50th Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts: Art, music, food and fun for all

I love Tempe during the holidays. There are so many great events and activities going on from now through the New Year. One that I always look forward to is the Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts. This year is especially significant because it’s celebrating 50 fabulous years as one of the most popular events in the Phoenix Metro area from November 30-December 2, 2018.

The Tempe Festival of the Arts has always been on my list of favorite Tempe events and I have a lot of company with more than 250,000 people attending each year. As many as 350 artists are selected to display and sell their works from booths that line the streets in Downtown Tempe. Their unique, hand-made works include art pieces, jewelry, home decor, photography and much more. Along with all the beautiful art, there’s a a cottage edibles section offering the best packaged hand‐made gourmet foods, seasonings, cottage crafts and remedies. I know I’m going to find some special one-of-a-kind gifts for those lucky people on my shopping list, which includes me as well as my favorite peeps.

In addition to artists’ booths, the festival’s 50th is loaded with activities, entertainment and food that will keep everyone happily entertained and fed. Here are some of the festival’s 50th anniversary highlights:

  • Two stages with live music with well-known local and regional performers including Traveler, Hans Olson and Walt Richardson.
  • A bunch of talented street performers, henna artists, face painters, magicians and caricature artists roam the streets during the festival.
  • The Unplugged Lounge, located at the intersection of 5th St. and Mill Ave, offers seating and shade and a place to chill while enjoying  legendary guitar work of recording artists like Korbe Canida, Chad Gregory, Whitney Jones and El Klezmer. This is a great place to take a load off when you need a little break.
  • Wine and beer gardens featuring Arizona wines and craft beers and spirits from Tempe microbreweries and distilleries. This is another  great place to relax and enjoy some excellent libations.
  • An opportunity for festival goers to join local artist, Kyllan Maney, in creating a commemorative art piece for the Festival’s 50th anniversary.
  • Chalk-a-Lot Street where professional artists create chalk murals and compete for prizes. Festival goers can also get creative and chalk it up.
  • A fashion show featuring more than 60 Arizona fashion designers/brands, and models, plus the best AZ hair stylists and makeup artists showcasing the emerging, diverse, fashion community in Arizona, presented by Tempe’s fashion incubator, F.A.B.R.I.C.
  • The Kids Block that includes fun, interactive art projects and a K-12 Art Exhibition showcasing more than 300 student works from around the Valley on display and for sale.
  • Lots of good eats to purchase at the food court, food trucks, snack vendors and Sweet Street, and in all the great restaurants located in Downtown Tempe.

Yes, the 50th anniversary of the Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts is three full days of art, entertainment, food and good fun for the whole family. View a complete listing of Tempe events or call 480-894-8158 for more information.


Nancy Black
Written Nancy Black

Nancy came from Chicago to attend Northern Arizona University and liked Arizona so much she stayed. She loves exploring Arizona and hanging out with family in Flagstaff and Tucson. She’s also a fan of cats, dogs, chuckwallas, wine and whisky.