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Spring Festivals in Arizona

Updated on January 17, 2017
Arizona State Fair, Phoenix
Arizona State Fair, Phoenix | Source

Springtime and Festivals: A Fun Combination

Music, art and crafts, games and rides, fun themes and live entertainment ... and, of course, food! Who doesn't like a good festival?

Then add to the mix a beautiful time of year and the great state of Arizona, and you're sure to enjoy yourself for a few hours, for a whole day or weekend, or even a whole week of activities.

I admit, putting this page together was a selfish undertaking, because I love a good fair and wanted to have my own resource for Arizona's best spring events. But I also wanted to share this with other festival-lovers who live in or will be visiting Arizona during this wonderful season.

So I searched and searched and put together a listing of springtime events (that would technically be from March 20 - June 20) that take place all over the state and sorted them by region -- Northern, Central and Southern Arizona -- and then by date, to help us all find something fun when and where we want to go.

I've also included some additional resources towards the bottom of the page, so you can hopefully find any good goings-on that I've missed, new festivals that have recently been added (but that I haven't discovered yet) and Arizona festivals and fairs at other times of the year.

There's also a brief overview of spring in the different areas of the state, because Arizona is definitely diverse. I hope you find something fun to do! I know I will....

Northern Arizona

Lake Mead -- Grand Canyon -- Page -- Flagstaff -- Williams -- Winslow -- Petrified Forest -- Window Rock -- Sedona -- Pine/Strawberry

A Snapshot of Spring in Northern Arizona - From snow to wildflowers, down jackets to t-shirts in Arizona's northern third

Spring blooms on O'Leary Peak near Flagstaff
Spring blooms on O'Leary Peak near Flagstaff | Source

Nope, Arizona isn't all fun in the warm sun. We get plenty of cold and snow too, especially up here in the high country, including my adopted hometown of Flagstaff, where spring can take on many personalities and change them on a dime.

Spring in northern Arizona might mean shoveling feet of snow one day, then skiing in a t-shirt the next. It might be dry as a bone, then pour buckets. And it might be both in two places at the same time, and those places might not be all that far apart.

Northern Arizona ranges from an altitude of 12,600 feet at the top of the San Francisco peaks to around 2,000 feet above sea level along the Colorado River at the bottom of Grand Canyon. Drive an hour, and you might go from three layers of clothing to one. Drive or hike a bit further -- down, down, down -- and you'll be sweating in shorts and a tank top.

Spring around here means runoff too, the snow melting and creating torrents out of otherwise dry riverbeds and washes and swelling sweet little creeks to raging floods, then soon looking quiet and innocent the way they were.

Spring can be a very windy time of year in these parts, so hang on to your hat!

Spring in northern Arizona also means that people are eager to get outside and enjoy the change of season. The calendar of festivals up here in the top third doesn't really fill up until early summer and on into the fall, but there's still some good fair fun to be had when spring rolls around.

A Flagstaff Art Fair at Wheeler Park

A Flagstaff Art Fair at Wheeler Park
A Flagstaff Art Fair at Wheeler Park

Central Arizona

Prescott -- Payson -- Lake Havasu City -- Show Low -- Phoenix -- Mesa -- Tempe -- Scottsdale -- Wickenburg -- Alpine -- Globe

A Snapshot of Spring in Central Arizona

Springtime in Phoenix, Arizona
Springtime in Phoenix, Arizona | Source

To those who live in the Sonoran Desert, whether in the middle of the metropolis of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe and the surrounding suburban sprawl or surrounded by not much more than saguaro, prickly pear, cholla and other types of cactus and lots of big, blue sky, spring starts in late January or early February. It's not so much the calendar that determines when spring begins.

For most central Arizonans, spring begins with the day dawns noticeably earlier, when the fruit trees and roses bloom, and the ocotillo put out their first little leaves and blossom shoots. Spring for many of these folks begins with Spring Training, when half the Major League Baseball teams come to the Phoenix area each year to play Cactus League exhibition games.

If you stick to the calendar, though -- from the Spring Equinox to the Summer Solstice -- spring in central Arizona would feel like summer to people from many other parts of the country, with daytime highs running from the mid-70s to the 80s and 90s in mid-spring to sometimes triple digits as the season comes closer to summer according to the calendar.

Carry a jacket or sweatshirt, though, because the lack of humidity means there's often a big difference between day and evening temperatures -- sometimes as much as 30 degrees or more.

When March 20th rolls around in central Arizona, the festival and fair season is already in full swing, so check the sources at the bottom of this section if you're looking for something fun to do sooner.

The Arizona Renaissance Festival

The Arizona Renaissance Festival
The Arizona Renaissance Festival

Southern Arizona

Tucson -- Yuma -- Casa Grande -- Clifton -- Safford -- Saguaro National Park -- Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument -- Tombstone -- Sierra Vista -- Nogales

A Snapshot of Spring in Southern Arizona

Springtime in Tucson, Arizona
Springtime in Tucson, Arizona | Source

If, like me, you grew up in New England, you grew up knowing the distinctness of the seasons. Remember those days -- those single days -- when, without knowing the actual date, you could feel the season change from winter to spring, spring to summer, summer to fall? And the same applies to many other areas of the country and other countries too.

In southern Arizona, though, you have to pay closer attention to realize the changes in the seasons. The shift from winter to spring and spring to summer is much more subtle, but to those who've lived there for a number of years, they know how to recognize and appreciate those subtleties.

As Chuck writes in his eloquent article, Springtime in the Arizona Desert, "Living in Southern Arizona where the sun shines most every day and daytime winter temperatures tend to average in the high sixties or seventies, I have found the main signs of spring are the lengthening days and a thinning of traffic congestion as our snow birds begin to leave the area and begin their migration back to the north."

Like northern Arizona, though, southern Arizona has its share of mountains that see their fair share of snow, so when you think spring in that area, imagine still-snow-capped peaks surrounded by blooming wildflowers and teaming deserts teaming with birds and other wildlife.

But what really feels like what most of us have come to expect from spring doesn't last long in southern Arizona where, like in the central area of the state, the daytime temperatures will quickly climb, the wildflowers will dry up and the car windows will roll up in favor of air conditioning. The calendar may say that spring still has a ways to go, but it will feel a lot more like summer if you don't know the subtle differences.

The Pima County Fair in Tucson, Arizona

The Pima County Fair in Tucson, Arizona
The Pima County Fair in Tucson, Arizona | Source

An Arizona Road & Recreation Atlas

We always keep one of these road atlases in each of our vehicles and use it every time we travel around the state, going to festivals and fairs, camping and exploring, or any other occasion and excuse to go for a drive.

The new Landscape and Public Lands maps in this edition show complete road details, classed by use and surface, and the Recreation Guide now features a Grand Canyon section and several new recreation categories.

Just go easy on some of that (yummy, ooey gooey) food at the fair!

Just go easy on some of that (yummy, ooey gooey) food at the fair!
Just go easy on some of that (yummy, ooey gooey) food at the fair!

If you know of a springtime festival anywhere in Arizona that I've missed, please let me know in the guestbook below so I can add it to the page.

Thank you!

© 2013 Deb Kingsbury

Do You Enjoy a Good Fair or Festival -- Any Time of Year, Anywhere? And do you have a favorite?

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    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful info about Spring Festivals in Arizona

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      As a fairly new Arizonan I thank you for taking the time to list all these festivities. You can bet I will be at the BBQ festival in my town of Chandler on March 23rd.

    • am23g23 profile image

      am23g23 4 years ago

      Love the countdown to Spring I can't wait lol

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 4 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      We don't have a fair in my area, until Summer. All your festivals look like a wonderful Spring event!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 4 years ago

      Yes, I love festivals. Nice work here!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Thanks for this great list of Arizona fairs and festivals. I'll have to try to hit a few of them this year!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      What fun! SquidAngel blessed! ;-)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have not yet been to Arizona. I really want to visit it once I have the time.

    • profile image

      luvsmusic 4 years ago

      I love the Arizona Renaissance Festival, I don't get to go too often because of the cost. I also like the Tempe Festival of the Arts. Nice list of festivals here in Arizona, a lot I didn't know about.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image
      Author

      Deb Kingsbury 4 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      @luvsmusic: I'll be going to this festival for the first time this year, myself. You may already know this, but there are two weekends where tickets are two for the price of one (2/9 - 2/10, and President's Day), so you can go with someone and maybe split the cost of the one ticket you'd need to pay for. You can also buy discount tickets at Fry's grocery stores.

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 4 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      well done - this is a great lens about your Arizona spring festivals - maybe I'll get there one year

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I'd love to attend any one of these Arizona festivals. I bet Arizona is beautiful in the springtime.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      How lovely. I wish I could visit all of them! What a nice service to do for the Arizona community (and any one who might be going there...) to have all the festivals listed in one place! Nice!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

      I love the western USA in the spring! I have visited many places in Arizona, but have never been to a festival. Must put that on my bucket list.

    • profile image

      luvsmusic 4 years ago

      @Ramkitten2000: Thanks, I didn't know about the two for the price of one days but I did know about the discount tickets at Fry's.

    • beaworkathomemom profile image

      beaworkathomemom 4 years ago

      So many fun ideas! The Soar Into Spring Kite Fest seems like a great time. Very helpful lens! Thanks for sharing all this information.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      We are new to Arizona but delighted to actually have arrived! The enthusiasm is bolstered with these pages of excitement & we must thank Deb Lauman for the splendid dissemination!

    • profile image

      Denise E Collins St.Laurent 12 months ago

      Thank you for such helpful, & entertaining information! I truly hope to see & experience many more beautifully awesome events in the southwest soon!!!

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