A Guide to Arizona Street Festivals for 2018

Arizona is a state with deep Mexican and Native American roots and a rich history of ranching and farming. It’s a state that continues to evolve with modern advances but prides itself on a strong community and diverse past. There are multiple festivals at any given time honoring cultures while giving back to the community, in neighborhoods offering a unique perspective on both. Dust off those boots and relive your wildest childhood dreams of being a cowboy, indulge in flavors of the southwest, or experience traditional music at one of the varieties of festivals Arizona has to offer.

Courtesy of Cinco Phoenix

May 6: Cinco De Mayo Downtown Phoenix Festival

A Cinco de Mayo tradition in Arizona for the past 25 years, this festival in Downtown Phoenix is a full day of music, dancing, and live entertainment. Grab award-winning tacos, enjoy some bbq, browse dozens of vendors, and enter for your chance to win prizes and giveaways while celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day. Ticket range from $10 to $60, not including fees.

Courtesy of Phoenix.org

May 26: 9th Annual Cave Creek Balloon Festival

Head over to Rancho Manana Golf Club in Cave Creek to enjoy the town’s annual balloon festival with live bands, a fireworks show, and — of course — massive glowing hot-air balloons. Tickets vary from $10 to $75 with veteran and active military discounts available.

Courtesy of Visit Phoenix

June 8: Downtown Mesa Second Friday Night Out

Every second friday, Historic Downtown Mesa brings thousands of people together to enjoy local creativity and culture. Featuring live bands, food trucks, costume contests, and a showcase of over 50 artists, this monthly block party is beloved by locals and visitors alike. The festival is dog-friendly, family-friendly, and has monthly themes. Admission is free.

July 4-8: Celebrate July 4th in Old West Style

Minutes from West Tucson is Old Tucson. This All-American event promises great food and fun for the whole family. Feast from one of several smoked barbecue joints, walk among old movie sets and take in a gun-slinging stunt show before the flag celebration. Tickets start at $18, and kids under 11 are free all weekend.

Photo Courtesy of Melrose3rdThursday

August 16: Moonlight on Melrose 

Third Thursdays along 7th Avenue in the neighborhood of Camelback East Village offer patrons a market experience that only Phoenix could provide. Local businesses provide deep sales to celebrate patrons while the street lights up with vendors, crafts, and live music. The price is right, too — free.

Photo Courtesy of Fine Artists Gallery

August 24-26: Hell City Tattoo Festival

This celebration of body art offers a behind the scenes look into the tattoo world for ink-lovers and a chance to admire the work of over 200 tattoo artists. Hell City is held at the Arizona Biltmore on East Missouri Avenue in The Biltmore neighborhood of Phoenix. Tickets start at $22.

Courtesy of Messy Fest

September 15: Messy Fest

Don’t be afraid to get dirty at Messy Fest in Queen Creek. This event has plenty of attractions for kids (and adults who want to act like kids), including a color run, foam zone, slime dunk, ice cream slide, food fight, and mud tug of war. Be sure to wear old clothes you don’t mind getting stained or damaged. Ticket prices vary, but kids two-years-old and under are free. 

Photo Courtesy of AXS

September 29: SanTan Oktoberfest

No festival season would be complete without polka music, German food, and the craft beer of an Oktoberfest. The one near San Marcos Country Club Estates in Chandler does not disappoint. The festival brings an eclectic crowd ready for fun. Tickets begin at $10.

Courtesy of Vintage and Vino Festival

October 12-13: Vintage and Vino Festival

At this semi-annual festival, shop over 100 handmade goods and vintage vendors at Horseshoe Park in Queen Creek. In addition to the “best shopping experience in the Southeast Valley,” enjoy the wine tasting, mimosa bar, kids craft zone, and a variety of food options. Admission is $5, but kids under 12 are free.

Photo Courtesy of GlendaleAZ.com

October 13: Front Porch Festival & Old Towne Marketplace

The historic downtown Glendale area nestled between Orchard and Catlin Court is a treasure trove of antique and specialty shops. More than 80 retailers provide demonstrations, special treats and freebies, and activities. Walk the old town while meeting local business owners and taste-testing free food.

Photo Courtesy of Taste of Gilbert

October 20: Taste of Gilbert Festival

Known as a local mecca of new eateries, Gilbert is all about food. This festival showcases the best of Gilbert’s restaurants as well as local vendors, live music, arts and crafts, and giveaways. The food fest is located at Freestone Park in the Stonecreek neighborhood.

Photo by Rebecca Nobles / All Souls Procession

November 2-4: All Souls Procession Weekend

Paint your face, wear a mask, dress up in costume — it’s all encouraged during this powerful parade in Tucson. The two-mile public ceremony honors those who have passed and offer wishes of hope for those who have lost a loved one. The Menlo Park event is free but donations are welcome.

Photo Courtesy of Fabulous Arizona

November 3: Bacon, Blues, and Brews Fest

The name says it all for this Queen Creek festival. You’ll find bacon-based dishes from innovative chefs, good blues music, craft beer, and even two special bacon-brewed beers to tie everything together. The fest happens at Founders Park near the neighborhood of Villages at Queen Creek.

Photo by Visitor7 / CC BY-SA

November 30 - December 2: Tempe Festival of the Arts

Tempe is a community that embraces the arts, and one way it supports local artists is through the time-honored Festival of the Arts. More than 350 visual artists and handmade crafts are featured. Live music, wine-tasting, and entertainment for the younger crowds makes this a popular event. Admission is free.

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