Tempe events this week, December 1-7

Festival of the Arts

This week Tempe’s calendar is crammed full of arts and culture with everything from music to theatre to visual arts events, including the Tempe Festival of the Arts.  Check out this  list and view a complete listing of Tempe events on the Tempe Tourism Office website, or call 480-894-8158 for more information.

Tempe events this week- Tempe Festival of the Arts

arts festival 1

Tempe’s arts and culture calendar is brimming with exciting events this week, including the fabulous Tempe Festival of the Arts.  Visit the Tempe Tourism Office Calendar of Events, or call 480-894-8158 to view a complete listing of Tempe events.



Tempe This Week – Arizona Dragon Boat Festival

It’s always great to be in Tempe, but this week it’s especially great because there are so many outstanding events going on.  In addition to great live music taking place throughout the week, we have two fantastic festivals to look forward to over the weekend and both are free! The big one that’s been around for 34 years is the Tempe Festival of the Arts.  It brings more than 400 artists as well as musicians, street performers and children’s activities to Mill Avenue and provides a great opportunity to purchase beautiful, original art.

Lesser-known, but also fantastic, is the Arizona Dragon Boat Festival that will take place on Tempe Town Lake. Now in its ninth year, this colorful event celebrates Asian culture with two days of dragon boat races, vendors, food booths and performances by martial artists, musicians and dancers. The beautifully decorated dragon boats are manned by teams of up to 20 paddlers. One team member pounds a drum to keep the paddlers’ oars in sync; the drum represents the heart of the dragon. Close to 60 teams will participate, including our own ASU team.

These are just two of many events taking place this week. View a complete listing of Tempe events, or call 480-894-8158 for more information.


From Ignorance to Mill Ave

mill ave night

If there is one thing I have found to be true about Valley of the Sun, it is that the influx of people from around the country never seems to stop. Day in and day out I notice that those I come across spanning from the east to west coast are still clinging to their individual identities. They move to Arizona, but are still from Chicago (or insert whichever big city you please), drive like they are in Chicago, support Chicago teams, and wouldn’t dare learn about Arizona. Little did I realize, since becoming the newest addition to the Downtown Tempe Community, that I too had been shafting my responsibility as an Arizona resident to become involved in what’s going on. It wasn’t until I began working here and strolling Mill Avenue at lunch time with my coworkers that I realized how much I was actually missing out on. Here in lies one of our biggest conundrums facing the Mill Avenue District, as well as our whole valley, where culture is growing, vast, and punctuated by individual personalities of arts, events, and unique stores and restaurants. The comfort zone of those who migrate here, myself included, has yet to grow more than just a few miles outside the home. To address this, the Downtown Tempe Community has taken on the role of bringing the community together by fostering a vibrant place to live, work, and play. In recent years, the Mill Avenue District has become a lot more than just a college hang out. It brings a multi-faceted definition to the word “place.” Downtown Tempe is a fun place to check out the stores and restaurants exclusive to the area, a creative workplace filled with emerging ideas and a place to find all kinds of entertainment. All of these definitions add to the reemerging community feel in the Mill Avenue District.

Recently, I attended my first Tempe Festival of the Arts. The event itself spanned three days, Friday to Sunday, and encompassed a crop of hundreds of juried artists, ranging in craft from beautifully sculpted artwork and paintings. The vibe, even though it was freezing and raining for one entire day was smiles and happiness, people greeting each other, dogs playing. Throughout the crowded day, I gave up counting the strollers and leashes; I should clarify the leashes were on pets, not children. For someone who had never been to the festival before, it seemed unusual for strangers to be so friendly and helpful to each other all day long. I felt as if I was waiting for a director to yell “Cut,” and everyone to scatter from a movie scene. It was only then that I realized it is events like these that are bringing the community even closer together every year.

The Downtown Tempe Community continues their efforts of gathering the community with the monthly Third Thursdays. The next Third Thursday event on January 19th will feature a free concert featuring Rose’s Pawn Shop and Ragamuffin Stampede, Music on Mill performers along the streets, and a social networking scavenger hunt. I googled the bands performing to see what I was in for- Rose’s Pawn Shop has an old school country edge that will keep the crowd dancing all night. Ragamuffin Stampede, who is the opening act, brings a more reminiscent feel of twang-y upbeat sixties country as well. The social networking scavenger hunt via our Facebook page keeps residents awaiting the next clue to snap a picture next to the winning landmark and win gift certificates and a chance at $250 in more free stuff. Free entertainment in an open space, activities encouraging us to explore our downtown, this is how locals should be connecting with our community.

Now, I will no longer be shafting my responsibility to my city. This time, thanks to my exposure to the area, I can tell my friends and family a great place to eat before or after the show, a hidden gem of a shopping area, and where you can just sit around and meet new people. When I walk along the streets of Mill Avenue I have found a strange sense of pride tingling in my fingers- I’m proud of my new knowledge of Downtown Tempe. I suppose that is what the feeling of community does to you when you decide to embrace it. When you finally acknowledge it, you find yourself in a home away from home; so I guess I should say welcome to my home.

By: Morgan Egger
Mill Avenue District

It’s that time of year again – Tempe Fall Festival of The Arts – December 2 thru 4, 2011


Tempe Festival of The Arts


The Tempe Festival of the Arts consistently ranks among the Top 20 art festivals in the nation by Sunshine Artist and has received the Pinnacle Award from the International Festival and Events Association. The spring and fall events each attract nearly 250,000 visitors to the Mill Avenue District  over the course of a 3-day weekend.

Quality artists are fundamental to the success of the event. Each year, the Festival receives more than 1,000 applications from artists across the country. From these applicants, a jury comprised of members of the local art community selects the top artisans in each category to participate in the Festival. During the Festival, a new jury then selects the best overall artist and the top artist in each category.

Participants are separated into 18 different artistic categories for judging, ranging from  woodwork to photography to ceramics and even wearable art. More than 400 artist booths line Mill Avenue and the surrounding streets presenting unique, and hand-made artwork that offers visitors a distinctive shopping experience.

While the Tempe Festival of the Arts primarily focuses on art and the artists that create it, there are also a wide variety of other activities for guests to enjoy. Live entertainment stages provide musical entertainment for festival-goers. Performances by a number of well-known local musicians keep audiences in high spirits throughout the day. Past performers have included the Gin Blossoms, Walt Richardson, Margo Reed, and Hello Swindon. In addition to the scheduled entertainment, street performers, vendors, sponsor exhibits and entertainment booths are set up for the amusement of Festival visitors. In addition to arts and entertainment, the Tempe Festival of the Arts offers support to the Tempe community. A portion of the proceeds raised at the Festival benefits local charities.

Fall 2010 Awards

Spring 2010 Awards