What do salsa, cancer survival, David Crosby and Israel’s independence have in common?
They all are being celebrated this weekend in Scottsdale.
Three event-packed days kick off today at 5 p.m. with the opening notes of the McDowell Mountain Music Festival at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road.
A slew of bands — including Crosby’s CPR, Little Feat, Delbert McClinton and Los Lobos — play through Saturday. Tickets are $12 to $33.
Also today is the Relay for Life, a 15-hour walk to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Teams of walkers and runners will circle a field track nonstop 6 p.m. today through 9 a.m. Saturday at Saguaro High School, 6250 N. 82nd St.
Last year, the event raised more than $100,000 for cancer research and prevention, a coordinator said.
Participants will have enough time to trade their tennis shoes for sandals before heading out to the Tostitos Southwest Salsa Challenge, where chips and dips are included in the entry fee.
The event begins at 11 a.m. inside Scottsdale Stadium, 7408 E. Osborn Road.
Tickets to the increasingly popular competition are $8 at the door for adults and $3 for children younger than 12. Bargain seekers can score adult tickets for $7 at Safeway Food & Drug stores.
Proceeds benefit the Hemophilia Association.
Tim Willhite, an X-ray technician at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, will defend his title as grand champion salsa creator in a field of competitors that this year tops 80 entrants.
Willhite, despite the professional chefs trying to unseat him, has five grand champion trophies. He remains humble, though, about the tasty recipe he spent four years perfecting.
"I just keep it simple," he said Thursday.
Cancer survivors and their families are invited to a free picnic and celebration Saturday at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center, 10460 N. 92nd St.
Coordinators promise food, fun and festivities at the event that runs 1 to 3 p.m. This year’s theme is " ’50s Rock Around the Clock." Registration is requested at (480) 675-4636.
On Sunday, the party will be at the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road, for the annual Israel Independence Day Celebration.
People of all faiths are invited to enjoy Israeli music, camel rides, Middle Eastern cuisine and more 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Shuttle buses will run continuously from Chaparral High School, 6935 E. Gold Dust Ave., and the Scottsdale Norte office complex, 11333 N. Scottsdale Road.