For the rest of the country, Labor Day signals an end to summer and an ease into the cool days of fall. Here in Phoenix, not so much. The holiday is more of a rally cry to hang in there for six more weeks until we can live life alfresco again.
But this doesn’t mean we can’t escape to higher elevations to celebrate the Labor Day weekend like they do in, say, New Hampshire. Case in point is Flagstaff’s annual Art in the Park event, an outdoor juried fine-art affair with a robust wine garden featuring six Arizona wineries. Not only is the event held in leafy, shaded Wheeler Park in historic downtown Flagstaff (read: cool and lush), but it’s one of the best ways to sample local wine all in one place.
The wine garden is hosted by Page Springs Cellars, whose Rhone-style reds have won numerous awards and received national accolades. Other wineries showcased in the garden will include: Arizona Stronghold Vineyards (the state’s largest wine producer), Burning Tree Cellars (if the creamy viognier/chardonnay blend The Architect is on offer, don’t miss it), Fire Mountain Wines (go for the 100 percent sangiovese Cicada), Su Vino Winery (try the light and lovely pinot noir) and Winery 101 (we suggest the dark and jammy petite syrah).
If you attend, first things first. Visit the wine garden to sample some vino, then browse the impressive works of more than 100 artists on display. Take a break by enjoying the event’s lineup of live music. Then return to the garden to enjoy more wine, either by the glass or bottle.
Where: Wheeler Park, 212 West Aspen Avenue, Flagstaff
When: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, September 2 through Sunday, September 3, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, September 4
How much: Admission to the event is free; tickets to the wine garden cost $20 and include tastings for six wineries, plus a souvenir wine glass