This year I'm honored and excited to be one of the social media influencers that will part of the Tempe Festival of the Arts. Join me fromFriday, December 1st through Sunday, December 3rd to kickstart the holiday with some shopping, street eats and lots of fun for the entire family.
WHAT IS THE TEMPE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS?
This year marks the 49th anniversary of one of the highlights of the holiday season: the award-winning Tempe Festival of the Arts! Year after year, this fabulous, family-friendly, and FREE art event draws hundreds of thousands of attendees from across the country. This year, it will run from Friday, December 1st through Sunday, December 3rd and will be open from 10:00 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. each day.
My friends and I have been going for four years and can personally attest to the unique Christmas shopping to be had. Last year, my best friend got married and bought her first house, she found a stunning piece of art at the Tempe Festival of the Arts for her new home. You can expect to see handmade art pieces, jewelry, and home décor by 350 peer-juried, handpicked artists from around the country. Support small business and find something for everyone on your shopping list at the same time! There will also be plenty of snacks, food trucks, local beer and wine gardens, plus live music and loads of entertainment.
FOOD, WINE, AND BEER
I'm a foodie, so I’ll be heading straight to the Cottage Edibles section (7th Street, west of Mill Avenue). They’ve got handmade, gourmet foods, seasonings, and remedies, plus festival favorite food you’d expect, like kettle corn, cotton candy, fudge, and roasted nuts. There will also be plenty of fair foods and street eats from awesome local vendors Blue Banjo BBQ, The Crepe Club, Hot Bamboo, Island Noodles, Hibachibot, The Maine Lobster Lady, Rockabelly, and Yellowman Fry Bread.
Arrange for a designated driver, car service or public transportation because you’ll want to enjoy the festival’s two beer and wine gardens: Arizona Wine Tasting, Pedal Haus, and Four Peaks Brewing Company. In these locations, you can sample and buy local wines from award-winning wineries like Burning Tree Cellars, Kief-Joshua Vineyards, and Pillsbury Wine Company & Vineyard. (You can get tickets for these online in advance to save time.)
You’ll also see tons of street and performers, face painters, henna artists, musicians, unicyclists, caricature artists and balloon twisters. Three festival stages will provide live entertainment by artists like Bossa Brazil, The Blaise Lantana Band, Walt Richardson, The Hourglass Cats, Desert Dixie, The Brothers Too and other local talents.
There really is something for everyone at this festival. The kids will love Kids Block, a hands-on exhibit featuring artwork from over 400 students throughout the valley, Chalk-a-Lot Street where kids and professionals use chalk to create murals on the ground, as well as things to make with Boots in the House, Build-A-Racecar Party, Creative Reuse Arizona, Girls Rock! (a musical petting zoo), Phoenix Youth Circus, Practical Art, and others.
HOW TO GET THERE
To get to Mill Avenue, where the Tempe Festival of the Arts takes place, The Metro Light Rail is probably your best bet, with 9 Valley Park and Ride locations, you can get on the light rail and ride directly to the entrance.
Other means of transportation include Uber, Lyft and cab services. If you are a Tempe resident take advantage of the free Orbit Bus option or visit the Tempe Transportation Center for additional mobility options.
There’s so much to see and do, it’s hard to squeeze it all into three days! So what are you looking forward to most: the food and drinks, the children’s events, the entertainment, or the art?