Things to Do

The 11 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

Just a couple's day out at ISM Raceway.
Just a couple's day out at ISM Raceway. Melissa Fossum

click to enlarge Add some aloha to your life this weekend at the Arizona Aloha Festival. - ARIZONA ALOHA FESTIVAL
Add some aloha to your life this weekend at the Arizona Aloha Festival.
Arizona Aloha Festival

We've made it to the weekend. This weekend, you can enjoy some weekend thrills at Chandler Ostrich Festival, bring a friend and drink up at Wizards and Witches Beer Festival, or celebrate the blues genre at Blues Blast. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

International Women's Day
If you are looking for a creative way to celebrate International Women’s Day, the Phoenix Art Museum is creating a special slate of events to highlight the work of female artists. Giovana Aviles, the Mexican-born visual artist known for her inspired fashion statements, will be giving a talk. There will also be a screening of the film Wadjda by Haifaa Al Mansour and a happy hour at Palette, the restaurant located inside the museum, from 3 to 6 p.m.

This event goes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 8, at 1625 North Central Avenue. Admission is $14 to $23. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge All about NASCAR. - MELISSA FOSSUM
All about NASCAR.
Melissa Fossum
TicketGuardian 500 NASCAR Weekend
NASCAR fans of the Valley, get your motors running. The sport’s biggest drivers will cruise into the Valley starting on Friday, March 8, for three straight days of events at ISM Raceway, 7602 South Avondale Boulevard in Avondale, during this year’s TicketGuardian 500 NASCAR Weekend. Race car superstars like Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Larson will put the pedal to the metal and make left turns aplenty as they compete for their share of glory, prize money, and a better standing in the ongoing Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Things get kicks off on Friday with the Gatorade Pole Day practice session, which starts at 4:15 p.m. and will feature all of weekend’s racers participating. NASCAR’s biggest up-and-comers will take over the track during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 9. It all leads up to the TicketGuardian 500 at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, which will offer 312 laps of hard-driving action. Tickets price vary for each race and a variety of fan activities will be offered throughout the weekend. Call 866-408-7223 or visit for tickets and more info. Benjmain Leatherman

click to enlarge A night of thrills. - PHOENIX NEW TIMES
A night of thrills.
Phoenix New Times
Chandler Ostrich Festival
The 31st annual Chandler Ostrich Festival is a three-day celebration of the suburb’s relationship with the flightless bird. This year, it will be all about Apple Bottom Jeans and boots with the fur, because Flo Rida is bringing his Miami flow to the east Valley on Friday, March 8. Soul legends The Commodores and singer-songwriter Andy Grammer round out the rest of the weekend’s lineup. If getting low at Tumbleweed Park isn’t your thing, bring your family for the pony rides, pig races, and the ostrich exhibit.

The fun goes from 2 p.m. to midnight on Friday, March 8, at 2250 South McQueen Road in Chandler and continues through Sunday, March 10. Tickets are $8 to $65. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge Somebody's watching you. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Somebody's watching you.
Lynn Trimble
“Welcome to Night Vale: A Spy in the Desert”
Ever spotted a cactus cam while driving through Paradise Valley? Turns out, there really are spies in the desert. And storytellers for the Welcome to Night Vale podcast decided they’d make a fabulous theme for a world tour. “Welcome to Night Vale: A Spy in the Desert” comes to The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street, at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 8. The tour features a new story about a surreal desert town filled with secrets, and every performance incorporates the audience into the tale somehow. You’ll never hear it on the podcast, by the way: This particular bit of fiction is only for tour attendees (who need to be at least 13 years old). Tickets are $32.50. Visit Lynn Trimble

Wizards and Witches Beer Festival
Initially, the Wizards and Witches Beer Festival was described as an event inspired by a certain fictional character known for his work with wands. It’s unclear if the dark lords of copyright came down to transfigure the name of this party, but the organizers decided to cast a name-changing charm just in case. There will be plenty of photo opportunities, cosplay, food, and Adult Butterbeer, of course.

Drink up from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, at the Monarch Theatre, 122 East Washington Street. Tickets are $35 and will only be sold to those of legal drinking age. For more information, visit Jason Keil

Arizona Aloha Festival
Escape to the islands, as the free two-day Arizona Aloha Festival comes to Tempe Beach Park, 80 West Rio Salado Parkway. The festival opens on Saturday, March 9, with a rich lineup of music, dance, art, and cuisine. Learn to make a tiki, lei, or rattle. Watch traditional and contemporary hula dance. Try food offerings from poke to potstickers. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There’s also a 7 to 9 p.m. seminar on tattoos in Polynesian culture happening at the Phoenix Indian School Visitor Center, 300 East Indian School Road (admission is $10). Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Don't ruffle these feathers. - RIO SALADO AUDUBON CENTER
Don't ruffle these feathers.
Rio Salado Audubon Center
Arizona Animal Encounters
Social media seems to favor puppies and kittens, but there’s a lot more diversity in the desert, and it’s especially intriguing when you can explore it up close. You’ve got plenty of opportunities over at the Rio Salado Audubon Center, 3131 South Central Avenue. The center has a family program called Arizona Animal Encounters, which features wildlife ambassadors sharing desert creatures, and talking a bit about the animals’ habits and habitats. Liberty Habitat will be showing birds of prey from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 9. If you’re an early riser, head over at 8 a.m. for a Saturday Morning Bird Walk. Both events are free. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Celebrating Two Spirit people. - CLAYTON KARAS PHOTOGRAPHY
Celebrating Two Spirit people.
Clayton Karas Photography
Arizona Two Spirit Powwow
The inaugural Arizona Two Spirit Powwow is happening from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, at the South Mountain Community College Performing Arts Center Amphitheater, 7050 South 24th Street. The free event, which is open to the public, is being presented by Native Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). It’s a gathering of Native LGBTQ/Two Spirit people from 22 tribes, for celebration, ceremony, and conversation. The powwow will feature traditional performances such as singing and dancing, storytelling, arts and crafts, lectures, panel discussions, and a photography exhibit — as well as a Native market and food. Organizers hope the event will help to foster diversity, inclusion, and healing. All powwow dancers and drums are welcome. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Celebrating Persian New Year. - PERSIAN NEW YEAR FESTIVAL
Celebrating Persian New Year.
Persian New Year Festival
Persian New Year Festival
The Persian New Year Festival happens on Saturday, March 9, along the Scottsdale Waterfront, 7135 East Camelback Road. Head over between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to enjoy a free celebration of Persian culture, featuring food and drink, crafts by local artisans, children’s activities, music, and dance performance. The event is organized by the Iranian American Society of Arizona, which fosters appreciation for Iranian culture, language, history, and heritage through education, food, cultural activities, and community events. Persian New Year is celebrated not only in Iran, but also other countries in the Middle East and Central Asia. The festival is a fun way to learn more about Persian culture and traditions. Visit Lynn Trimble

Blues Blast
Springtime in the Valley means music festivals aplenty — and there’s practically one for every taste imaginable. Fans of down-home sounds of the 12-bar, Delta, or boogie-woogie variety, for instance, will flock to Margaret T. Hance Park, 1134 North Central Avenue, on Saturday, March 9, for the annual Blues Blast, a daylong celebration of the genre that’s put on by the Phoenix Blues Society.

This year’s edition will feature sets from such local and touring acts as The Paladins, The 44s, Chuck Hall, Georege Bowman, Cadillac Assembly Line, and Joe Kopicki. The Guitars4Vets Band will also provide a special performance. Art activities and displays, merchandise vendors, and local food trucks will also be a part of the event. Gates open at 10 a.m., the music starts at 11 a.m. and goes until 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. See for more information. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Catty behavior. - CATVIDEOFEST
Catty behavior.
Disney claims the studio is releasing a “live-action” remake of The Lion King this year, but we all know Simba and his friends will be CGI. If you want to see real kitties on the big screen, head over to CatVideoFest, a family-friendly compilation of animation, music videos, and home movies from all around the world featuring furry felines being funny, mischievous, or just plain purrr-fect. Proceeds from the event will benefit Cat Cavorting, an organization that helps communities manage outdoor cat colonies.

The screenings begin at 12:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Tickets are $12. For more information, visit Jason Keil
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble