Appetites for art, music and food can be satisfied at the same time this weekend with three events in downtown Scottsdale.
The 14th annual Western ArtWalk kicks off the long weekend today and continues through Saturday, while the second annual Food Frenzy and the biannual ArtFest gather steam on Friday.
"It’s a wonderful way to gather people downtown, and, it makes visiting the art galleries more casual and less intimidating for first-timers," said Kathy Duley, president of the Scottsdale Gallery Association and co-owner of the Duley-Jones Gallery, 7100 E. Main St.
Duley, who participated in the first Western ArtWalk 14 years ago, said an estimated 5,000 visitors are expected along East Main Street, the heart of Scottsdale’s art gallery row from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Officials expect as many as 35,000 visitors to downtown for the event.
Among the featured artists are members of the Cowboy Artists of America, whose works will be displayed for visitors strolling East Main Street. Music by bands, cowboy singers and samples of Southwestern and Mexican food will also be featured.
More than 30,000 people are expected through the weekend for Food Frenzy, a cooking contest between local chefs and students of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, and the Fifth Avenue ArtFest, said Frank McGuire, promoter of both events.
McGuire, the original sponsor of the Mill Avenue Fair in Tempe and the New Year’s Eve Block Party, predicted the combination of the three attractions will boost Scottsdale’s popularity and economic status.
"After 9/11, the crowds dropped a little and the visitors who came were spending less on art," McGuire said. "Things are starting to pick up. I’m guessing this weekend will bring large crowds."
The Food Frenzy is from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday along Fifth Avenue between Goldwater Boulevard and Scottsdale Road. Visitors will be asked to judge the contestants’ food samples and vote for a winner.
The Fifth Avenue ArtFest is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
In all, more than 100 downtown art galleries, restaurants and other attractions will participate.
"This weekend is considered the start of the season for downtown Scottsdale," McGuire said. "The events are perfect for folks who enjoy casual strolls, art and good food."
Weekend of fun in Scottsdale
What: Western ArtWalk; Food Frenzy and ArtFest
Where: Western ArtWalk along East Main Street; Food Frenzy and ArtFest along Fifth Avenue
When: Western ArtWalk, 6 to 9 p.m. today and Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday; Food Frenzy, 1 to 2 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday; ArtFest, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Information: Western ArtWalk, (480) 990-3939; Food Frenzy, (480) 947-6423; ArtFest, (480) 968-5353