Though certainly not our busiest time of year, summer brings a certain feeling of celebration. You want to smell the chlorine, wear the shorts, rub in the sunscreen, and inhale the barbecue and light beer.
As the summer slowly creeps in, start planning for a few heated events during the triple-digit season. There’s everything from a day of adult summer camp to beer festivals and corn roasts, so gear it up, suck it up, and get out there.
Suds & SlidesJune 22
2100 West Rio Salado Parkway, Mesa
This is a 21-and-over event that happens to have giant inflatable waterslides, a giant pillow fight, life-sized foosball, and a live-action Hungry Hungry Hippos game. Did they supersize everything so you can feel small again? Who knows? But there will also be beer, cocktails and margaritas, tacos, burgers, and two eating contests — one for cotton candy and the other for watermelon. Suds & Slides 2019 is happening from 2 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, at Riverview Park in Mesa. Tickets are $15 online, and $20 at the gate, with a portion of the proceeds supporting the Foster Hope Foundation.
Queen Creek Olive Mill Corn RoastJune 22
Queen Creek Olive Mill
25062 South Meridian Road, Queen Creek
In case you’ve forgotten, we’ll give you a stern reminder: It’s sweet corn season. The good people at the Queen Creek Olive Mill will be grilling sweet corn from Rousseau Farms in Tolleson and basting it with its own olive oils. Find four kinds of grilled corn at the Grilled Corn Canopy, more grilled food at The Pit, or hit up the beer and wine tent. Blankets, chairs, and leashed pets are welcome. Queen Creek Olive Mill Corn Roast runs from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 22. There will also be live music, and entry is free.
Birds & BubblesJuly 6
300 West Camelback Road
If you’re not quite ready to let go of the early-July holiday break, head to Southern Rail on Saturday, July 6, for a celebration of National Fried Chicken Day. If you order the famed buttermilk-crusted fried chicken on the big day, you get a complimentary, and complementary, glass of bubbly. Southern Rail's fried chicken will be available for Birds & Bubbles from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. — closing time. An order of fried chicken, served with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and collard greens, is $24.
The Wurst Ever FestivalJuly 20
Short Leash Hot Dogs
4221 North Seventh Avenue
Short Leash Hot Dogs is hosting its fourth annual celebration dedicated to wieners, puns, and beer. At the Wurst Ever Festival 2019, you'll try exotically topped sausages and vote to crown one local food truck the "Wurst Wiener" of 2019. Short Leash will also be preparing the winning entry from its annual hot dog topping contest — also in its fourth year. For other entertainment, check out Literally the Worst Show Ever, a combination of performances from local and national standup comedians, improv, and audience participation games, or enter the Suns Out Puns Out Competition. Admission for the entire festival is $10 online or at the door, and tickets for hot dog samples are $3 each.
AZBrewCon 2019July 26
Renaissance Downtown Phoenix
100 North First Street
Attention those in the craft beer and brewing community — this is the conference for you. AZBrewCon 2019 is a craft beer trade show meets industry conference, meaning it’s your chance to learn and network if you’re in this world. Breakfast, lunch, and happy hour-style appetizers will be served. The Arizona Craft Brewers Foundation-hosted conference is 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 26. Tickets range from $100 to $170.
Real Wild & Woody Beer FestivalJuly 27
Phoenix Convention Center
100 North Third Street
The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild is celebrating 30 years of Arizona craft beer with the sixth annual Real Wild, & Woody 2019. The beer festival — held indoors at the Phoenix Convention Center so you can put the zinc down — offers beer from more than 75 craft brewers offering 350 craft beer flavors, at least. There will also be food, live music, and activities. The 21-and-over event starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 27. General admission is $60, which includes 20 beer samples and small bites, with VIP options ranging from $80 to $100.
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Arizona Good Food ExpoAugust 26
Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort
11111 North Seventh Street
Few local organizations are as trusted to know good food as Local First Arizona Foundation, which is why it’s hosting a showcase of wholesale products from local farms and food artisans. Formerly the Farmer + Chef Connection (renamed for its 10th anniversary), the Arizona Good Food Expo promises tips for sourcing local ingredients and products for restaurants, kitchens, groceries, and cafeterias, and more importantly, samples. The expo is 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, August 26. General admission is $25.
Beats and BrunchSeptember 7
Onyx Art Gallery
1346 West Roosevelt Street
Brunch has become a citywide event, and for some, this is fantastic news. The first annual Beats and Brunch offers massive amounts of brunch bites, and of course, mimosas galore. Beats and Brunch 2019 is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 7. General admission is $10, VIP is entry is $65, and for the brunch elite experience, that’ll be $130.
Editor's note: This article has been updated from its original version.