Things to Do

The Best Free Things to Do in Phoenix This Week

Who says shopping isn't fun?
Who says shopping isn't fun? Jim Louvau
With the holidays coming up, you may find yourself short on cash. Luckily, this week you can have fun for free. Find items on your shopping list at Crafeteria, celebrate creativity at Mesa Arts Festival, or enjoy traditional treats at Food City Original Tamale Festival. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Get Lit
Can poetry give power to the powerless and start a revolution? This is just one question whose answer will be explored at this month’s edition of Get Lit, a conversation on writing held the first Thursday of every month inside the Rose Room at Valley Bar. December’s topic is “Inquiry, Agency, and the Poetics of Resistance.” Rosemarie Dombrowski, Phoenix’s Poet Laureate, will lead the discussion on the power of verse against racial profiling, xenophobia, and violence and how the form can bring people together.

Join the resistance beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 6, at 130 North Central Avenue. This is a free event. For more information, visit valleybarphx.com. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Have yourself a crafty little Christmas. - JIM LOUVAU
Have yourself a crafty little Christmas.
Jim Louvau
Crafeteria
One of the Valley’s best-loved holiday traditions returns to the Medlock Plaza parking lot, 10 West Camelback Road, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, December 7. It’s the Crafeteria shopping extravaganza presented by Frances, a boutique that specializes in vintage fare. Hit the shindig with your holiday shopping list in hand, because you’ll have works by dozens of local artisans to choose from, and it’s a great way to start checking all those names off your list while splurging on a few fun finds for your own home or closet. The free event also includes live music, and food trucks will be on hand for those who want to buy a bite to eat. Visit shopfrancesboutique.com. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Phoenix Festival of the Arts flashback. - PHOENIX CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Phoenix Festival of the Arts flashback.
Phoenix Center for the Arts
Phoenix Festival of the Arts
Show your heart for art at this year’s Phoenix Festival of the Arts, a free three-day affair presented by Phoenix Center for the Arts, which kicks off Friday, December 7, from noon to 5 p.m. at Hance Park, 1242 Central Avenue. It’s a chance to enjoy live entertainment on three stages while you shop for holidays gifts created by well over 100 local artisans who make everything from candles to fashion accessories. Friday’s on-stage lineup includes several musical performances, plus wildlife and guitar-building presentations. Leave extra time for exploring the family zone, watching artists live-painting, feasting at a favorite food truck, and supporting teen artists who’ll be showing and selling their work. Visit phoenixfestivalofthearts.org. Lynn Trimble

Mesa Book Festival
The East Valley is brimming with literary talent. Learn about local authors and the literature being put to page in Phoenix at the Mesa Book Festival. Writers, publishers, and vendors in every genre, including graphic novels and audiobooks, will be on-hand participating in open-mic poetry and author panels. There will also be children’s book readings in front of the city’s 30-foot tall Christmas Tree.

Turn the page from 2 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 8, in downtown Mesa on South Macdonald Street between Main Street and First Avenue. This is a free event. For more information, visit mesabookfestival.com. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Look for Vessel performers at Mesa Arts Festival. - MESA ARTS CENTER
Look for Vessel performers at Mesa Arts Festival.
Mesa Arts Center
Mesa Arts Festival
With more than 200,000 square feet, there’s plenty of space for celebrating creativity at Mesa Arts Center, located at 1 East Main Street in downtown Mesa. Head over Saturday, December 8, from noon to 5 p.m., to experience the first day of that weekend’s Mesa Arts Festival, a free mash-up of visual and performance art, along with holiday shopping for works by dozens of local artisans working in diverse media such as metal and glass. Rachel Bowditch returns with Vessel for an interactive Chrome performance, complete with photo opportunities, but the festival also features live music, artist demonstrations, and plenty of family-friendly activities. Bring money for food trucks, and your holiday shopping list. Visit mesaartscenter.com. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge The new Chandler Museum opens its doors this month. - CITY OF CHANDLER
The new Chandler Museum opens its doors this month.
City of Chandler
Chandler Museum
Head east on Saturday, December 8, if you want to be one of the first people to explore the new Chandler Museum, which holds its grand opening that day from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The museum is located at 300 South Chandler Village Drive, near Chandler Fashion Center. Mayor Jay Tibshraeny will open the day’s festivities, which include exhibition tours, live entertainment, special guests, presentations on Chandler history, and light refreshments. While you’re there, check out Jeff Zischke’s public artwork titled Infinite Shade, and learn about Chandler connections to everything from the band Green Day to the 2014 Winter Olympics. Visit chandleraz.gov/museum. Lynn Trimble

There's always time for tamales. - SHUTTERSTOCK
There's always time for tamales.
Shutterstock
Food City Original Tamale Festival
Do you like tamales in green or red salsa? Maybe you prefer a sweet or savory filling? You can have it all at the 2018 Food City Original Tamale Festival. Church groups will be selling varieties of the homemade holiday dish. It’s not just about the cornhusk-wrapped treats. There will also be vendors and mariachi bands to entertain attendees.

Unwrap some fun from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 9, at Cesar Chavez Plaza, 201 West Washington Street. This is a free event. For more information, visit myfoodcity.com. Jason Keil
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble