Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

Just a group of beer aficionados enjoying a bite to eat at Tour De Fat.
Just a group of beer aficionados enjoying a bite to eat at Tour De Fat. Alexandra Gaspar
Ready for a good time? This weekend, you can get your adrenaline fix at the Arizona State Fair, fill your afternoon with beers and bicycle-inspired games at Tour De Fat, or think outside the box during the Phoenix Psychic Fair. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.


Sure, metal bands are all about corpse paint and satanic imagery. But sometimes they’re also about love and community. Case in point: Valley death metal band Gatecreeper are holding a pizza/listening party for their latest album, Deserted. Which begs the question, what pizza goes best with screeching vocals and pulverizing licks? Cheese seems like a simple enough accompaniment, but the obvious answer is the death-centric meat lover’s pizza.

The party runs from 6 to 7 p.m. on Friday, October 4, at Zia Records, 3201 South Mill Avenue in Tempe. Deserted will be available as a limited-edition deep purple splatter vinyl (500 copies only). Chris Coplan

Checking out the warmup act.
Great Arizona Puppet Theater

Very Spooky Adult Puppet Slam

You can have good clean fun at home by making puppets with the kids in your life using everything from empty milk cartons to Popsicle sticks. But sometimes, you crave puppets with a little more edge and adults who share your love for all things theatrical. You’ll find both at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater, 302 West Latham Street, where the next Adult Puppet Slam happens at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 4.

The Very Spooky Adult Puppet Slam will include performances by several professional puppeteers based in metro Phoenix, as well as Matt McGee of Washington, D.C. The artist has been making puppets, including large-scale works used in theatrical productions, for more than two decades. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Bring money for beer or wine if that’s your thing. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
So, that's what came out of the Phoenix Lights.
Melissa Fossum

Arizona State Fair

If there’s one constant to the Arizona State Fair each year, it’s the spectacle. Everything about the event is geared toward being attention-grabbing, thrill-seeking, or over the top. There are the amped-up rides, ultra-flashy midway games, larger-than-life creatures, blockbuster concerts, or the nonstop buffet of deep-fried guilty pleasures.

The 2019 version of the fair is no exception. There’s a multitude of attractions spread across the grounds, located at 1826 West McDowell Road. There will be e-sports competitions, MMA fights, a retro arcade, Figure 8 racing, rodeos, art displays, roaming performers, competitions, and its concert series. There will also be the usual fair-style hallmarks, including rides, games, and homespun creations.

Experience it for yourself during the Arizona State Fair’s opening day on Friday, October 4, which runs from noon to 10 p.m. The fair will run Wednesdays through Sundays until October 27. Regular admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors over 55 and children 5 to 13, and free for kids under 4. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge
Costumes welcome.
Benjamin Leatherman

Tour De Fat

A word of advice to the beer-loving, bike-riding crowd: You better keep Sunday completely free of any obligation whatsoever. Why? You might be recuperating from all the beer-loving, bike-riding fun that you’ll experience when Tour De Fat 2019 cruises into Tempe Beach Park, 80 West Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe on Saturday, October 5.

As its tagline of “beer, bikes, and bemusement” indicates, New Belgium Brewing’s annual touring event is a traveling carnival of cycling, suds, and surreal scenes taking place in the great outdoors. It involves an afternoon filled with bicycle-inspired games, activities, and shenanigans. There will also be a variety of New Belgium beers available for purchase. Costumes are encouraged, and an array of live entertainment is planned, including performances by bands like KOLARS, Japhy’s Descent, and The Stakes.

The event starts at 11 a.m. with the annual bike parade. The festivities go until 6 p.m. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

Record Store Crawl

There are bar, restaurant, and even Area 51 crawls (that last one’s also heavy on the booze but light on E.T.). Now you can don your best Joy Division tee for a record store crawl through the Valley. Rather than walking, a bus delivers guests to Record High, Zia Records, Stinkweeds, and the Double Nickels Collective. Finally, you’ll have company in picking up that sweet Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark U.K. pressing. You’ll also get discounts at each store, a swag bag with a mystery vinyl, and a David Bowie tote bag. You can win even more goodies, like test pressings and signed vinyl.

The 21-and-over crawl runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 5. There’ll also be lunch and drinks at Yucca Tap Room as well as bus performances to be announced.  Chris Coplan

click to enlarge
Look for Amazing Arizona Comics at Phoenix Public Market.
Lynn Trimble

Meet Your Literary Community

Voracious readers, prolific writers, and other literature lovers will converge on Phoenix Public Market, 721 North Central Avenue, from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, October 5, for a mini-literary festival called Meet Your Literary Community. The free event, which was organized by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at ASU, is a fun, casual way for community members to learn about more than 70 literature-related resources, from local presses to small businesses.

Look for representatives from diverse lit-focused groups and projects, including Hayden’s Ferry Review, National Black Poetry Day, Phoenix Poetry Orchestra, Phoenix Public Library, Poisoned Pen Bookstore, and Wasted Ink Zine Distro. It’s a chance to meet fellow literature nerds while you learn more about the many people working to create a thriving literary scene here in the Valley. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
Katharine Leigh Simpson inside her live/work space in Mesa.
Lynn Trimble

Katharine Leigh Simpson

Katharine Leigh Simpson, a multidisciplinary visual and performance artist based at Mesa Artspace Lofts, is part of a project called Water = Life, which will culminate in November with a nine-day event celebrating the relationship between water and life, and the indigenous people who created the region’s canals.

She’s one of several artists working with the city of Mesa on a series of free hands-on workshops where community members can create artwork for that event. The next workshop happens from noon to 3 p.m. at the i.d.e.a. Museum, 150 West Pepper Place in Mesa. It’s a chance to create a small textile piece of artwork that will become part of the larger installation. Lynn Trimble

Melrose Vintage Market

Now that temperatures are starting to dip below “blue Supergiant,” it’s the perfect time for more outdoor activities. So, what better way to spend a leisurely Sunday then perusing the Melrose Vintage Market. Here, a slew of local vendors offer up a variety of handmade artwork, foods and treats, upcycled knick-knacks, and other wares that you may or may not need. The event’s totally free, but only if you bring your awesome pupper. (Not really, but still.)

The 2019-2020 season kicks off on Sunday, October 6, at 700 West Campbell Avenue. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge
Have any burning questions you want answered?
Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Psychic Fair

If you were an actual psychic, you wouldn’t need to be told about the Phoenix Psychic Fair. But let’s assume someone’s chakras are off and a little 411 is in order. This annual gathering features a variety of events and services to fulfill all your psychic wants and needs, including hypnotherapy, tarot readers, energy healers, aura photographers, and animal communicators. In addition to regular lectures, you can also attend a special performance by famed psychic Jamie Clark.

The fair runs from (::places index and middle fingers on temple::) 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 6, at Four Points by Sheraton Phoenix North, 2532 West Peoria Avenue. Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the door; the Clark event is $25 in advance and $35 at the door. Chris Coplan
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Coplan has been a professional writer since the 2010s, having started his professional career at Consequence of Sound. Since then, he's also been published with TIME, Complex, and other outlets. He lives in Central Phoenix with his fiancee, a dumb but lovable dog, and two bossy cats.
Contact: Chris Coplan
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