The weekend has finally arrived. This weekend, you can cheer for your favorite wrestler at NXT, jump back in time during the Arizona Renaissance Festival, or enjoy a stroll through the neighborhood at Willo Historic Home Tour & Street Fair. For more things to do, visit
Indie Film Fest
If you want to learn more about the local film scene, head over to the opening night of the three-day Indie Film Fest at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. The lineup on Friday, February 7, includes the premiere of several short films and a screening of the documentary feature called Pick it Up! Ska in the ’90s. The festivities start at 7 p.m.
The evening also includes screenings for several music videos, plus an after-party happening at Paz Cantina, 330 East Roosevelt Street. Tickets for opening night start at $25. VIP tickets are $125. The festival continues through Sunday, February 9. Lynn Trimble
If WWE is the dad who lets you have soda for dinner, then NXT is the cool uncle who lets you eat chocolate pie for breakfast and do front-flips on the trampoline. NXT isn’t just some farm team for the WWE’s major leagues: it’s an entirely different approach to the art of wrestling, with more emphasis on organic storytelling, proper character development, and tons of sick moonsaults and superkicks.
NXT visits the Valley at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 7, at Arizona Federal Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. Tickets range from $20 to $200. Chris Coplan
Motorcycles on Main
You could take that sweet hog of yours out on Arizona’s many scenic open roads. Or, just save yourself some gas and general wear-and-tear by taking part in Motorcycles on Main. This annual gathering features bikers of all backgrounds and experience levels celebrating all things motorcycle right there on Main Street in Mesa. If that weren’t enough of a draw, the event also features live music, food trucks, a free raffle, and shopping at nearby stores. Why drive endlessly when street tacos are right there?
The free event is set for 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, February 7, at Desert Wind Harley-Davidson, 922 South Country Club Drive in Mesa. Chris Coplan
Jeff Ross is the Toyota Camry of stand-up comedy. Other names may get more attention or acclaim, but Ross has been steadily plugging away for nearly 25 years. In addition to all those years spent zig-zagging the U.S. on tour, Ross has made a career hosting and participating in comedy roasts. He’s tossed zingers at everyone from David Hasselhoff to Bruce Willis.
Ross visits the Valley on Friday, February 7, and Saturday, February 8, at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Showtimes are 7:30 and 10 p.m. on Friday and 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday. GA tickets are $27 and VIP tickets (which include a meet-and-greet) are $55. Chris Coplan
Arizona Renaissance Festival
Fire up your flux capacitors and get ready for another trip back to the 16th century. The annual Arizona Renaissance Festival is returning for its 32nd season on Saturday, February 8, with all the usual merriment, revelry, and whimsy.
The 30-acre attraction, located at 12601 East US Highway 60 in Gold Canyon, offers lively activities and entertainment in a Tudor-style village populated by artisans, performers, knight, rogues, and various other costumed characters. Patrons can frolic with fairies, partake in rides and games, watch jousting battles, or feast on a repast of food and libations (including turkey legs the size of your forearm).
The merry fun takes place every weekend, rain or shine, through March 29. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $27 for adults, $17 for children 5 ages to 12, and free for kids 5 and under. Benjamin Leatherman
Dia de Guadalupe
The town of Guadalupe is celebrating its rich history with Dia de Guadalupe, a free community gathering happening from 4 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, February 8. Head to the Guadalupe Mercado at 9201 South Avenida del Yaqui to join the festivities, which will celebrate the confluence of diverse cultures. The town was founded by Yaqui Indians and continues to be a hub for indigenous and Hispanic cultures.
Saturday’s event recognizes 45 years since the town, which was named for the Virgin of Guadalupe, was incorporated. Expect live music, crafts, bounce houses, food vendors, and pinatas. The music kicks off at 4 p.m. with a performance by Mariachi Juvenil de Mi Tierra. Lynn Trimble
World Championship Hoop Dancing Contest
Celebrate artistry, athleticism, and cultural traditions as the World Championship Hoop Dancing Contest returns for the Heard Museum, 2301 North Central Avenue. The two-day competition kicks off on Saturday, February 8, when event hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The championship event will bring more than 80 dancers from across the United States to Canada to the Heard Museum, where they’ll compete in various age categories.
Dancers will be judged on several factors, including precision, timing and rhythm, showmanship, creativity, and speed. Bring a low lawn chair or blanket, because the event takes place in the museum’s outdoor amphitheater. Tickets are $25 for adults, which includes admission to the competition on both Saturday and Sunday. Lynn Trimble
Strong Beer Festival
Like a properly tapped keg, there’s a steady stream of Phoenixbeer festivals year-round. But among these suds-based celebrations, the Arizona Strong Beer Festival is a true king, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2020. This year’s festivities will feature more than 150 breweries statewide, with many presenting brews made exclusively for this event. When you’re not busy sipping sweet craft beers, the fest also features food, vendors galore, and live performances from The Hourglass Cats and Tommy Price & the Stilettos, among others. Bottoms up!
The festival is set for 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 8, at Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School Road. For a full list of available beers, check out untappd.com. Tickets, meanwhile, run from $60 for GA to $100 for VIP packages. Chris Coplan
Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival
The Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival will be screening movies with Jewish themes at three locations this month. Organizers hope to increase the sense of community while also increasing “awareness of the variety and richness of Jewish culture among all residents.”
The festival kicks off on Sunday, February 9, when you can see the films Abe, Egg Cream, Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles, and Tel Aviv on Fire at Harkins Theatres Shea 14, 7354 East Shea Boulevard in Scottsdale. You can see additional films in Tempe that day, as well. The festival continues through February 23. Tickets to individual films are $13 at the door. Festival passes cost $150. Lynn Trimble
Willo Historic Home Tour & Street Fair
Every neighborhood has its own distinct style influenced by a myriad of factors, including history, architecture, and community involvement. You can explore the Willo Historic District on Sunday, February 9. That’s when the Willo Historic Home Tour & Street Fair is happening between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The neighborhood is bounded by First and Seventh avenues, between Thomas and McDowell roads. The tour features homes built from the 1920s to the 1940s, with styles that include Bungalow, Colonial, Spanish, and Tudor. The street fair includes live music and more than 100 vendors on Holly Street and Monte Vista Road, plus trolleys to help you get from place to place. Tickets are $20. Lynn Trimble
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The Chocolate Experience
Whether your taste runs toward hollow bunnies or decadent truffles, you’ll find something to love during The Chocolate Experience happening in downtown Glendale. It’s a new spin on the city’s Chocolate Affaire tradition, which is transforming from outdoor festival to indoor experience. Day two happens on Sunday, February 9, when you can explore all things chocolate between noon at 5 p.m. at Glendale Civic Center, 5750 West Glenn Drive in Glendale.
Expect live music, tastings, performances, artisans, and more. Or you can hop a shuttle over to Cerreta Candy Company for a fabulous tour. Festival admission, including the tour and shuttle, is free. Lynn Trimble