From Chocolate to BBQ, 17 Festivals to Hit in Metro Phoenix

The Festival: Glendale Chocolate Affaire

The Dates: February 3 - 5

The Theme: Chocolate, just in time for Valentine's Day!

What To Eat: Endless chocolate from more than 30 chocolatiers from across the country. There will be the usual suspects like chocolate dipped strawberries, chocolate ice cream, as well as treats from the likes of Le Napoleon Pastries (chocolates), Krispy Creations (cupcakes), and chocolate-dipped apples from San Francisco Chocolate Factory.

What Else You Need To Know: There will be savory food stations to power the chocoholics with substance, and the event s completed with chocolate pizza stations and with live performances by local acts and a six segment Romance Novelist Workshop. Steamy (just don't melt the chocolate).

The Festival: The Great Canadian Picnic

The Date: February 4

The Theme: Oh, Canada. This will the picnic's 60th anniversary.

What To Eat: Food will be provided by the Armadillo Grill, which serves up Tex-Mex (huh?). But since it's a picnic you're welcome to bring your own food as well. The site says nothing about pancakes or bacon...  

What Else You Need To Know: The event is free to the public  and will include music, auctions, and even a raffle.

The Festival: Arizona Best Fest

The Festival: The Arizona Renaissance Festival

The Festival: The 18th Annual Aloha Festival

The Festival: Scottsdale Culinary Festival

The Dates: April 17-22

The Theme: This is the biggie, folks. The festival is split up into 19 separate events - all Scottsdale, all the time.

What to Eat: It's a culinary festival - everything from a night filled with chocolate and wine pairings to burger battles, and a couple beer festivals that lead right into the "Best of the Fest."

What Else You Need To Know: Prices vary and can be high -- check the festival's web site for details. 

The Festival: Polish Festival 2012

The Dates: April 21 - 22

The Theme: The Polish invade Arizona for two days.

What to Eat: This Polish festival usually comes with all of the fixings - Polish dumplings with cheese and potatoes, golabki cabbage rolls, bigos hunt's stew, smoky kielbasa sausages, and makowiec poppy-seed cake for dessert. There will be plenty of grodziskie beer for the thirsty over 21.

What Else You Need To Know: The admission and the parking will both be free; ditto for the polka dancing.

The Festival: My Nana's Best Tasting Salsa Challenge

The Date: April 28

The Theme: Who knew? Salsa is America's most consumed condiment. This 28th annual salsa challenge will see amateurs and professionals go head-to-head with their salsa skills.

What to Eat: All of the chips and salsa you can consume. Hopefully water, too.

What Else You Need To Know: The event will be held in downtown Tempe. and a ticket will cost $10; free for kids under 12.

The Festival: Arizona Barbecue Festival

The Dates: May 19 - 20

The Theme: Barbecued everything.

What to Eat: We can only imagine that they'll cover everything imaginable in barbecue sauce and that we'll be swimming in it - ribs, steaks, sausages, beans, you name it.

What Else You Need To Know: General admission is $10, $100 for VIP access, and $10 for the "Whiskey Row" tent with six local bars crafting whiskey cocktails.

Know of a festival we missed? Tell us so in the comments section.

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