Tempe Festival of the Arts to return in December

Above: The Tempe Festival will showcase over 300 artists from around the country creating, making and selling their pieces directly to the public at this free and family-friendly event. (Photo courtesy of the Downtown Tempe Authority) Experience Arizona | 9 Nov, 2016 |

An annual seasonal favorite, the 2016 Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts pops up in Downtown Tempe this December with an outstanding assortment of revered traditions, new programming and holiday highlights.

This 48th Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts is highly ranked as a leading fine arts festival, and is one of the largest and oldest festivals of its kind, drawing attendees from across the nation. From Friday December 2nd through Sunday December 4th, 2016 the artist‐driven event is diversifying with new offerings in a pedestrian zone stretching from 3rd Street to University Drive in Downtown Tempe from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.

Open to the public and offering free admission for the entire family, the event is easily accessible via the Valley Metro Light Rail. The award‐winning festival regularly draws as many as 225,000 guests looking for holiday gift items including handmade art pieces, jewelry, home décor, local wines, beer and food, all while enjoying live music and entertainment.

New this season are the Sixth + Mill Makers; a fresh, new, curated section of the Tempe Festival of the Arts where vendors were hand‐selected to provide a cohesive, modern and hip feel. There will also be a dedicated Food Truck Alley, and the number of beer and wine gardens has tripled throughout the festival footprint. Tempe Festival of the Arts continues to feature nearly 400 peer‐juried handpicked artists and artisans, and the addition of the Sixth + Mill Makers brings a fresh millennial appeal with nearly 30 DIY enthusiasts curated by local art emissaries, Standard Wax.

Sixth + Mill Makers will feature buttons, cards, ceramics, children’s clothing, concrete planters, floral arrangements, hand‐made jewelry, letterpress stationary, upcycled furniture, watercolors, woodworks and more. This special artisan zone will be located at 6th Street and Mill Avenue, and boasts artisan finishing salts, cocktail mixes, a lounge and “make and take” booth for hands‐on types who like to physically make memories at the event.

Making and doing figure big in this year’s fall festival with a slew of kid and family‐friendly features, such as a variety of art‐making stations along Kids Block, including activations with Build A Racecar, Childsplay Theatre, Creative Reuse Arizona, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Girls Rock!, i.d.e.a Museum, Phoenix Youth Circus and more.

In addition to the beloved Cottage Edibles section featuring the best packaged hand‐made gourmet foods, seasonings, cottage crafts and remedies, festival favorite food and snack vendors such as kettle corn, cotton candy, fudge, roasted nuts and more will be featured.

Award‐winning Arizona‐made wines from Arizona Strong Hold Vineyards, AZ Wine Cellars, Cellar 443 and Page Springs Cellars will offer samples in the Cottage Edibles section this festival, with bottles available for purchase. Organizers were impressed with the overwhelming popularity of local food trucks at the spring festival and have created a dedicated Food Truck Alley for the fall. Festival attendees will enjoy meandering and snacking on the go with savory selections provided by Arizona Gold, Costantino’s Italian Kitchen, SuperFarm SuperTruck, The Rocket Food Truck, The Maine Lobster Lady, Tornado Potato and Yellowman Fry Bread food trucks.

To add to the merriment and cheer, the fall festival will feature three distinct combination beer and wine gardens offering local brews from Tempe‐based Four Peaks Brewery and Pedal Haus Brewery as well as Gordon Biersch Brewing Company.

One of the most popular mainstays of the three‐day festival are the live music and entertainment components, and this year will be no different with a packed lineup on three stages including cover bands, jazz, grassroots, rock and world music by the likes of Elvis Before Noon, Jenny Jarnagin, Rifkin,

The Groove Merchants, The Sugar Thieves, Tempe’s famed Walt Richardson and others. Enjoy dozens of amazing musical and performing arts experiences up and down Mill Avenue and throughout the festival footprint with street performers, buskers and roving musicians like Arizona Bluegrass Jam, Arizona World Music, Bob Culbertson, Inka Gold, Nancy Kartoon, Tribute Art Live and more.

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