They only happen once each year, but they are fun and they are free. These are my favorite free festivals/events in the metro Phoenix area. I have noted when they usually take place, and they are listed in order of when they typically occur, starting with January. Of course, you'll have to pay for food you might want or any shopping that you might do, but admission is free. Have you been to one or all of these?
Of the many Fiesta Bowl events that take place in the Valley of the Sun in the weeks preceding the Fiesta Bowl football game, the Fiesta Bowl Parade is one of the most popular. Thousands of people will line the streets of central Phoenix to enjoy the bands and floats. January.
Each year the Arizona Diamondbacks invite local Phoenix area fans to a fan appreciation day. There are ballpark tours, radio panel Q&A sessions, giveaways, clinics for the kids and more. Winter.
The outdoor amphitheater at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall comes alive with Native American music, dance and art. January through April.
The Glendale Chocolate Affaire features is a celebration of chocolate. Sure, there are lots of vendors trying to sell their products, but there are also samples, carriage rides, activities for the kids. Cerreta Candy Company gives free tours! February.
Local, regional and national entertainment in Historic Downtown Glendale. Spring.
The nation’s largest gathering of Hopi katsina doll carvers takes place at the Heard Museum, as more than 100 artists gather to show and sell their unique creations. Enjoy musical performances, book signings, carving demonstrations and drawings. Spring.
Several stages of live entertainment, including music, dance, and lectures of Hawaii and Polynesia. The Island Marketplace is for shopping and eating. Spring.
Evey year gets bigger than the last -- it's the only place where not only are you allowed to get dirty, but it is encouraged and expected! Most participants are ages 1 to 17, but there is an opportunity for adults to get muddy for a fee. Early summer.
Communities all over town have free 4th of July events, but the ones in Phoenix is considered the biggest and the best. July.
Many of our best museums open their doors to you and a guest on a designated special Saturday. September.
The Rainbows Festival & Street Fair in downtown Phoenix is a celebration of the diversity of the gay/lesbian community. It is one of the largest LGBT events in the state of Arizona. Fall.
The Avenue of the Fountains in Fountain Hills is closed to vehicular traffic and is transformed into the Fountain Festival of Arts and Crafts, one of the largest arts and crafts events in the Valley of the Sun. November.
Most of our communities in the Phoenix area will have some sort of activity to celebrate the holiday season. Some cities and towns have their events on a single day. Some have month-long celebrations of lights, music and festive decorations. Almost all of the community sponsored holiday tree lighting events are free. November/December.
There are plenty of free community events relating the Christmas, but one of my favorites, no matter what religion you practice, or if you don't, is the holiday lights and concerts at the Mesa Arizona Temple. No one will try to convert you, but the music will have religious messages. The lights are fantastic, and there are always indoor exhibits, like nativity scenes. December.