March marks the start of the festival season in metro Phoenix, and there are plenty to choose from in our list this week and weekend. Check out Final Four Fan Fest, the free March Madness Music Festival and much more.
3/28: Eric Church
The Country Thunder Arizona alum is heading back to Phoenix as part of his just-announced Holdin’ My Own Tour. This will be Eric Church’s first tour without an opening act Here’s what we said about Church’s superb 2016 Country Thunder performance: The crowd at Country Thunder sang along to damn near every song in Church’s set, from “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag” and “Guys Like Me” from his first album, “Sinners Like Me,” to his latest singles, “Record Year,” and “Mr. Misunderstood,” on which he name-checks Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and Elvis Costello. And he was loving every minute of it, grinning ear to ear while basking in the glory of those cheers that greeted every song with a boyish enthusiasm that couldn’t have been more contagious.
Details: 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 28. Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. $22.25-$105. 602-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.
3/29: Arizona Storytellers Project: Stylish Stories
Join azcentral.com and The Republic for a night of stories about how everything from high-end glossies to high school outfit-of-the-day Instagram looks help us define ourselves as cultures and individuals.
Details: 6 p.m. check-in, stories 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Mar. 29. Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. $10; $5 students. 602-444-8605, tickets.azcentral.com.
3/31-4/3: Final Four Fan Fest
Come celebrate the Final Four weekend in Phoenix with a festival that is jam-packed for basketball fans of all ages. The event includes youth clinics, concerts, interactive games, giveaways, autograph signings and much more.
Details: March 31-April 3. 12-8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday; 12-6 p.m. Monday. Phoenix Convention Center, 33 S. Third Street, Phoenix. $8, $4 for seniors and military, before March 15. Free for age 12 and under. ncaa.com/final-four/fan-fest/overview.
3/31: Keith Urban at March Madness Music Festival
This is the first of three free concerts held at Margaret T. Hance Park as part of the NCAA Final Four Weekend festivities. This is the second time Urban has been to the Valley since releasing last year’s “ripCORD,” the Australian native’s ninth studio album. Urban spent 12 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s country charts with “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” one of five songs from the album to go Top 10 on the country charts. His hits include two platinum country chart-toppers, both from his eighth album, “Fuse” — “We Were Us,” a duet with Miranda Lambert, and “Cop Car.”
Details: Event runs 4-10 p.m. Friday, March 31. Margaret T. Hance Park, 67 W. Culver St., Phoenix. Free. ncaa.com/final-four/ncaa-march-madness-music-festival.
3/31-4/2: Tempe Festival of the Arts
As many as 350 artist booths will line Mill Avenue and surrounding streets representing 17 arts categories, including wood, photography, ceramics, wearable art and jewelry. There also will be live entertainment, street performers, food and beverage vendors. Kids Block is a new kids area that will include activities for kids and artwork made by their peers.
Details: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday, March 31-April 2. Mill Avenue between Third Street and University Drive, Tempe. Free. tempefestivalofthearts.com.
3/31: Third Annual Sprout Film Festival
Check out a full day of films that feature people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Some of the films are also produced and directed by people with disabilities. The event will benefit he Arc of Arizona and Chandler/Gilbert. There are three shows: 9:30 a.m., noon and 7 p.m.
Details: Starts 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 31. Pollack Tempe Cinemas, 1825 E. Elliot Road, Tempe. $5 general admission per show; or $4 for groups of 10 or more. $12 full festival pass. 602-234-2721, www.arcarizona.org.
4/1: The Chainsmokers at March Madness Music Festival
This is the second of three free concerts held at Margaret T. Hance Park as part of the NCAA Final Four Weekend festivities. The Grammy-winning electro-pop duo will return in early May on the 40-city Memories… Do Not Open Tour, named for their forthcoming full-length debut, which has to suck for anyone who purchased tickets for the other show.The duo spent 12 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot with quadruple-platinum “Closer,” last year’s longest run at No. 1. Their other hits include the platinum “#Selfie” and the multi-platinum smashes “Roses” and “Don’t Let Me Down.” Their latest single, “Something Just Like This,” is their sixth Top 10 appearance on the Hot 100.
Also playing: Capital Cities, Grouplove and Leon Bridges.
Details: Event runs 2-10:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1. Margaret T. Hance Park, 67 W. Culver St., Phoenix. Free. ncaa.com/final-four/ncaa-march-madness-music-festival.
4/1: Dogfest Walk ‘n’ Roll
Dogfest participants are helping to raise money so that Canine Companions may continue in their efforts to provide highly trained assistance animals for free. The festival itself includes a dog walk, games, vendors, and demonstrations by skilled service dogs.
DETAILS: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, April 1. Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale. Free; donations accepted. 480-312-7275, www.scottsdaleaz.gov.
4/1-2: Phoenix Pride Parade and Festival
More than 2,000 participants, including those with decorated vehicles and colorful floats are expected for the parade. It starts on Third Street at Thomas Road and heads north to Indian School Road. More than 150 entertainment performances on five stages, more than 300 exhibitors and food vendors will be on hand for the festival. The Arts Expo, KidSpace and Dance Pavilions are some of the highlights. This event raises funds for Phoenix Pride Community Programs.
Details: April 1-2. Festival: Noon-9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Parade: 10 a.m. Sunday. Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Road. $15-30. VIP tickets $75. 602-277-7433, phoenixpride.org/events.
4/1: Earth Day Celebration
The 5th annual Earth Day Celebration and Lady Bug release, hosted by Horizon Health and Wellness and AJ Parks and Recreation and many supporters, invite families to Earth Heart Park to enjoy live music, dancing, face painting, art projects, piñata breaking, free raffles and more. There will also be a hands-on lady bug release at 10 a.m.
DETAILS: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, April 1. Earth Heart Park, 625 N. Plaza Dr., Apache Junction. Free. 480-474-5240, www.ajcity.net/fitfamilies.
4/2: Final Four Dribble
As March Madness culminates in metro Phoenix for 2017, here are five opportunities for your family to enjoy the festivities.
Taking place the Sunday of Final Four weekend, thousands of children (registered online) will take the court by storm where they will be given their very own official NCAA basketball and dribble them on a route that ends at the entrance of Fan Fest. The free event includes the basketball and a t-shirt.
DETAILS: 11 a.m. Sunday, April 2. Heritage Square, 115 N. Sixth St., Phoenix. Free. 602-261-8063, heritagesquarephx.org.
MARCH MADNESS: March Madness 2017 food deals guide | Final Four Fan Fest Guide | Final Four Music Festival Guide | Q&A with Final Four Music Fest Headliner Aerosmith’s Joe Perry | 5 ways kids can enjoy the March Madness festivities
4/2: Aerosmith with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at at March Madness Music Festival
This is the third of three free concerts held at Margaret T. Hance Park as part of the NCAA Final Four Weekend festivities. Aerosmith launched their career in the ’70s, rocking arenas while ruling the airwaves with singles as timeless as “Sweet Emotion,” “Dream On,” “Last Child,” “Walk This Way,” “Back in the Saddle” and a cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together.” They went on to stage an unexpected, multi-platinum comeback after bottoming out in the ’80s and getting a slicker version of their mojo back on 1987’s “Permanent Vacation,” which added three hit singles — “Dude (Looks Like a Lady),” “Angel” and “Rag Doll” — to their legacy. Subsequent hits include “Love in an Elevator,” “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “What it Takes,” “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” and “Jaded.”
Also playing: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Blink-182 and Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats.
Details: Event runs 3-10 p.m. Sunday, April 2. Margaret T. Hance Park, 67 W. Culver St., Phoenix. Free. ncaa.com/final-four/ncaa-march-madness-music-festival.
Through 4/1: Spring training
Spring in Arizona means perfect weather, day drinking and, of course, baseball. Spring training draws huge crowds each year to one of the 10 statewide stadiums and 15 Major League Baseball teams. Tempe Diablo Stadium, where the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim train, and Sloan Park, home of the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies, are ideal for ASU students on the Tempe campus. One of the most popular venues is Scottsdale Stadium, where San Francisco Giants play, because it’s in the heart of downtown Scottsdale. Most of the stadiums have dirt-cheap lawn or bleacher seats, and it’s even cheaper to go during the week.
Through 3/31: Shamrock Farms Farm Tour
Shamrock Farms offers a one-hour guided tour for guests through its real working dairy farm. In March, additional tour times will be offered throughout the week at 1 and 2 p.m. during the spring break season.
Details: Reservations are required, call for times. Through March 31. Shamrock Farms, 40034 W. Clayton Rd., Stanfield. $9, $6 for children. 480-988-1452, www.shamrockfarms.net.
Through 4/2: Arizona Renaissance Festival
It comes every year, and it’s one of the largest Renaissance Festivals in the U.S. — the Arizona Renaissance Festival. Families can enjoy food, drinks, shows, the festival marketplace and jousting. You can dress up with the many characters roaming around area, or you can watch the festival unfold with its usual color and excitement.
Details: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday-Sunday and President’s Day, through April 2. Arizona Renaissance Festival, 12601 E. US Highway 60, Gold Canyon. Online tickets are $23 for adults, $13 for children 5-12, free for 5 and under. Box office tickets are $24 for adults, $14 for kids 5-12, free for kids 5 and under, $21 for seniors 60 and over. 520-463-2600, arizona.renfestinfo.com/?.
Through 4/16: ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’
Arizona Broadway Theatre, the big west-side dinner theater, serves up Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1970 rock opera which tells the Good News through the eyes of the ultimate betrayer, Judas Iscariot.
Details: Through Sunday, April 16. Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 W. Paradise Lane, Peoria. Call for prices. 623-776-8400, azbroadway.org.
Through 5/29: ‘Planet Shark: Predator or Prey’
Shark Week’s a thing for a reason. People love sharks. Or to be scared of sharks. Either way, the new Arizona Science Center exhibit promises to be cool, with SENSORY4 Technology for a walking, multi-sensory cinematic experience. “Come face-to-face with the great white shark” and “gain a whole new level of respect for the ocean’s oldest predator.” Oh, and get a look-see at the teeth, the jaws and at fossils as old as 370 million years old.
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, through Monday, May 29. Arizona Science Center, 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix. $11.95 adults, $9.95 for children ages 3-17. azscience.org.
Through 7/16: ‘Samurai: Armor From the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection’
More than 140 suits of armor, helmets and face guards, weapons, horse trappings and other battle gear trace the evolution of the distinctive Japanese warrior culture through exquisite workmanship and design. The pieces come from one of the best and largest collections in the world and will be featured in an illustrated catalog featuring essays by experts in samurai armor.
Details: Through July 16. $18; $15 seniors; $13 students with ID; $9 ages 6-17. Admission is free 3-9 p.m. every Wednesday, 6-10 p.m., on First Fridays and the second weekend of every month. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. First Fridays; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesdays; and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Closed Mondays. Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave. 602-257-1880, www.phxart.org.
Alison Stanton contributed to this article.
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