27th annual Fiesta Bowl Block Party takes over downtown Tempe - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

27th annual Fiesta Bowl Block Party takes over downtown Tempe

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Mandy Zajac writes and edits arts, entertainment and lifestyle content for the Get Out section of the East Valley Tribune. Contact her at (480) 898-6818 or azajac@evtrib.com

Posted: Friday, December 30, 2011 12:00 pm

Still without plans for New Year’s Eve?

There’s no easier, more entertaining go-to gala in the East Valley than the Fiesta Bowl Block Party. The 27-year-old event, open to all ages, is expected to draw close to 100,000 revelers Saturday to downtown Tempe. It opens at 5 p.m.

Grand central for the party is “Tempe Times Square,” at Fifth Street and Mill Avenue, where a video board will count down the moments to midnight. When the clock strikes 12, partygoers will see a fireworks show, a confetti blast and the return of the Chip Drop, a much buzzed about release of a giant metal corn chip, mimicking the famous ball drop in New York City, that’s happened only twice in the block party’s history.

Until midnight, there’s plenty to see and do.

On the Main Stage, acts include Kelley James (5 p.m.), Stanford Marching Band (6:45 p.m.), Oklahoma State Marching Band (7:15 p.m.), Jeff Clay Band (7:45 p.m.), Sawyer Brown (9:15 p.m.) and the Gin Blossoms (11 p.m.).

Nine more bands, including Rob Zombie Tribute, will play the Arizona Cardinals Double Rock Stage.

Local acts Future Love Past, Fayuca, Cousin Affect and Dry River Yacht Club will play the Tostitos All-Tempe Stage.

Inside the parameters of an outdoor dance club, local deejays, including DJ Sam Groove and DJ Soloman, will entertain, leading up to a 10:30 p.m. spin at the turntables by San Francisco deejay duo Gabriel & Dresden.

A Little Block Party Kid’s Area features crafts, games and activities at Sixth Street west of Mill Avenue.

On Fourth Street, displays of Fiesta and Insight bowl team football helmets, beer cans and the Heisman Trophy make for good photo opps. So does a “Legends of Rock Lane,” where you’ll find a mini museum of info on deceased rock stars, top-selling albums and hits, and the origins of famous band names.

The party also features BMX Bike demos, magic shows, food courts and beer gardens. A precursory fireworks show begins at 10 p.m.

Discount tickets ($16) are available through today at Safeway grocery stores. Tickets ($20) may also be purchased Saturday at any one of four block party entry gates: Mill Avenue and University Drive, Third Street and Mill Avenue, Fifth Street east of Mill Avenue and Fifth Street west of Mill Avenue.

VIP tickets ($100) include food and drink, seating and a viewing platform to see the national music acts. They are available through the Fiesta Bowl Ticket Office at (480) 350-0916.

Organizers urge partygoers to use METRO Light Rail to get to and from the event; visit www.MetroLightRail.org or www.millavenue.com/transportation/rail to plan your route.

Parking, should you drive instead, is available; find maps and information at www.millavenue.com/transportation.

For details on the block party, go to www.fiestabowl.org/events/fiesta-bowl-block-party.

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