As the weather cools off and the snowbirds start flocking, the short waits and summer discounts at restaurants go out the window. It's not all bad for food lovers, though, as September marks the official beginning of the fall food festival season. There are new and old food festivals popping up just about every weekend, so here's a list to get you started on some of our top picks for the fall.
The Best of Italy When: Friday, September 12 (6 to 9 p.m.) Where: Courtyard Marriott Salt River How much: $50 for members of the Italian Association, $75 for non-members What to eat: Italian food from chefs including Andrea Volpi, Chris Nocosia and Gio Osso as well as wine from the several top Italian wineries.
Rockin' Taco Street Fest When: Saturday, September 13 (4 to 10 p.m.) Where: El Palacio Restaurant & Cantina of Chandler How much: $5 What to eat: The third annual festival guarantees to bring a wide variety of Mexican food, salsas, and of course, Corona.
Roosevelt Row Chile Pepper Festival When: Saturday, September 27 (5 to 11 p.m.) Where: A.R.T.S. Market How much: Free admission, $2 food tickets and $5 drink tickets What to eat: Downtown Phoenix's biggest chile festival includes winners like Carly's Bistro and Jobot in the past, but there are sure to be plenty of worthy competitors this year.
Scottsdale Spice Culinary Event When: Saturday, September 27 (6 to 10 p.m.) Where: The Venue Scottsdale How much: $52.24 What to eat: Mild, medium and hot food from participating restaurants such as Hula's, Kelly's, Los Olivos, Pink Pony, and more.
Greek Festival of Chandler When: October 3, 4 & 5 (5 - 10 pm Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday) Where: St. Katherine Church, Chandler How much: Get two free admissions online What to eat: Greek food including spanakopita, lamb, pastitso, moussaka, gyro and much more.
SanTan Oktoberfest When: October 4 (3 p.m. to 11 p.m.) Where: AJ Chandler Park, Chandler How much: $10 at Bashas, $12 online or at SanTan Brewing, $15 at the gate What to eat: German food, bratwursts and beer. It's Oktoberfest!
Dish It Out When: Sunday, October 5 (5 to 8 p.m.) Where: Salt River Fields How much: $75 GA, $500 VIP What to eat: The Gladly, The Lodge, Cowboy Ciao and several other of Metro Phoenix's top restaurants.
Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake When: October 10-12 Where: Tempe Town Lake How much: Free admission What to eat: More German food, more bratwursts and more beer. It's another Oktoberfest!
Octoberfest (Salt River Fields) When: October 11 (10 a.m. to 10 p.m.) Where: Salt River Fields How much: TBA, but kids under 12 are free. Food and drink tokens cost $2 each. What to eat: Even more German food, even more bratwursts and even more beer. It's yet another Oktoberfest!
Taste of Cave Creek When: Wednesday, October 15 (5 to 10 p.m.) & Thursday, October 16 (5 to 10 p.m.) Where: Stagecoach Village, Cave Creek How much: $10 entry, $2-5 for food and drink tickets What to eat: Food from nearly 30 different Cave Creek restaurants, including Alberto's, El Encanto, Tonto Bar & Grill and much more.
Arizona Taco Festival When: Saturday, October 18, and Sunday, October 19 (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) Where: Salt River Fields How much: $12 single day, $20 weekend pass, $18 margarita package, $100 VIP, $20 Tequila Expo (Saturday only), food and drink tokens cost $2 each What to eat: Tacos and tequila from 30 different establishments including Fuzzy's, El Hefe and Distrito.
TASTE. Chandler's Culinary Festival When: Saturday, October 25 (6 to 10 p.m.) Where: 2855 W Queen Creek Rd. How much: $69.57 single, $138.14 couple (pre-sale only) What to eat: Restaurants include the Sushi Room, Tom's BBQ, Nando's Mexican Cafe, Roy's Hawaiian Fusion, and more.
Certified Local Fall Festival When: Saturday, November 8 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Where: Portland Parkway in Downtown Phoenix How much: Free What to eat: All of Arizona's finest local foods and drinks from the top local businesses
Chandler's Rock the Block When: Saturday, November 8 (11 a.m. - 8 p.m.) Where: Downtown Chandler on Arizona Avenue between Chandler Boulevard and Frye Road How much: Free What to eat: A variety of food from local Chandler restaurants and vendors
Chiles & Chocolate When: November 7, 8, & 9 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Where: Desert Botanical Garden How much: Free with the garden admission What to eat: Delicious chiles, chocolates, candies and other southwestern treats.
Cooks & Corks When: Friday, November 14 Where: Four Seasons Resort at Troon North, Scottsdale How much: TBA What to eat: Food from the Valley's top chefs from the finest restaurants and hotels
Fifth Annual Pie Social When: Saturday, November 15 (2 to 5 p.m.) Where: Downtown Phoenix How much: TBA What to eat: All kinds of delicious pies, duh!
Did we miss a festival? Let us know!
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