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East Valley events: Things to do all year long

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Posted: Sunday, October 30, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 1:40 am, Mon Nov 21, 2011.

You know what they say about Arizona’s weather: It’s paradise, except for the three months when we languish mercilessly in the triple digits. Options for getting out and about do dwindle in the summertime, but we more than make up for it the rest of the year — when we pick peaches, race ostriches, dance at outdoor concerts, browse arts festivals, run foot races and navigate corn mazes.

Look to this list to keep you exploring the East Valley all year long. Just be sure to call the phone numbers given or Google the events for updates. For extra measure, contact your city’s chamber of commerce or visitor’s bureau; they’ll have info on smaller affairs, from weekly farmers markets to monthly movies under the stars.

November

32nd annual El Dia de los Muertos: A Celebration of Life Festival, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 5, Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, 3 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler. Music, dance, folk arts and crafts, storytelling, candlelight procession and community altar. (480) 833-5875.

Powerline Mountain Bike Race, 8 a.m. Nov. 5, Prospector Park, 3015 N. Idaho Road, Apache Junction. Flat, 14-mile course open to cyclists 14 and older with helmets. (480) 983-2181.

27th annual Gilbert Days, Nov. 10-20, locations throughout Gilbert. Parade, carnival, rodeo, 5K and 1-mile run, other events. (480) 503-6200.

East Valley Veterans Day Parade, 11 a.m. Nov. 11, downtown Mesa. www.mesaveterans.org

Mesa Old West Days, Nov. 11-12, downtown Mesa. Outdoor costumed celebration of Arizona’s frontier era. (480) 307-5649.

Arizona Festival of Horses, Nov. 11-12, Horseshoe Park & Equestrian Centre, 20464 E. Riggs Road, Queen Creek. Breed showcase, performances, draft horse and mule show, equine youth fair and more. (602) 354-4675.

Festival of the Superstitions, Nov. 11-13, Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce, 567 W. Apache Trail. Carnival, live entertainment, and more. (480) 982-3141.

Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-Off, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 12, Tumbleweed Ranch at Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road. (480) 782-2669.

Rock the Block Downtown Chandler Block Party, noon to 8 p.m. Nov. 19, along Arizona Avenue between Frye Road and Chandler Boulevard. Live entertainment, ice-skating rink, kids zone, vendors and more. (480) 855–3539.

Woofstock: The Great Chandler Dog Walk, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 19, Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road. (480) 782-2735.

The American Heritage Festival, Nov. 19-20, Schnepf Farms, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek. Educational living history event encompassing Colonial era onward. (480) 987-3100.

Little Buck-a-roos Rodeo, 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 19, Prospector Park, 3015 N. Idaho Road, Apache Junction. Rodeo-style games and contests for children. (480) 983-2181.

Ford Ironman Arizona Triathlon, Nov. 20, Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway. (888) 280-9097.

Mesa Mi Amigo’s Turkey Trot, Nov. 24, Red Mountain Park, 7745 E. Brown Road. Fitness run/walk. (602) 234-3460.

The Birth of Christ in Light and Music, dates TBA, Mesa Arizona Temple, 525 E. Main St., Mesa. Holiday lights display and music at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints temple. (480) 964-7164.

Tempe Fantasy of Lights Parade, 6 p.m. Nov. 26, Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe. (480) 355-6060.

December

43nd annual Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts, Dec. 2-4, on Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe. Outdoor art and entertainment fair. (480) 355-6069.

Apache Junction Holiday Program & Light Parade, Dec. 3, Old Basha’s Plaza, Apache Trail and Phelps Drive. (480) 983-2181.

Queen Creek Holiday Festival and Parade, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 3, north on Old Ellsworth Road from Founders Park to Queen Creek Library, 21802 S. Ellsworth Road. (480) 231-8959.

Chandler’s Tumbleweed Tree Lighting Ceremony & Parade of Lights, 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 3, Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, 3 S. Arizona Ave. (480) 782-2735.

Gilbert’s Holiday Nights of Lights, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 9, Gilbert Civic Center North Campus, 50 E. Civic Center Drive. (480) 503-6200.

Tempe Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade, 6 p.m. Dec. 10, Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway. (480) 355-6060.

12K’s of Christmas, 10 a.m. Dec. 10, Freestone Park, 1045 E. Juniper Road. Fitness walks/runs with carolers at each kilometer, a pet village and a Christmas bazaar. (480) 609-3978.

Mesa Arts Festival, Dec. 10-11, Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St. Artist booths, live entertainment, kids’ activities and food vendors. (480) 644-6500.

23rd annual Insight Bowl, 8 p.m. Dec. 30, Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. American college football game. (480) 350-0911.

Fiesta Bowl Block Party, 5 p.m. Dec. 31, Mill Avenue District in downtown Tempe. The Valley’s largest New Year’s Eve party. (480) 350-0911.

January

Chandler Multicultural Festival, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 14, Downtown Chandler Library Plaza, 22 S. Delaware St. (480) 782-2735.

P.F. Chang’s Rock ’n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & Half Marathon, Jan. 15, routed through Phoenix and Scottsdale with a Finish Line Festival at Sun Devil Stadium, 219 Packard Drive, Tempe. (800) 311-1255.

London’s Run, 7 a.m. Jan. 28. Schnepf Farms, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek. Half Marathon, 10k and 2-mile run/walk in memory of local girl. (480) 987-3100. 

February

Arizona Renaissance Festival, Feb. 11-April 1, 12601 E. U.S. Highway 60, Apache Junction. Medieval village teeming with costumed characters, live shows, rides, shops and attractions. (520) 463-2600.

Passport to Discovery, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 11, Desert Mountain Park, 22201 S. Hawes Road, Queen Creek. Family festival focusing on art, culture and science. (480) 358-3700.

Classic Car & Hot Rod Show, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 25, Historic Downtown Chandler. (480) 782-2735.

Lost Dutchman Marathon, Feb. 19, Prospector Park, 3015 N. Idaho Road, Apache Junction, with parking/shuttles at Apache Junction Rodeo Park, 1590 E. Lost Dutchman Blvd. (480) 983-1500.

Lost Dutchman Days, Feb. 24-26, Apache Junction Rodeo Park, 1590 E. Lost Dutchman Blvd. Events celebrating town’s Western heritage. (480) 982-3141.

Peach Blossom Festival, dates TBA, Schnepf Farms, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek. (480) 987-3100.

March

Arizona Aloha Festival, March 10-11, Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway. Celebration of Polynesian cultures. (602) 697-1824.

Chandler Ostrich Festival, March 10-11, Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road. Celebrate the birds’ role in city history with ostrich races, carnival rides and more. (480) 782-2735.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, 8 a.m. March 17 to 2:30 a.m. March 18, Murphy’s Law, 58 S. San Marcos Place, Chandler. (480) 812-1588.

Great American Barbecue & Beer Fest, March 24, downtown Chandler. (480) 855-3539.

Feathered Friends Festival, date TBA, Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, 2757 E. Guadalupe Road, Gilbert. Live animal displays, booths and activities relating to ecology, wildlife and the environment. (480) 503-6234.

Jesus the Christ Easter Pageant, March 28-April 7, Mesa Arizona Temple, 525 E. Main St., Mesa. Lavishly staged outdoor theater production for all religions, cultures and ages by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (480) 654-1077.

Roots & Boots Queen Creek, March 30-April 1, Horseshoe Park & Equestrian Centre, 20464 E. Riggs Road, Queen Creek. PRCA and family rodeos, carnival, dance. (602) 448-6094.

35th annual Tempe Spring Festival of the Arts, March 30-April 1, on Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe. Massive outdoor art and entertainment fair. (602) 997-2581.

Chandler Jazz Festival, March 30-31, downtown Chandler. (480) 782-2735.

April

Corvettes in the Park, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 7, Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, 3 S. Arizona Ave. (480) 855-3539.

Country Thunder Music Festival, April 12-15, 20585 E. Price (Station) Road, Florence. (866) 802-6418.

Gilbert Global Village Festival, date TBA, Gilbert Civic Center North Campus, 50 E. Civic Center Drive. Interactive celebration of world’s cultures. (480) 503-6224.

Chandler’s Family Easter Celebration, date TBA, Snedigar Sportsplex, 4500 S. Alma School Road. Egg hunt and activities for families. (480) 782-2735.

Easter Egg-citement, dates TBA, Schnepf Farms, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek. Egg hunt and farm activities. (480) 987-3100.

El Tour de Phoenix, April 14, traditionally at Red Mountain Park, 7745 E. Brown Road, Mesa, but may move to downtown Mesa in 2012. Competitive and just-for-fun 4-, 26-, and 72-mile bicycle rides. (520) 745-2033.

Arizona Tattoo Expo, April 20-22, Mesa Convention Center, 201 N. Center St. (480) 644-2178.

Pat’s Run, April 21, Sun Devil Stadium, 219 Packard Drive, Tempe. Fitness race honoring late Army Ranger, Arizona Cardinal and Arizona State University football player Pat Tillman. (480) 621-4074.

My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Challenge, April 28, Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway. Giant salsa-tasting party and competition with live entertainment. (602) 955-3947.

May

Chandler Cinco de Mayo Festival & Chihuahua Races, May 5, Downtown Chandler Library Plaza, 22 S. Delaware St. (480) 782-2735.

Peach Festival, dates TBA, Schnepf Farms, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek. Peach picking, cooking demos, rides, farm activities. (480) 987-3100.

June

Chandler Summer Splash Festival, date TBA, Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, 3 S. Arizona Ave. Water attractions and activities for families. (480) 855–3539.

The Southwest Ambulance Arizona Celebration of Freedom, June 29-30, downtown Mesa. (480) 644-2069.

July

Apache Junction Fourth of July Celebration, July 4, Apache Junction High School football stadium, 2525 S. Ironwood Drive. (480) 983-2181.

Chandler’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular, July 4, Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road. (480) 782-2735.

Fire in the Sky Fourth of July Fireworks, July 4, Central Christian Church, 965 E. Germann Road, Gilbert. (480) 924-4946 or (480) 305-7500.

Queen Creek Fourth of July Celebration, July 4, Schnepf Farms, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek. (480) 987-3100.

CBS 5 July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festival, July 4, Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway. (480) 350-5189.

September

The 9/11 Memorial Healing Field, dates TBA, Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway. Victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks are honored with nearly 3,000 American flags, a sunrise ceremony and candlelight vigil. (480) 350-5200.

Chandler’s Hispanic Heritage Month and 13th annual Chandler C3HR Mariachi Festival, dates and locations TBA. (480) 782-2735.

Chandler Oktoberfest, dates TBA, downtown Chandler. (480) 855-3539.

October

Schnepf Farms’ Pumpkin & Chili Party, Thursdays through Sundays in October, Schnepf Farms, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek. Pumpkin patch, hayrides, bonfires, fireworks and more. (480) 987-3100.

Chandler Indian Art Market and Miss Indian Arizona Scholarship Program, dates TBA, downtown Chandler, (480) 782-2214.

TASTE. Chandler’s Culinary Festival, dates TBA, downtown Chandler. (480) 855-3539.

Tempe Oktoberfest, dates TBA, Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway. Sprawling celebration of Bavarian beer, food and music. (480) 350-8181.

Fall Rhythm Fest, Oct. 27, Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road, Chandler. A dozen live bands, activities for kids and fireworks. (480) 782-2735.

Chandler’s Day of Play Celebration, Oct. 27, Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road, Chandler. Active events for kids, booths on health, wellness and fitness for parents. (480) 782-2735.

Apache Junction Halloween Festival, date TBA, Prospector Park, 3015 N. Idaho Road. (480) 983-2181.

Chandler’s Howlin’ Halloween Spooktacular, date TBA, Chandler Community Center, 125 E. Commonwealth Ave. (480) 782-2735.

Gilbert Fall Music & Halloween Festival, date TBA, Freestone Park Ballfield Complex, 1045 E. Juniper Road. (480) 503-6200.

Queen Creek’s Trunk or Treat, date TBA, Desert Mountain Park, 22201 S. Hawes Road, Queen Creek. (480) 358-3700.

Tempe’s Family Halloween Carnival, date TBA, Kiwanis Park, 6111 S. All America Way, Tempe. (480) 350-5200.

Dia de Los Muertos, dates TBA, Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St. Music, dancing, kids crafts and activities, a mercado of gifts and food, and a community altar to honor deceased loved ones. (480) 644-6500.

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