It's safe. You can come out now. It's September. And while temperatures may still hover uncomfortably for a bit, we feel fall in the air -- and that means outdoor festivals with lots to eat and drink. So get out your calendar (or your smart phone) and jot down the dates for these must-do events. And keep an eye out for our Oktoberfest round-up, coming soon.
Corks and Cactus When: September 28-29 (Friday 6-10pm, Saturday 1-5pm) Where: Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy. How much: general admission $50, members $40 What to eat / drink: 40 different wines each day plus gourmet dishes catered by Fabulous Foods
Roosevelt Row's First-Ever Chile Pepper Festival When: September 29, 4 to 11 pm Where: A.R.T.S. Project #1 (408 East Roosevelt Street) How much: $10 in advance; $15 at the door. Buy tickets here. What to eat: Featuring green chile dishes, chile roasting, a salsa showdown and beer and margaritas to wash it down.
Greek Festival of Chandler When: September 28-30 (Friday 5-10pm, Saturday 11-10pm, Sunday 11-5pm) Where: St. Katherine Greek Church, 2716 North Dobson Rd, Chandler How much: $3 What to eat / drink: saganaki, souvlaki, gyro, dolmathes and pastries including baklava sundaes
Arizona Honey Festival When: Sept 29-30 (11am-4pm) Where: The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa, 35361 N. Tom Darlington Dr., Carefree How much: free What to eat / drink: cookies, fry bread, cocktails and shrimp are just a few of the items prepared with honey that will be available during tastings and demonstrations at this event hosted by El Pedregal with guest chefs from throughout the southwest OCTOBER
Taste. Chandler's Culinary Festival When: October 6, 5-10pm Where: downtown Chandler How much: $35 general admission / $50 per couple, pre-sale ONLY What to eat / drink: guests will be able to vote for their favorite from participating restaurants including Shimagamo, Superstition Farms, The Keg, Vintage 95, El Palacio Restaurant & Cantina, Yoli's Café, SanTan Brewing Company, Dos Gringos, AJ's Café, Coach & Willie's, Irish Republic, Pittsburgh Willie's, Paletas Betty, The Hungry Monk, Pearl Sushi.
Dine Out with the Chefs When: October 7, 3-5pm Where: Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East 2nd Street, Scottsdale How much: $65 in advance, $70 at the door, $100 VIP What to eat/drink: creations by the baristas of Shine Coffee, drinks by mixologist Jason Asher, wines from Sam Pillsbury plus food and cooking demonstrations from 30 chefs
Greater Arizona Greek Festival When: October 12-14 (Friday 5-10pm, Saturday 11am-10pm, Sunday 11am-5pm) Where: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Community Center, 1973 E. Maryland Ave. How much: $3, children 12 and under are free What to eat / drink: gyros, kalamari, pastitsio (Greek "lasagna"), spanakopita (spinach pie), lamb roasted on a spit and handmade pastry including baklava, finikia, kourambiedes, koulourakia, kataifi, and melomakarouna to eat on site or take home.
Taste of Cave Creek When: Oct 16-17 (5-10pm) Where: Stagecoach Village, 7100 E. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek How much: $10 per person, per day. Food tastings, $1 - $4 each What to eat / drink: Sanderson Ford-Sanderson Lincoln Tim & Willy Cave Creek Chili Cook-Off with the International Chili Society
Arab American Festival When: October 20, 12-9pm Where: Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Road How much: Free from noon to 4 pm; after 4, adults $5; children under 12 and 60 inches free What to eat / drink: featuring authentic Lebanese cooking including fresh pita from Mijana
AZ Taco Festival When: Oct 20-21, (11am-7pm -- competition both days) Where: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 N. Pima Road Scottsdale How much: $12 admission / tastings $2 What to eat / drink: Participating bars/restaurants include Wildhorse Grille, the Four Seasons, Distrito, La Hacienda, El Hefe, Dos Gringos, Sandbar, Frank & Lupe's, Rubio's, Tonto Bar & Grill, Green New American Vegetarian, Chuck (Grayhawk's Food Truck) and Manuel's.
Taste of Greece Peoria Greek Festival When: October 26-28 (Friday 5-10pm, Saturday 11am-10 pm, Sunday 12-8pm) Where: St. Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church, 7950 W. Pinnacle Peak How much: $3 What to eat / drink: featuring fresh saganaki, moussaka, souvlaki, Greek pastries all prepared daily by church chefs and a Loukoumades eating contest
Pie Social When: November 3, 2 to 6 pm Where: 2nd Street and Roosevelt How much: Sponsored by Chow Bella and Roosevelt Row, this event offers two options: Bring two pies and get five tasting tickets, or pay $10 for five tasting tickets. What to eat: Pie baked by "celebrity" bakers competing for top honors, as well as pies baked by community members -- including you.
Peoria Beer Festival When: November 3, 6-10 pm Where: Peoria Sports Complex,16101 N. 83rd Avenue, Peoria How much: $55 each for VIP, $30 for general admission and $25 for designated drivers What to eat / drink: distributors include Crescent Crown, Young's Market and Diamondback Wine & Spirits and restaurants include Texas Roadhouse, Johnny Fox's Public House and AJ's Fine Foods.
La Gran Fiesta: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Culture When: Nov 6-7 (12-9pm) Where: Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East 2nd Street, Scottsdale How much: free What to eat / drink: Latin inspired food & drinks
ArmeniaFest When: Nov 10-11 (Saturday 11am-10pm, Sunday 11am-6pm) Where: Armenian Apostolic Church, 8849 E. Cholla St., Scottsdale How much: $1 What to eat / drink: Armenian versions of Mediterranean fare
Chiles and Chocolate When: Nov 9-12, 10am-5pm Where: Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy. How much: Included with paid admission to Desert Botanical Garden What to eat / drink: invited vendors include Anthony Spices, Absolutely Delightful Honey, Moms Gone Nuts
American Indian Heritage Festival When: Nov 17, 10am-3pm Where: Deer Valley Rock Art Center, 3711 W. Deer Valley Road How much: free What to eat / drink: modern Navajo cuisine from Chef Harrison Watchman
Discover India When: Nov. 18, 11am-6pm Where: Heritage Square, 115 N. Sixth St. How much: free admission What to eat / drink: dishes like tandoori chicken tikka, pakora and vegetarian samosas