Spring in Scottsdale in my favorite time of year. Can you argue? The weather is amazing, and there is so much to do. March begins what I like to call “festival season” — with a fantastic festival focused on food, wine, beer, art, food, fashion, food, music, food… okay, sensing a pattern here? Though Scottsdale certainly is no stranger to a fantastic food festival, each offers its own focus — and a whole lot more than just food! So get out and see what this festival season has to offer during March and April.
Scottsdale Arts Festival
March 13 – 15
Celebrating its 50th year, The Scottsdale Art Festival is a three-day celebration of art, music, food and fun for the whole family. Held at Scottsdale Civic Center Park (3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd. in Scottsdale) Friday, March 13 through Sunday, March 15, the line-up includes kid-friendly activities such as bandana screen printing, self-guided activities including the Camp DreamTree House, a Scavenger Trail as well as the 50th Anniversary Artists Exhibition, yoga, live music at two stages, games garden (for the “big kids” at heart!), silent disco party and more! Another awesome perk: Families attending can take advantage of a free service that allows parents to drop off potty-trained children ages 3+ for one-hour timeslots through Trusting Connections Nanny Agency.
Super Spring Festival
This one is all about families! Only in its second year, the Super Spring Festival is in its infancy compared to some of our city’s longstanding events, but the fact that it’s geared towards kids and is held at the Arizona Boardwalk of the OdySea in the Desert Entertainment District with so many other family friendly attractions surrounding, are sure to make this event a mainstay in Scottsdale. Held on Saturday, March 21 from noon to 4:00 p.m. and features a host of “real life” superheroes including fan favorites like Batman, Captain American and more. Kids can get their groove on to music, dance and play interactive games at the center stage and enjoy other fun activities like bounce houses, inflatable slides, face painting, coloring contest, prize giveaways and more. The best part? Entry is free!
LPGA Founders Food Fest
March 21 – 22
The LPGA Founders Cup is launching their first ever food festival during the 10th anniversary of this legendary tournament. As usual, the tournament event will be held at the Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, at 5350 E. Marriott Drive. The inaugural Founders Food Fest will feature exclusive bites and drinks from 12 different food trucks on Saturday and Sunday of tournament week. With the purchase of this special event ticket, guests will receive a food “passport” that can be stamped after picking up a dish sample from each stop on the mini tour. Once the passport is completed, guests can redeem additional drink vouchers to be picked up at the 1950’s Club, an exclusive tented area located on the west side of the 9th green. Food vendors include Short Leash Hot Dogs, Wok This Way, 2 Fat Guys Grilled Cheese, Awesomesauce Bowls Mobile Food, The American Poutine Co., Ice Cream Sociables, The Beignet and Coffee Shack, Flyin K BBQ, Chef Wade’s Bistro on Wheels, Que Sazon, Paletas Betty, and Fantasy Funnel Cake. “The Founders Cup prides itself on being the ultimate family golf experience in the Valley, and that now includes this fun and tasty event for golf enthusiasts and foodies alike,” said Scott Wood, tournament director.
Scottsdale Fashion Week
March 26 – 29
Presented by Purely Sedona, Scottsdale Fashion Week (SFW)’s annual four-day fashion event takes place Thursday, March 26 through Sunday, March 29. Scottsdale’s glamorous fashion series is comprised of luxurious runway shows featuring high-end, nationally and internationally renowned designer brands showcasing their newest collections. Past designers include Michael Costello, alice + olivia by Stacey Bendet, Michael Kors, Nicole Miller, Tory Burch, Laurel Dewitt, Trina Turk, Ted Baker, Zandra Rhodes and Betsey Johnson, just to name a few. Scottsdale Fashion Week is the state’s most high-end series of fashion shows. It is a star-studded annual event with a calendar of activities that attracts thousands. The week of events brings together designers, buyers, media, stylists, celebrities, VIPs and special guests.
Phoenix Film Festival
March 26 – April 5
The Phoenix Film Festival, named one of top 25 coolest film festivals in the world, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year! Continually breaking attendance records since its inception, the 2019 festival saw more than 28,000 attendees and there are hopes to pull in even more film enthusiasts this year. The 11-day festival will be held once again at Harkins Scottsdale 101 Theaters located at 7000 E. Mayo Blvd. in Phoenix. The Phoenix Film Festival is a program under the 501(c)3 non-profit organization Phoenix Film Foundation whose primary functions are to promote the exhibition of independent films and conduct educational programs that teach the art of filmmaking. If you are a movie lover, this is an event that is not to be missed.
A festival centered around tacos? Yep, you bet that Taco Fest at Salt River Fields is another on my don’t-miss list. Held at the Main Stadium, Saturday, April 4 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Taco Fest features tequila sampling, traditional taco and tamales (plus lots of other creative taco concoctions) for $3 each, margarita and beer stations, and as well as extravagant activities like Lucha Libre wrestling, a Tiny Taco dog beauty contest, hot chili pepper eating contest, live music and other entertainment including Day of the Dead cirque performers, a freak shore and more.
Uncorked: Arizona Wine Festival
Another event at Salt River Fields, yet perhaps one designed to be more about sophisticated sipping, the 3rd Annual Uncorked: Arizona Wine Festival takes place Saturday, April 18 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Vino lovers can enjoy sampling from a selection of more than 100 wines representing regions from around the world, as well as gourmet food trucks, live music, a bubbly bar (sign me up!) and more. VIP ticket includes early entry, an extra hour of preview tasting time and some special pours from selection wineries. General admission entry begins at 7:00 p.m. This event benefits Cortney’s Place, which offers day programs for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These programs include art classes, pet therapy, music therapy, technology classes and more.
Scottsdale Culinary Fest
Scottsdale Culinary Festival has been one of my favorite spring festivals for years. This long-running event descends upon Scottsdale Civic Mall for just one day this year, also on Saturday, April 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Festival, supported by more than 100 outstanding restaurants, resorts and caterers, is recognized as one of the finest and most unique events in the country. As in the past, the event promises to showcase the state’s best restaurants and demonstrations by top chefs, however there are set to be new announcements coming with details about new and exciting happenings at this year’s Culinary Festival, so stay tuned!
Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market
April 24 – 26
“Party like a junker” April 24 through 26. Held at WestWorld, this market features more than 140 vintage and handmade vendors (both local and national as well) so there is something for everyone. Think artisan crafts, wooden signs, jewelry, clothing, and more. The event includes a special preview shopping experience Friday night and early bird opening on Saturday, and this year the Market is partnering with Maggie’s Place so those that bring in a package of disinfectant wipes, diapers/wipes or feminine care products receives $1 off tickets purchased at the gate.
The Original Taste
One of Scottsdale’s swankiest outdoor foodie-focused festivals, The Original Taste, hosted by the Executive Council 70 and benefitting the Executive Council Charities which raises funds for valley youth, returns to the Scottsdale Waterfront on Saturday, April 25. The EC70 has been presenting this fantastic event for more than 35 years. Another one of my must-dos, The Original Taste features tasting opportunities from some of the valley’s best restaurants as well as wine, cocktail, spirit and beer samples. Top notch entertainment and VIP opportunities (including VIP late night and late late night after party at the W) make this one of my favorite nights out every spring! Proceeds from Original Taste benefit Executive Council Charities to fund critical youth programs at organizations like Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, Ryan House, Foundation for Blind Children, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Sojourner Center, New Pathways for Youth, UMOM New Day Centers and many more. This is a 21 and over event.
Regardless of what you are seeking in terms of fun, food and beverage, you’re sure to find it at a festival in Scottsdale this spring! And aside from festivals, there is always so much to do in sunny Scottsdale this time of year. From catching a spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium to checking out the Instagrammable Candytopia experience at Scottsdale Quarter, exploring the city in which we live is so much fun this time of year!