Enjoy cooler weather at outdoor festivals - East Valley Tribune: News

Enjoy cooler weather at outdoor festivals

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Posted: Friday, November 11, 2005 12:34 pm | Updated: 9:35 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Leave the laundry for Monday — it’s fall in Arizona, and that means a ton of weekend fun opportunities. This weekend you could spend your free time at NASCAR races or American history re-enactments, or enjoying hot air balloons or chocolate and chili peppers.

Even Jay Leno’s crew will be at the American Heritage Festival in Queen Creek, filming for "The Tonight Show."

It’s time to emerge from our air-conditioned hibernation and enjoy the environment. The weather is crystal. Holiday shopping madness is still weeks away. Trust me, your dirty clothes will still be there Monday.

ARIZONA BALLOON FESTIVAL

When: 5:30 to 10 p.m. today; 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 5:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Tumbleweed Park, Germann and McQueen roads, Chandler

Features: 40 to 50 hot air balloons, including a giant American eagle to honor Veterans Day, live music, food and fireworks.

Cost: $7 adults, $5 children

Information:

www.arizonaballoonfestival-chandler.com

WHY GO?

"This is truly, truly a family-oriented event," says event promoter Judy Taylor; children of all ages can help balloonists inflate the massive air-filled structures. "To inflate something from nothing" is reason enough to come out.

CHILES AND CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Where: Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix Features: Vendors, artists and demonstrations, like how to make chocolate ristras, molé or chili pasta. Live mariachi music and flamenco dancers — and a chocolate fountain! Cost: $10, with discounts for senior citizens, students and children. Information: (480) 941-1225

WHY GO?

"Our festival is geared mainly toward adults who are food enthusiasts," says Paty Wilson, spokeswoman for the garden. Plus: "The garden is perfect, and the weather is beautiful for being outside."

TEMPE ORIGINAL LOBSTER FESTIVAL

When: 5 p.m. to midnight today; noon to midnight Saturday; 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday

Where: Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway

Features: Lobsters, live music, carnival rides and a selection of food choices that don’t come with a shell. Maine lobster meals with corn on the cob, new potatoes, coleslaw and a dinner roll are $18-$40.

Cost: $15 adults, $5 kids ages 6 to 12.

Information: www.tempelobsterfestival.com

WHY GO?

"The lobster festival is the campiest festival in town. I mean, it’s grown men dressed up as lobsters, it’s Neil Diamond impersonators," says manager Amanda Blum. "It’s camp and kitsch, all in one."

AMERICAN HERITAGE FESTIVAL

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Saturday Where: Schnepf Farms, 22601 E. Cloud Road, Queen Creek Features: Historical re-enactments such as Civil War battles, parades, artillery displays and historic vehicles Cost: $10. Children 4 and under are free. Information: www.americanheritagefestival.com

WHY GO?

"It’s an educational living history event," says Scott Hinkle, coordinator and co-founder of what he calls the largest living history event in the Southwest. "It’s three-dimensional hands-on learning."

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