Summer is coming to an end, and while the rest of the country is in mourning, we're celebrating. Now begins the time when the Valley of the Sun comes to life, and now that we can actually stand to be in that sunshine, our favorite season is finally kicking off. Bring on the fall and with it a calendar full of food festivals!
Rockin' Taco Street Fest When: Saturday, September 14 (4 to 10 p.m.) Where: El Palacio Restaurant & Cantina of Chandler How much: $5 What to eat / drink: Homestyle Mexican cuisine, award-winning salsas, taco-eating contest, and Corona
Flagstaff Fall Craft Beer Festival When: Saturday, September 21 (1 to 4 p.m., VIP admission at noon) Where: Pepsi Amphitheater, Flagstaff How much: $29 GA, $49 VIP What to eat / drink: Hors d'oeuvres by Taverna Greek Grill accompany samples from 24 brewing companies (Grand Canyon, Four Peaks, Mudshark, Leinenkugel's, and more).
Roosevelt Row Chile Pepper Festival When: Saturday, September 28 (5 to 11 p.m.) Where: A.R.T.S. Market How much: $15 admission (salsa samples included; food and beverages sold separately) What to eat: Last year's winners were Jobot Coffee Shop's chiles and La Salsa Caliente's salsa. Also look for local food trucks and restaurants.
Taste of Biltmore When: Thursday, October 3 (Starts at 6 p.m.) Where: National Bank of Arizona's Corporate Office How much: $35 What to eat / drink: Del Frisco's Grille, Donovan's, True Food Kitchen, Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Blanco Tacos + Tequila, and more
Greek Festival of Chandler When: October 4, 5 & 6 (5 - 10 pm Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday) Where: St. Katherine's Greek Orthodox Church How much: Score two free admissions online What to eat: Lamb shank dinner, spanakopita, loukaniko (Greek sausage), and homemade pastries
Food Fight Festival When: Saturday, October 6 (4 to 8 p.m.) Where: Salt River Fields How much: $150 GA, $500 Chef's table VIP What to eat: Searsucker, Public House, J&G Steakhouse, Binkley's Restaurant, Pig & Pickle, and many more top Valley restaurants
Taste of Cave Creek When: Wednesday, October 16 (5 to 10 p.m.) & Thursday, October 17 (5 to 10 p.m.) Where: Stagecoach Village How much: $10 entry, $2 to $5 for tasting tickets What to eat: Sample food from 25 local restaurants, including Binkley's, Le Sans Souci, Bryan's Black Mountain BBQ, and Cartwright's + a chili and salsa cook-off.
TASTE. Chandler's Culinary Festival When: Saturday, October 19 (6 to 10 p.m.) Where: 2855 W Queen Creek Road How much: $65 single, $130 couple (plus processing fees) What to eat: Restaurants include Humble Pie, Pearl Sushi, Udder Delights, and Gigi Cupcakes. Drinks provided by SanTan Brewing, D'Vine Wine Bar, and more.
4th Annual Arizona Taco Festival When: Saturday, October 19, and Sunday, October 20 (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) Where: Salt River Fields How much: $12 single day (plus $2 per taco), $85 VIP presale What to eat / drink: Taco teams include Blanco Tacos & Tequila, El Hefe, Tonto Bar & Grill, and returning champs Milagro Grill. Drink at Saturday's Tequila Expo for an additional $20.
Peoria Greek Festival When: October 25, 26 & 27 Where: St. Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church How much: $3, Free for children under 12 and active military members What to eat: Fried kalamari, saganaki, gyros, mousaka, baklava sundaes, and more
Taste of the Trucks When: Saturday, October 26 (6 to 10 p.m.) & Sunday, October 27 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) Where: On Roosevelt between Fourth and Fifth streets How much: $35 single day, $60 weekend pass ($5 off before October 1) What to eat: 25 local trucks each day (50 total!) including Pizza People, Satay Hut, Emerson Fry Bread, and Hey Joe!
4th Annual Peoria Beer Festival When: Saturday, November 2 (6 to 10 p.m.) Where: Peoria Sports Complex How much: $35 general admission, $60 VIP ($5 off before October 1) What to drink: Participating brewers include New Belgium, Phoenix Ale, Dogfish Head, Thunder Canyon, Coronado, and Grand Canyon. Wine also provided by Diamond Wine & Spirits.
"Cosecha" Harvest Festival When: Saturday, November 2 and Sunday, November 3 (10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Where: Dos Cabezas WineWorks Tasting Room How much: $15 (includes wine samples and a keepsake glass) What to drink / eat: Exclusive first tastes of vintages from the 2011 and 2012 harvests, plus food from former Quiessence chef Greg LaPrad's new venture, Overland Trout
Cooks & Corks When: Friday, November 8 (6:30 to 10 p.m.) Where: Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North How much: $95 (Attendance limited to 250-300 people) What to eat: Tastes from prominent Valley chefs, including Frank Belosic and Lee Hillson (The Phoenician), Matt Carter (Zinc Bistro, The Mission), and Beau MacMillan (Sanctuary Resort)
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9th Annual Certified Local Fall Festival When: Saturday, November 9 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Where: Portland Parkway in Downtown Phoenix How much: Free What to eat / drink: Food and beverages provided by local Arizona producers, restaurants, and breweries
Chiles & Chocolate When: November 15, 16 & 17 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Where: Desert Botanical Garden How much: $18 adults, $15 seniors (60+), $10 students, $8 children (3 to 12) What to eat: Freshly roasted green chiles, gourmet candies, zesty salsas, and dark chocolate
4th Annual Pie Social When: Saturday, November 16 (2 to 5 p.m.) Where: "What Should Go Here" Pop Up Park (Second Street & Roosevelt) How much: Two pies, or $10 for 5 tasting tickets What to eat: Everything! From homemade pies to celeb creations, here's no telling what crazy pastries will be baked up for this year's Pie Social. Last year's winners included David Duarte's crème brulee pie, Kristen Campbell's chocolate pecan pie, and Virginia Senior's one-of-a-kind Red Diablo pie.