A Rundown of Today's Light Rail Celebrations (Both Official and Unofficial)

Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers are scheduled to perform this afternoon at the "Destination Tempe" celebration at the Tempe Transportation Center.

"I hear the train a-comin'/It's rolling round the bend" -- Johnny Cash

Plenty of partying is planned for today's long-awaited debut of the Valley Metro Light Rail system, with fetes and fiestas happening in both the east and west Valley. More than a dozen different celebrations (both official and unofficial) will occur, so to help make sense of all the revelry and madness, we've assembled listing of who's celebrating where and when.

(Note: While it's free to hop on the trains starting today until December 31, riders are required to de-board at each end of the line.)



"A Better Tomorrow Starts Today"
This APS-sponsored party will feature clowns, family activities, booths from local businesses and community groups and more. The live entertainment line-up includes performances by Screamin' Javelinas, Carmela y Mas, and EastonAshe.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
19th Avenue & Montebello Station.

"Arts and Culture"
A variety of creative activities are planned for this event, like arts and crafts, Navajo weaving demonstrations, a scavenger hunt, and more. Entertainment will be provided by Azteca de Oro Mariachi, Dineh Tah' Navajo Dance Troupe, Yellowbird Indian Dancers, Motion Theory, and others.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Encanto Boulevard & Central Avenue Station.

Celebration at Campbell & Central Avenues
The musicians of CTS, Billy Cioffi and the Monte Carlos, and The James Kole Band will perform at this station.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Campbell & Central Avenues Station.

"Destination Tempe"
Both the debut of the light rail and the grand opening of the Tempe Transportation Center will be toasted at this expansive fete. Highlights will include a farmers market, vendor booths, archaeology displays, kids areas, and more. Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers will perform at the event, as will Chuck E. Baby and the All-Stars, Ringo McLennonson, and the Chris Parker Project.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tempe Transportation Center, 200 E. 5th St., Tempe.

"Downtown Phoenix Rising"
More or less the "main event" of the whole day, this party kicks off with Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and members of the city council holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:20 a.m. at the Washington & Third Street Station. It also features NBA All-Star and Arizona Diamondbacks "interactive areas," free food and drink, booths from more than 100 local businesses, and more. The live entertainment line-up includes the Phoenix Symphony, Urban Strings, Groove Merchants, and more.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. 3rd St., 602-262-7272.

"Health and Wellness"
The light rail station near the St. Joseph's Hospital & Medical Center offers a activities focused on health and wellness fair, vendor booths, and live music from Jonnie and Brookie and David Bernstein.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Thomas Road & Central Avenue Station.

"It All Starts Here"
Grand Funk Railroad performs at this party (how apropos), which also features a vintage car showcase, SRP's display of an "Energy Efficient Kitchen," and more. Other bands take the stage include Rock Lobster and Second Shift.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sycamore & Main Street Station.

"Mill Avenue Experience"
Located near Tempe Town Lake, this particular party offers displays by the Arizona Sailing Club, entertainment by magician John Fitzsimmons, and an line-up of musicians that includes Grantman and the Island Beat.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Mill Avenue & Third Street Station.

"Papago Park Celebration"
Demonstrations and exhibits on water and electrical safety will be conducted, and live entertainment includes performances by Texas Toast &Jam and Come Back Buddy.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Priest Drive & Washington Street Station.



Light Rail BBQ Party
Kimber Lanning's indie record store will host an afternoon celebration and barbecue in honor of the light rail. Musicians performing at the event are Courtney Marie Andrews, POEM, Bradley and the Materials, and others.
3 p.m., free
Stinkweeds Record Exchange, 10 W. Camelback Rd., 602-248-9461.

Roosevelt Station Celebration
Various galleries, businesses, and organizations from the downtown Phoenix arts district have partnered with the Roosevelt Action Association to present this event, which encompasses the Roosevelt/Central Station, Fair Trade Café, Portland's Restaurant, and Trinity Cathedral. The festivities include booths from a variety of businesses, the DJs of "one" spinning house, and live music from Dry River Yacht Club and other bands.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street Station

Soul Train
The DJ combo of Kela and JC will be spinning soul and funk music at this groovy dance party at Homme Lounge. Drink specials will be offered and patrons who dress in Soul Train attire can get in for free.
9 p.m.
Homme Lounge, 138 W. Camelback Rd., 602-234-3023

Welcome Light Rail Party
Downtown Phoenix gallery the Trunk Space present a special event featuring artwork, food, drinks, and music from such local bands as Uggamugga, French Quarter, and Stellaluna.
7 p.m., $5.
The Trunk Space, 1506 Grand Avenue, 602-256-6006.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.

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