White Mountains' weekends packed with fun - East Valley Tribune: Arizona Getaway

White Mountains' weekends packed with fun

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Posted: Friday, May 29, 2009 2:36 pm | Updated: 1:56 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

The White Mountains area and its vibrant communities are not only known for their wonderful seasonal weather and outdoor attractions, they also know how to have a good time. The Mountain - the locals' endearing term - has a strong tradition of hosting festivals of all kinds that celebrate the Native American arts, bluegrass and everything in between.

During the cool summer months, when the rest of the Southwest is battling severe heat, the region attracts visitors to community events virtually each weekend. Most of them are locally produced and include arts and crafts shows, car shows, rodeos, parades and more, as well as local musical entertainment.

The weekends during June, July and August are filled with one show or festival after the other. One popular event that starts off the summer is the three-day Show Low Days Still Cruizin' Car Show, featuring the Friday Night Burger Burn, Ice Cream Social, live music all weekend long and, of course, the Still Cruizin' Car Show.

Summer Concerts in the Park take advantage of the gorgeous evenings, also in Show Low, with shows scheduled throughout the summer, including the White Mountain Showcase and the Knocking the Blues Out of Hunger show, a blues concert and canned food drive.

Art, wine and music in the cool pines ... what could be better? The recreational community Torreon hosts the White Mountain community to a series of outdoor art, wine and music festivals at the Juniper Park complex in Show Low. The Jewell's Fine Art Festival features 40-plus juried artists from across the state, musical entertainment and a wine-tasting opportunity benefiting Summit Healthcare pediatrics department and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

There's no better place in the state of Arizona than the White Mountains to celebrate our country's freedom. Who says you have to sweat to watch fireworks? Independence Day celebrations start a week early with parades, ice cream socials, concerts and fireworks all across the region.

One of the most popular festivals in this part of the state is the annual White Mountain Native American Art Festival. Now in its 22nd year, this festival celebrates the history and culture of the indigenous people of the region. With more than 80 of the Southwest's finest Native American juried artists, demonstrations, performances and Native American foods, this event is perfect for the whole family.

The 19th annual White Mountain Bluegrass Musical Festival is the place to be for bluegrass musicians and enthusiasts alike. This two-day event attracts visitors from far and wide for a terrific lineup of great bluegrass music. Held at the Hon-Dah festival grounds, camping facilities, a kids' zone and refreshments make this festival fun for everyone.

In conjunction with these annual festivals, each of the communities - Springerville, Eagar, St. Johns, White Mountain Apache Reservation, Show Low, Pinetop-Lakeside, Snowflake and Taylor - has active arts organizations that provide a number of arts activities for visitors and residents alike. Endorsed and sponsored by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, many professional performing artists are featured at summer events.

The White Mountains have attracted many artists who have made this creative and relaxing environment their home. The local galleries and annual festivals are testament to the area's creative and innovative residents. In support of this passion, the Arts Alliance of the White Mountains, established in 1999, promotes visual, performing and media arts, including a film society, art scholarships and events.

Other arts organizations do their part to promote the arts in this beautiful area of Arizona. The Silver Creek Performing Arts Association sponsors local choirs and world-acclaimed concert musicians and performers. The White Mountains Symphony Orchestra, whose repertoire includes full orchestral works, chamber music, concertos and collaborative performances with choirs and dance troupes, aspires to offer new opportunities and experiences each season.

Whether you're in the mood for music, art, dance or other forms of entertainment, the White Mountains offers a plethora of options to enjoy cool summer days. And it's only a short drive away.

For a list of festivals and other events on The Mountain, visit www.azwhitemountains.net. Find out about events in a specific town by clicking on the visitor information links at the bottom of the White Mountains home page.

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