Despite an occasional haboob and a recent record-breaking downpour, the blazing Arizona summer drags on. Day after day of high temps take their toll on us all. But, anticipation is in the air and the questions grow from small whispers to loud groans. When will the cool weather come? When can we stop being simply the “dry-heat desert” and once again become the envy of the country?
In a few short weeks, the anticipation and waiting will come to an end. All will be forgotten. Temperatures will fall and doors will be thrown open. Individuals and families will emerge from their summer cocoons, hitting the hiking trails, outdoor malls, golf courses, resorts, and parks with fervor as intense as the recently dissipated summer heat. As most of the country begins its exodus from the outdoors and migrates toward furnaces, we begin to stretch our legs and explore anew all this city has to offer.
And yes, the sixth largest city in the country has a lot to offer—thanks in large part to the wonderful diversity of our metro area. Central High School in Phoenix boasts a student body representing over 60 languages, the Arizona Department of Economic Security reports a refugee population of nearly 63,000 in Phoenix last year, and foods like injera, kimchi, tortillas, halal goat, veal wieners, tom yum paste, and ceviche are all readily available. Diversity awaits us all, if we open our eyes to see who our neighbors are.
The fall in Phoenix ushers in the eight months of the year which make us proud to call this city home. And with it comes festival season. It’s my favorite time of the year—when the richness and variety of cultures in the Valley are at our fingertips. Having lived here nearly my whole life, I’ve discovered that our neighbors have traditions, food, music, and dance worth learning about and celebrating.
Here are seven festivals you won’t want to miss.
Chile Pepper Festival
Oktoberfest @ Tempe Town Lake
Arab American Festival
Arizona Asian Festival
Header photo via Wikimedia Commons
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