Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Glendale Jazz and Blues Festival

This is another event we look forward to every year. The 24th annual Glendale Jazz and Blues Festival is a two-day affair, from 10 AM - 10 PM on Saturday, and from noon to 5 PM on Sunday. They'll have two stages: one for jazz, and one for blues. There'll also be wine tasting, food and beverage concessions, children's activities, and arts and crafts for sale. It's in downtown Glendale, in the park at 59th and Glendale Avenues. Take your lawn chairs and enjoy the great music and heavenly weather.

Artists appearing include Sistah Blue, Carvin Jones, Joey DeFrancesco, Coco Montoya, and the KC Blues Band. Visit the outstanding website at for a schedule, parking and shuttle details, and to listen to 12 selections by some of the musician's you'll be hearing. Parking and admission are free!

It's going to be a really busy weekend for us!

Arizona Book Festival

For three years now we've been intending to go to this festival, and I think maybe this year we'll be able to do so! It's the 10th annual Arizona Book Festival, held this Saturday, April 14, from 10 AM to 5 PM. It will be held in Carnegie Library Park, 1101 W. Washington Street, in Phoenix. Their web site, , has pages of information, including detailed information about parking and bus information.

There will be events going on all day, at six locations, including a stage for children's book authors. The list of writers who will appear is long, so check the web site for details. There will also be many booths to check out. I printed out the schedule to take with us. It will be hard to decide among so many possibilites! One that looks particularly fascinating is a presentation by Bill Carter, who wrote the book Fools Rush In about his experiences in Sarajevo, which led to the creation of "his award-winning documentary, Miss Sarajevo." The film itself will be shown twice during the day. Oh, yes - admission to the event is free.

Igor's Jazz Cowboys

This Thursday, April 12, you can hear a free concert by Igor's Jazz Cowboys from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Avondale Civic Center, 11465 W. Civic Center Drive, Avondale. This is part of Avondale's "Under the Stars" concert series, so take a blanket or lawn chair, some cash for buying refreshments if you like, and enjoy our nearly perfect weather while listening to "acoustic Western swing" music.

Every year we used to attend the Sacramento, CA Jazz Festival, where we noticed this group was extremely popular. How exciting to find they are from Tempe, AZ! And now you can hear them for free!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Regional Parks

Maricopa County (where Phoenix is) has the "largest regional park system in the United States." We lucky Arizonans have a choice of ten wilderness areas in which to enjoy the great desert outdoors. They form a ring around the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, so no matter where you live, a regional park is close to you. Eight of these parks have hiking trails, some of them barrier-free. There are picnic sites, horseback riding, rodeo arenas, boating and fishing, ramadas, and playgrounds, too. Many of the parks have ranger-led hikes throughout the year on which knowledgable rangers address all sorts of topics. Some have special holiday events. We particularly enjoyed a nighttime hike this past Christmas Eve along a trail in White Tank Mountain park which was lined with luminarias. There is a $5 per vehicle entrance fee, but you can buy an annual pass for only $75, good at every park except Lake Pleasant. Visit to match specific activities to parks.

A partial list of tomorrow's scheduled special events may give you an idea of some of the things there are to do in the regional parks:

McDowell Mountain: a 55-mile Endurance Mountain Bike Ride, from 6 AM to 6PM.
Usery Mountain: a 2-mile "Looking for Lizards" hike, for ages 7-10, begins at 9 AM.
White Tanks Mountain: a 2-mile Waterfall Trail Interpretive Hike, from 9 AM to 11 AM.
Estrella Mountain : a one-hour "Rocks in the Head" geology walk, 9 AM - 10 AM.
Spur Cross Ranch: "Rocks and Streams," a 2-hour easy walk learning about the geology and streams of the area with earth science author Thomas McGuire.
Estrella Mountain: a "Full Moon" hike, from 7 - 9 PM, along the Toothaker Trail.

Is it the weekend already?

Yikes! Time flies when you're busy! So . . . let's see. What to do this weekend?

Even though Easter is this Sunday, there are still several events planned.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday:

In Peoria (in the west valley), a three-day Spring Arts and Crafts Festival will be held at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Saturday and Sunday:

On main street in Verado in the far, far west valley, enjoy a farmer's market on Saturday from 10 to 5, an art fair both days from 10 to 5, and a street-dance performance at 4 PM Saturday.

On Saturday:

In Avondale, in the west valley, enjoy the Spring Fling and Ice Cream Social at the Avondale Civic Center (11465 W. Civic Center Drive). The free event will feature pony rides, carnival games, picnic foods, and the Easter Bunny.

If you're a fan of roses, in Glendale, also in the west valley, there's the yearly Sunshine and Roses show at the Deer Valley High School ( from 1 PM to 4PM. It's free.

On Sunday:

In Scottsdale, at the Civic Center Mall (7380 E. Second Street), there will be Sunday A'Fair, a yearly celebration with free music, arts and crafts, and children's activities. It all begins at noon, and ends around 4:30. The McCarthy Brothers Band plays from noon to 1:30, then one of our favorite groups, Sistah Blue, will be performing from 2 PM to 4:30 PM. It's outside on the lawn area, so take your lawn chairs and enjoy the beautiful weather we're having.