Your guide to Metro Phoenix’s biggest spring events of 2022

Living in the Phoenix metro does not seem so bad in the first months of the year. First, the weather is good, and more importantly, there are plenty of things to see and do around town. Some of the valley’s biggest events take place from late January to late May (which is essentially spring in Arizona, no matter what the calendar says), including numerous festivals, conventions, sporting events and art exhibits.

That will be the case again in 2022, despite the fact that coronavirus and its variants continue to complicate matters. Organizers and promoters of high-profile local events such as the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Arizona Renaissance Festival and Phoenix Fan Fusion go ahead with plans to run

We have put together a list of major events that we have confirmed will take place in the spring. As is the norm for the COVID-19 era, anything can change and certain events may require masks or proof of vaccination to attend (check the websites for such mandates).

click to enlarge Burn your car fantasies at Barrett-Jackson.  - JIM LOUVAU

Burn your car fantasies at Barrett-Jackson.

Jim Louvau

Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction

While you certainly need a king’s ransom to be able to shop at any of the hundreds of expensive rides, luxury cars and collectibles for sale at Barrett-Jackson, there’s plenty of fun to be had just browsing its prized selection. The 2022 edition takes place from Saturday, January 22nd to Sunday, January 30th at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road, and will feature such automotive beauties as a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing and a 1967 Chevrolet Yenko Super Camaro. Daily admission is $ 23 for adults, $ 20 for seniors and students and $ 14 for children 12 and under.

Arizona Balloon Classic

The sky over Goodyear Ballpark, the 1933 South Ballpark Way in Goodyear, will be dotted with a flotilla of colorful hot air balloons throughout this weekend-long event from Friday, January 28th to Sunday, January 30th. Participants can watch dozens of balloons zoom into the sky during races that take place during the day. After landing, they will be illuminated after dark while lit up to the beat of music. A food festival, vendor stands and live performances by local musicians are also planned. Admission is $ 15 adults, $ 12 for seniors and free for active military and children under 12.

click to enlarge Huzzah!  Arizona Renaissance Festival returns in 2022. - ARIZONA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL

Huzzah! The Arizona Renaissance Festival returns in 2022.

Arizona Renaissance Festival

Arizona Renaissance Festival

The 30-acre attraction, located at 12601 East US Highway 60 in Gold Canyon, will feature lively activities and entertainment in a Tudor-style village, populated by artisans, artists, knights, rascals and various other costumed characters. Borrowers can frolic with fairies, take part in rides and games, watch competitions or enjoy a meal of food and drinks (including the turkey leg the size of your forearm). The doors open at 10am Saturday, Sunday and other selected dates through April 3rd. General admission is $ 29 for adults, $ 19 for children 5 to 12 and free for children 5 and under.

Waste Management Phoenix Open

This PGA-affiliated event (often described as “The Greatest Show on Grass”) is notorious in the golf world for its noisy crowds and the cozy atmosphere that emerges at TPC Scottsdale, 17020 North Hayden Road, during the week-long tournament. The 2022 edition takes place from Monday, February 7 to Sunday, February 13, featuring some of the world’s best golfers hitting the links, while tens of thousands gather inside party tents and skyboxes. General admission ranges from free to $ 60, depending on the day.

click to enlarge A teenage contestant at the Heard Museum's world championship competition in Hoop Dance.  - PATRICK THOMAS BRYANT

A teenage contestant at the Heard Museum’s world championship competition in Hoop Dance.

Patrick Thomas Bryant

Heard Museum’s World Championship Hoop Dance Contest

The best Native American and Canadian First Nations hoop dancers will show off their tremendous skills at the traditional art form on Saturday, February 12 and Sunday, February 13 at the Libby Amphitheater at the Heard Museum, 2301 North Central Avenue. Competitors will be judged on their showmanship, rhythm, precision, creativity and other aspects during the two-day competition to determine the winner. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is $ 22 for adults, $ 20 for seniors, $ 10 for Indians and $ 9 for students and children ages 6 to 17 and free for children ages 5 and under.

Arizona Gay Rodeo

Since its launch in 1986, the Arizona Gay Rodeo has had countless LGBTQIA cowboys and cowgirls riding and rope over the past many decades. It is scheduled to take place from Friday, February 18th to Sunday, February 20th at Corona Ranch and Rodeo Grounds, 7611 South 29th Avenue. Participants will compete in a dozen different events, including bull and bull riding, sled dogging, barrel racing and bullfighting. Check out the AGR website if you would like to sign up to compete. If you just want to attend, the daily admission fee is $ 15.

click to enlarge BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na …

Benjamin Leatherman

Phoenix Idiotarod 2022

This urban shopping cart race through downtown Phoenix organized by the Arizona Cacophony Society, a local countercultural and social group, is colorful, chaotic and unlike any other event in the valley. Teams of costumed jokers will steer decorated shopping carts along streets and sidewalks as they stop at various bars, public parks and other checkpoints along the way. It’s bizarre, effervescent fun, which is a total blast to either participate in or watch. This year’s edition takes place on Saturday, February 26, and registration info and other details are available on the Cacophony Society website.

Spring training

This summer’s boys will spend their spring getting in shape for Major League Baseball’s upcoming season on 10 football pitches around the valley during the annual Cactus League. Players from 15 different teams, including the Arizona Diamondbacks and the ever-popular Chicago Cubs, will compete in matches starting Saturday, February 26th. The action runs through March 29, and the daily schedule can be found on MLB’s website.

Phoenix Scottish Games

The muscular men and women who will compete in this year’s Phoenix Scottish Games from Friday, March 2 to Sunday, March 4, in Gilbert Regional Park, 3005 East Queen Creek Road, will be tossing around with heavy objects like huge rocks, tree trunks and hammers for Gaelic guts ‘n’ glory. Inspired by the traditional highland games of Scotland, which date back to the 11th century, the three-day event will offer some culture to go along with all athletics, as local bagpipe and drum bands and exhibitions of Scottish clans will be presented. Tickets cost $ 20 for single-day tickets or $ 30 for the entire weekend.

Chandler Chamber Ostrich Festival

Residents of the valley flocking to this spring event at Tumbleweed Park, 2250 South McQueen Road in Chandler, will get to see its birds of the same name (either participating in races or fluttering around in giant corals). There will be more than just ostriches at the festival, which runs from Friday 10 March to Sunday 13 March and from Thursday 17 March to Sunday 20 March. A large selection of food vendors and carnival-style rides will be available, while live entertainment ranging from a concert series starring Nelly to various acrobats and stunt artists will be shown on the main stage. Tickets cost $ 10 to $ 15.

click to enlarge Set outside Charlie's in downtown Phoenix.  - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

Set outside Charlie’s in downtown Phoenix.

Benjamin Leatherman

March brides

Equally sharing barcrawl and costumed city jokes, the annual Brides of March involves hundreds of local men and women wearing wedding dresses or other marital ornaments and visiting Phoenix downtown’s various drinks for an afternoon of fun. The wedding-themed event, hosted by the Arizona Cacophony Society, also features a high-heeled footstool and other pranks. This year’s event takes place on Saturday, March 19, starting at. It is free to join and you can find more details on the association’s website.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Faire

It would not be Saint Patrick’s Day in the Valley without these two downtown Phoenix events, which will celebrate all that is emerald. The parade starts at 10 a.m., as its various floats and participants depart from the streets of Third and Sheridan, heading for Margaret T. Hance Park, 64 West Culver Street. A day of merriment ensues during the Irish Mass, which lasts until 6 p.m. 17.00 and will include several stages of performances by traditional musicians and dancers, as well as an extensive layout with various games, craftsmen and vendors. Admission to the fair is $ 10 for adults and teens, $ 8 for seniors and military and free for children ages 12 and under.

click to enlarge Arizona Bike Week invades WestWorld of Scottsdale in April.  - ARIZONA CYCLE WEEK

Arizona Bike Week invades WestWorld of Scottsdale in April.

Arizona Bike Week

Arizona Bike Week

Harley riders, motorheads and weekend warriors will show up in the thousands for this five-day festival from Wednesday, April 6 to Sunday, April 10 at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road, which pays homage to motorcycles and motorcycle culture. The Arizona Bike Week festivities will include stunt shows, special exhibits, wild parties, group tours and hundreds of vendors, as well as a rock concert every night starring Lynyrd Skynyrd and Rob Zombie. Admission ranges from $ 12 to $ 92.

Maricopa County Fair

While this event may not be as big as the Arizona State Fair, it still offers enough excitement, attractions and distractions to provide a fun time. It takes place at the state’s Fairgrounds, 1826 West McDowell Road, from Wednesday, April 6 to Sunday, April 10, and offers guests a mix of pets, homemade crafts and creations, live entertainment, mid-range games and (as you’d expect) tons of flashy rides and fried foods. Children under 8 are free, while admission is $ 9 for everyone else.

click to enlarge A series of pinball games for ZapCon 2019. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

A series of pinball games at ZapCon 2019.

Benjamin Leatherman

ZapCon 8

The interior of the Mesa Convention Center, 263 North Center Street, will be transformed into the valley’s largest arcade from Saturday, April 30, to Sunday, May 1. Local players can travel through a warp zone for Pac-Man and Pac-Man glory days. Donkey Kong during this classic arcade and pinball competition, which will feature more than 200 vintage titles and old-school classics from local collectors. Entrance fees vary, but you do not have to worry about bringing neighborhoods, as each machine will be set to “free play”.

Rainbow Festival

Thanks to the pandemic life as we know it, this LGBTQIA-friendly event has been moved to spring (and essentially swapped places with Phoenix Pride). But while its placement on the calendar may have changed, everything else at this year’s Rainbows Festival will remain the same. Arranged by Heritage Square Park, 115 North Sixth Street, it takes place on Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1, featuring a weekend of exhibitors, vendors, food trucks and artists. Live entertainment will include drag artists, variety shows, DJs, musicians and more. The festivities run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and admission is free.

Phoenix Fan Fusion

Phoenix Fan Fusion is considered the valley’s heavyweight champion for nerd events, thanks to its gigantic array of celebrity guests, activities and vendors. The three-day pop culture extravaganza takes place over Memorial Day weekend at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street, and will feature thousands of hours of programming, including Q&A sessions, parties, workshops and countless other events. It is scheduled to run from Friday, May 27th to Sunday, May 29th, with daily admission currently available for $ 40 to $ 55 and full event passes for $ 90.


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