in Mesa. The sale will feature affordable artworks by college students, faculty, and staff. College faculty members and alumni are some of the Valley’s best-loved artists.

You’ll find artworks and crafts in several mediums during the sale, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 4. Enjoy the sale, then head back in 2020 to see all the intriguing art the gallery will be showing, including works by local artists. Lynn Trimble

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Talk storytelling with Michelle Malonzo.
Piper Center

‘Get Lit: Who Can Tell a Story’

Once a month, literature nerds descend on the Reading Room at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue. This month, they’ll be discussing who gets to tell which stories, and why. The free “Get Lit: Who Can Tell a Story” salon with Michelle Malonzo happens at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 5. Expect a lively discussion about who gets to tell the stories of marginalized experience.

Can authors tell these stories if they haven’t lived them? Does doing research make it acceptable? What about being an ally? And when does a book about marginalized experience raise awareness, rather than simply profiting from it? Register online if you’re attending, so organizers know how many people to expect. Lynn Trimble

Concert and Toy Drive

The Valley’s hip-hop scene is a tight-knit group, with MCs and other artists regularly banding together to uplift and celebrate the community. This holiday season, several constituents are going one step further by hosting a combination concert and toy drive. The charitable event will feature performances from a slew of local and regional rappers and singers, including J-Luv and Blaze Rock, AkReshon, Joe Louis, Prophetiko, and Rap Van Damme. And all you need to get in the door? An unopened present. Talk about another gift that keeps on giving.

The 21-and over concert is scheduled for 9 p.m. on Thursday, December 5, at Yucca Tap Room, 29 West Southern Avenue in Tempe. Chris Coplan

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Get your sticker fix.
Wasted Ink Zine Distro

Sticker Drop and Workshop

You can never have too many stickers. So mark your calendar for Friday, December 6. That’s when Wasted Ink Zine Distro will be celebrating five years on the local lit scene with a sticker drop and workshop. Look for designs by diverse zine creators and other artists, which make fabulous additions to everything from books to bikes.

The free event runs from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Hive, 2222 North 16th Street. You’ll find six zine creators tabling in the courtyard, where you can also enjoy food and conversation with fellow sticker geeks. Explore art inside the nearby gallery, or shop local businesses at The Hive while you’re there. Lynn Trimble

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Having fun along Mill Avenue.
Lynn Trimble

Tempe Festival of the Arts

Tempe Festival of the Arts returns to Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe on Friday, December 6. That’s your first chance to explore more than 300 artist booths, featuring works in more than a dozen mediums — including painting, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, and more. Look for local artists while you’re there, and bring your holiday shopping list. Friday festival hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Festival offerings include a kids zone complete with a youth art exhibition and hands-on art activities, plus live music, street performers, and a chalk art competition. Fourteen artists will be making chalk on Fourth Avenue west of Mill Avenue, inspired by the theme “A Stitch in Time.” Admission is free. Lynn Trimble

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Weaam Abbas artwork from a World Refugee Day exhibit.
Lynn Trimble

World Bazaar Phoenix

If you’re eager to support businesses owned by local immigrants and refugees, block out some time between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 7. That’s when Local First Arizona and several community partners are presenting a free event called World Bazaar Phoenix. The event brings together artisans who make jewelry, clothing, baskets, and accessories, so you can shop local with global flair.

You’ll experience live music and dance from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while you shop. More than 50 vendors are participating, so it’s an easy way to tick off all those names on your holiday gift list. Bring extra money for food and drink. Lynn Trimble

APS Electric Light Parade

The Valley doesn’t have regular snowfall to mark the holiday season. We do, however, have the APS Electric Light Parade. For its 33rd edition, parade promoters have chosen the theme of “Walking in a Desert Wonderland,” which seems perfect given temperatures average a brisk 70 degrees. The parade begins at Central and Montebello avenues, heads south to Camelback Road, and turns left at Seventh Street before winding down on Indian School Road. Or, skip the festivities and just check out the pre-parade gathering, where you’ll peruse the floats up close and personal.

The parade begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 7. The pre-parade party, meanwhile, is set for 5:30 p.m. at North Phoenix Baptist Church, 5757 North Central Avenue. Chris Coplan

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Tamales are the cornerstone of the holiday season.

Tamale Festival

Tamales check every box for the perfect meal. They’re steeped in rich tradition, tasty whether filled with pork or portobello, and super-convenient to eat. Food City’s own Tamale Festival is the perfect way to celebrate this dynamic food. The event will not only feature dozens of local tamale vendors, but Food City is previewing several new “flavors” set to debut in time for this holiday season. And when you’re not eating tamales by the handful, enjoy performances by local ballet folklorico dancers and mariachi bands.

The totally free festival is set for Saturday, December 7, and Sunday, December 8, at Cesar Chavez Plaza, 201 West Washington Street. Festivities run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Chris Coplan

LibCon West

Libraries long have been a place to get your geek on, thanks to their wealth of lendable media and ephemera covering a multitude of subject matters. So it seems fitting that the Velma Teague Library, 7010 North 58th Avenue in Glendale, would host an event like LibCon West, an afternoon-long geek extravaganza happening on Saturday, December 7.

Various geeky activities will be offered, including programming focusing on gaming, fandom, and cosplay. The pirates of The DREAD Fleet will also present a live show, and local bands Dratini on the Rocks and the Driftwood Quintet will perform geek-oriented music selections. Vendors, special guests, and a scavenger hunt is also planned. The con will cap off with a Lightsaber Walk led by the Jedi of Syndicate Saber through the streets of downtown Glendale.

The nerdy fun starts at noon and goes until 5 p.m. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

Rosie’s House

A little girl named Rosie was forced to leave her violin behind during World War II as her family fled the ravages of war. Decades later, the German immigrant founded Rosie’s House, a nonprofit that provides free music education for youth living in the inner city in Phoenix. Children develop character and music skills through various music classes, including choir, piano, mariachi, strings, and more.

Every holiday season, they perform a free concert for the community. It’s a way for young musicians to share what they’ve learned and experienced the thrill of hearing a live audience reaction. This year’s Annual Holiday Concert takes place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 8. It’s happening inside Memorial Hall at Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School Road. Lynn Trimble
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