Fun Summer Festivals in Flagstaff
Writer Shoshana Leon
Photography Courtesy of Andrew Maguire and Associates and Discover Flagstaff
Phoenicians are always looking to escape the summer’s unrelenting heat. While some people head to the beach, Flagstaff is a closer option that offers a variety of summer festivals perfect for a cool getaway.
Because of its breathtaking scenery and beautiful weather with summer temperatures averaging in the low 80s, Flagstaff is an ideal destination for summer events and festivals. One of the best times to visit Flagstaff is to celebrate the Fourth of July. Flagstaff has been named a top destination for Independence Day activities by Travel and Leisure magazine and other national media.
“Between the parade, festivals, Independence Day pops concert and fireworks, this mountain town is a must-visit,” said Lori Pappas, marketing and media relations manager for Discover Flagstaff.
Independence Day kicks off with the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce parade, which attracts 20,000 people annually, followed by a Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra Independence Day concert at the Pepsi Amphitheater and the Lights on the Lawn fire-safe fireworks display featuring live music, food trucks and children’s activities at the Continental Country Club.
An addition to Flagstaff’s Independence Day events calendar, Festival in the Pines is returning after a 10-year hiatus. Taking place at the Fort Tuthill Coconino County Fairgrounds July 4 through 6, Festival in the Pines features art, music, food and family activities.
Formerly known as SummerFest, Festival in the Pines was created by Andrew Maguire, president of Andrew Maguire and Associates. The company produces art-focused events including ArtFest of Scottsdale, now in its 26th year.
“We really felt a need for the return of a family-oriented festival that presents art enthusiasts with some of the country’s finest artists along with great entertainment, food and fun for all,” said Maguire. “We had been doing the festival for 23 years prior to its hiatus and we’ve received such demand for its return that we’re thrilled to make it happen.”
Festival in the Pines is expected to include more than 150 artists and vendors from around the country showcasing pottery, paintings, jewelry, glass, sculptures and more, as well as two stages of live musical performances, international food, a beer and wine garden, and creative activities for children.
“After speaking with the president of the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce who puts on the Fourth of July parade, we realized there was an opportunity to provide the people of Flagstaff and all of the holiday weekend visitors with an exciting event that offers something for everyone,” said Maguire. “Also, the county invested heavily in the restoration of the fairgrounds and this solidified our dream of returning to Flagstaff with the best possible venue and infrastructure.”
In addition to Fourth of July festivities, Flagstaff has a busy summer festival season, celebrating arts, food and drink, culture and the local community. On June 1 and 2, locals and visitors can enjoy the Wool and Fiber Festival and the fiber arts competition at the Pioneer Museum.
Also June 1 and 2, the Hullabaloo at Wheeler Park is a celebration of all things Flagstaff, bringing together families, artists, local businesses and non-profits for a bike parade, costume contest, live music, food and brews, circus acts, children’s activities and more.
Flagstaff Blues and Brews, Arizona’s largest blues festival, takes place June 7 and 8 and features 10 musical acts, family activities, artists and food vendors.
Other June festivals in Flagstaff include the Made in the Shade beer tasting festival June 8 at the Pepsi Amphitheater; Pride in the Pines June 22; and the Flagstaff Folk Festival June 29 through July 3.
Following Flagstaff’s Fourth festivities, there are several other festivals and events perfect for a weekend visit, including Art in the Park, which takes place at Wheeler Park July 5 through 7 and again on Labor Day weekend.
More Flagstaff summer events include the Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture July 6 and 7; the Arizona Highland Celtic Festival July 20 and 21; the Arizona Mead and Cider Festival Aug. 3; and the Navajo Festival of Arts and Culture Aug. 3 and 4.
“To say there’s something for everyone during Flagstaff’s festival lineup really isn’t doing it justice,” said Pappas. “If you or your family are looking to shop, dance, unwind, drink, dine, learn or simply celebrate, you can count on finding a festival in Flagstaff that fits the bill.”