Spring Fever Pitch

Considering how the Valley was blessed with a mild winter balmy days and even a hot streak back in January we sure can't complain about cabin fever. But nevertheless, we've been struck with an inexplicable urge to get out and catch some rays before they turn brutal in a couple of months.

Our big chance for fun in the sun comes this weekend, when the 33rd Annual Scottsdale Arts Festival sprawls out across the Scottsdale Civic Plaza for three days of all-ages hedonism.

At the center of attention will be the creations of more than 200 juried artists, selected from more than 900 applicants, who will be on hand to discuss their work in an impressive spectrum of media, from painting and photography to ceramics, fiber and glass. Highlights will include Judy Koenig's sun-dappled still-life watercolors, Kevin O'Grady's mysterious glass pieces and Aaron Kramer's surprisingly elegant mixed-media sculptures, made from such unlikely materials as street-sweeper bristles and coffee stirrers.

Options for hungry visitors are as creative as the art on display. Crepes, salmon and edibles from Outback Steakhouse join more traditional festival fare like hot dogs and burgers. Drink choices range from slurpable (lemonade and smoothies) to swanky (martinis, wine and Fat Tire on tap).

Entertainment starts at 10:15 a.m. each day, and the music lineup could hardly be more diverse; jazz, hip-hop, pop, reggae, flamenco guitar, alt country and Native American rhythms are just a sampling of the sounds presented on three stages. Estéban, the Walt Richardson Band, the Scones, and Briza Brazil are among the weekend's noted performers.

The list of highlights goes on, but we've already made up our minds. We can't wait for the weekend.