Christmas is long over, and you've blown your New Year's resolutions -- so, what the heck? It's time to party. We're here to help with Chow Bella's spring 2014 guide to food and drink festivals in metro Phoenix. It's a busy year. Get your calendars out.
See also: 10 Best Culinary Events in Metro Phoenix
January 25 and 26: Street Eats Food Truck Festival Where: Salt River Fields Cost: $12 per person admission (free for kids 12 and under); VIP tickets cost $50. What to eat: Samples from dozens of food trucks, including Jamburritos and Mamma Toledo's. Also beer, cocktails, and cooking demos.
January 31: Haute Chocolate Market & Festival Where: Heard Museum Cost: $40 for single, $70 for two before January 30, and $45 at the door What to eat: Of course, sample all the chocolate you can. All menu items are prepped with chocolate, including the blue corn tostada salad with cocoa and chili shrimp. Top the night off with a chocolate cocktail.
February 1: 6 Alarm Firehouse Cook-off Showdown Where: Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Cost: $45 and tickets include food and drinks What to eat/drink: Heat your taste buds on the battle dishes of six firehouses and six Valley restaurants, then enjoy some cocktails at the bar during a mixology competition.
February 7 through 9: Glendale Chocolate Affaire Where: Murphy Park Cost: Free What to eat: You can ease into the chocolate extravaganza with chocolate-covered nuts or chocolate-covered strawberries or devour chocolate-covered cheesecake or fried Twinkies or Snickers dipped in chocolate. Cerreta's, the event sponsor, also will offer guests tours of its factory so all can see how its chocolate is created.
February 8 through March 30: Arizona Renaissance Festival Where: Renaissance Festival Fairgrounds Cost: $22 for adults, $12 for children and ticket deals online or at Fry's Food What to eat: Upgrade your tickets to $69.95 and indulge in the Pleasure Feast. The price includes admission, a five-course feast including prime rib or chicken, over an hour of entertainment, beverages, and a special-edition feast goblet.
February 9: Taste in Tempe Where: Tempe Center for the Arts Cost: $59 for general, $49 for Tempe residents What to eat/drink: Educate yourself on wine, learn something new during cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs, and taste what participating chefs have to offer.
February 14 through 16: Waterfront Fine Art & Wine Festival Where: Downtown Scottsdale Cost: $3 for general admission and $10 for wine tasting and a souvenir glass What to eat/drink: Indulge in wines and chocolates while strolling through the Scottsdale Waterfront.
February 14 through 21: Arizona Cocktail Week Where: Varies depending on event. Cost: Varies depending on event. What to drink: In its third year, Arizona Cocktail Week is the prime time to see and taste what local mixologists are shaking up. Guests can learn how to mix at home and attend competitions. Purchase a wristband to get specials on drinks at bars, lounges and restaurants the whole week.
February 15: Strong Beer Festival Where: Steele Indian School Park Cost: $50 for general admission, $10 for designated drivers What to drink: Get some strong beer and craft beer into your system from more than 75 breweries to gear up for Arizona Beer Week.
February 15 through 22: Arizona Beer Week Where: Check website for event locations Cost: $40 presale, $50 at the door, $70 VIP and $10 for designated driver What to drink: Drink all the craft beer you can from local and state breweries during the week and even indulge in craft beer ice cream.
February 22 and 23: Arizona Matsuri Festival Where: Heritage and Science Park Cost: Free What to eat: Celebrate Japanese culture with art, food, and drink. Various vendors will provide a taste of Japan while an Asahi Beer Garden will serve beer and three different sakes.
February 23: Flavors of the West Where: Downtown Litchfield Park Cost: $45 general admission, $100 VIP and $20 kids 12 and under What to eat: With unlimited food sampling included in the admission price, this event is the perfect opportunity to try all that West Valley chefs have to offer. Feel good about pigging out, knowing that the Phoenix Children's Hospital in Avondale and The Honey Foundation will benefit from the event.
March 1: The Great Arizona Beer Festival Where: Tempe Beach Park Cost: $50 general admission, $90 VIP What to drink: If Arizona Beer Week wasn't enough for you, gulp down more than 200 different brews from local, state, and national breweries. All proceeds will benefit Sun Sounds of Arizona.
March 1 and 2: Devoured Phoenix Culinary Classic Where: Phoenix Art Museum Cost: $70-$150 What to eat: Try the best of what the Valley has to offer at Devoured, now in its fifth year. Go online and plan your menu before you go to the event. (Note: Last we checked, everything but VIP tickets were sold out.)
March 8 through 9: Arizona Aloha Festival Where: Tempe Beach Park Cost: Free What to eat: Join the 20th Aloha Festival and take advantage of the Hawaiian plate lunch, Portuguese sausage, Guamanian chicken, and other South Pacific and Hawaiian favorites. Enjoy live dancing from the different island cultures.
March 8 and April 5: The Good Life Festival Where: Encanterra Country Club Cost: $40-$70 for reserved tickets and $30 for general admission What to eat: Guests can experience the "good life" in Arizona's San Tan Valley with gourmet catered food, wine and beer tastings from various vineyards and microbreweries. Live entertainment will be provided by Huey Lewis and The News in March, and The Doobie Brothers in April.
March 22: The Great American Barbecue and Beer Festival Where: Dr. A.J. Chandler Park Cost: $10 general admission, $8 if purchased at any Valley Basha's location, and $125 VIP presale What to eat: Get your hands dirty with more than 25 barbecue restaurants and pit masters cooking.
March 30: Eight's Check, Please! Arizona Festival Where: CityScape Cost: Tickets are $59 (early bird), $69 (in March) and $79 (day of the event). What to Eat: Samples from restaurants including Cowboy Ciao, Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe, and Flancer's.
April 3: Arizona Wine and Dine Where: Scottsdale Quarter Cost: $55-$75 depending on time of purchase What to eat/drink: During this 21-and-over event, be mesmerized as top chefs from Arizona resorts and restaurants cook in front of your eyes, and toast to the wineries and microbreweries who will be serving up some of the best wine and beer.
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April 8 through 13: Scottsdale Culinary Festival Where: Varies on event Cost: Varies on event What to eat/drink: The only thing that can beat a burger is a burger served up by the top chefs in the Valley. Attend the Burger Battle to see whose burger will be dubbed the 2014 Best Burger in the Valley. This weeklong extravaganza lets you drink with the pretty people, eat with the chefs, and picnic with a large portion of the Valley.
May 22: Flavors Where: The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa Cost: $750-$11,000 What to eat: Before the meal, watch local chefs create a culinary masterpiece right in front of you. The event is put on by the American Liver Foundation.