There is so much happening around the Valley of the Sun this weekend! Here are a few things from which to choose:
* Free jazz concert: On Friday night, from 6 PM to 8 PM, on the patio of AJ's Fine Foods, 20050 N. 67th Avenue, Glendale, AJ's Jazz combo will perform. There will also be a "mini fashion show."
* Film: Viewing and Lecture: On ASU's west campus, in the Kiva Lecture Hall (4701 W. Thunderbird Road, Phoenix), the Friday Night Film Series, looking at movies based on classic novels, continues. This week, the film is American Splendor. After the film, Fred Lench, a "film connoisseur since 1985," will lead a discussion. Admission and parking are free.
* Westside Motorcycle Expo: Travel to Glendale's University of Phoenix Stadium on Glendale and 95th Avenues to the first of what promotors plan to be a semi-annual event, this celebration of the motorcycle will run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 10 AM to 6 PM. From 7 PM to 11 PM each night, there will be a concert. Friday night's band is Buckcherry. Saturday and Sunday the band will be Army of Anyone. Go to the exhibition and you'll find" extreme freestyle motorcycle demonstrations," free stuff, and fun for the kids, including "NASCAR and drag strip simulators." General admission is $18, $12 with a military I.D., and free for children 12 years old and younger. www.nitrosyndicate.com
* Miniature Horse show: This one actually started today (Wednesday), and runs through Sunday. The Arizona Touch of Class Miniature Horse Show is at Scottsdale's WestWorld Equestrian Center, 16601 North Pima Road. They begin at 8AM each day, and admission is free. Go to www.azminis.com for more information.
* Stomp! The exuberant celebration of percussion will be presented at the Maricopa County Events Center, on RH Johnson Boulevard in Sun City West. Ticket prices are $35 - $55.
* Feathered Friends Festival: From 9 AM to 2 PM at the Gilbert Riparian Institute, 2757 E. Guadalupe Road, Gilbert. There will be over 40 booths, wildlife exhibits, and arts and crafts. It's free, but donations are accepted.
* Book sales: Two branches of the Glendale library will be holding book sales this weekend. For a bibliophile like me, there are bound to be plenty of irresistable bargains. Hours at the Main Branch (5959 Brown Street) will be 9 - 5 on Saturday and 8 to Noon on Sunday. Books will all be half price on Sunday.
The Foothills branch (19055 N. 57th Avenue) will hold its sale from 9 to 3. Books will priced at $1.
* "Buggin' Art": The Heard Museum West, 16126 N. Civic Center Plaza in Surprise, will celebrate the opening of its newest exhibition, "Buggin' Art," on Saturday from 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM. The artist Elizabeth Wallace (Navajo/Washoe/Maidu) will lecture at 11:00 and at 3:00. Musician Jeremiah Sammartana (Navajo) will perform. Gerald Dawavendewa will sign his children's book, The Butterfly Dance from 11 to 1. There will be craft activities for the kids, and admission is free. The exhibition runs through August 26.
* Peoria's Pioneer Day Parade: This Saturday, beginning at 10 AM, enjoy the celebration in downtown Peoria. The parade will travel Washington Street between 85th and 83rd Avenues.
* Free family fun: Take the kids to the Spring Extravaganza between 9 AM and 12 noon on Saturday. At the Sahuaro Ranch Park Softball Complex (63rd Avenue and Mountain View Road in Glendale), there will be an egg hunt, an egg decorating contest (bring your own eggs), prizes, candy, and giant inflatable games. Admission is free!
* Cesar Chavez Celebration: Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, will be the site of the first annual Cesar Chavez Celebration. The fundraiser for the Chavez Foundation will be Saturday from 11 AM to 9:30 PM and Sunday from 11 AM to 8 PM Sunday. Featured appearances include War, Emilio Navaira, Graciela Beltran, and El Chicano. Ticket prices range from $10 to $15.
* Free movie tickets: Get free tickets to an advance screening of Firehouse Dog, a new movie rated PG. This Saturday, go to one of two locations to meet representatives of the Phoenix or Gilbert fire departments and get pet rescue decals, promotional items, and those tickets.
In the east valley, got to Cosmo Dog Park/Doggie Beach Party, 2502 East Ray Road, between 8:30 AM and 10 AM In Phoenix, got to Arizona Humane Society, 9226 N. 13th Avenue between 10 AM and 11 AM.
Watch the Arizona Republic newspaper for free advance screening tickets to other movies. They're offered several times a year. Note the fine print: these tickets are honored on a first come, first served basis. "The theater is overbooked to ensure a full house." Translation: get there really early!