Great Arizona Picnic

Two weekends ago we attended the Great Arizona Picnic as part of the Scottsdale Culinary Festival and I'm just now getting around to writing a recap - yikes. You can't go wrong with food in abundance, live music and spending family time outdoors on a nice spring day, so if you live in the Phoenix metro or are in town dodging the northern winter, this April festival is a must! (You can read about my take on small/local festivals here and a recap of the Arizona Vegetarian Food festival here.)

We've attended this one the past two years, and it's quickly becoming our own little family tradition. The Scottsdale Culinary Festival is a pretty big deal around here - this year is its 37th edition! (the longest running event of its type in the nation). According to the website, the festival hosted over 35,000 guests, 20 events, 100 restaurants, dozens of top chefs and countless fine wine and spirit selections - for the lucky non-breastfeeding folks - this year. It lasts about a week, but the main event, the Great Arizona Picnic, happens over the weekend and it features 50 restaurants, chef demonstrations, live bands and specialty tasting venues.

Folks jamming to soul and funk by one of three stages

Featuring and supporting nonprofits is a big part of this blog, so this event also fits that category well! The festival is the primary fundraiser for the Scottsdale League for the Arts, an organization that supports artists, art programs, and arts education.

My tiny dance partner


The Great Arizona Picnic takes place in the Civic Center Mall, downtown Scottsdale, and just the venue alone is worth the trip. The area is dog-friendly and there are gardens, fountains, beautiful trees, shops and restaurants. Although this is a really popular event, it never feels too crowded, which is important since we have our tiny man with us.

Civic Center Mall gardens

You can find very low-priced tickets to this event on discount websites like this and this, and then decide whether to spend just a few dollars to try a dish or two, or splurge and visit every single vendor there is! We had a really fun time and went home full-bellied and happy as can be! 

What's the funnest/weirdest festival you've ever attended?

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10 comments:

  1. Wow, that looks like so much fun! We have the Destin Seafood Festival here, ironically it barely has any seafood but it's located on the harbor. That venue is a gorgeous place for a festival and you can't go wrong with food and live music.

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    1. Sounds like a fun one to attend! I agree, a gorgeous venue, food and music makes for a great day!

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  2. What a fun event!!! Glad it's becoming a tradition for you guys! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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    1. Thanks Biana, we are too! Ps. thanks for hosting the weekending linkup!

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  3. Gosh we need to get out there more. It looks like it was fun, and I love-love the Civic Center! When we lived in a small town, they had a salsa festival, which was a huge deal for the town every year. However, everything was so spicy that I never could fully enjoy it. lol BUT the atmosphere is my favorite part of festivals.

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    1. Hahah I'm a spice wuss too, so I feel your pain! But you're definitely right, the atmosphere is my favorite part too!

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  4. That festival looks so much fun! It reminds me of Jazzfest or Essence Festival in New Orleans. How did the babe like it?

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    1. I hear such good things about both those NOLA festivals, I can't wait to go! Baby boy loved it - anywhere he can be free, outdoors and people watch/flirt makes him a happy camper!

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  5. This sounds like my kind of festival. I love sitting on a blanket, listening to music, and eating delicious food and drink!

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    1. Same here, Andrea! It's definitely one of our favorite family activities. Thanks for stopping by!

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About the Writer

I'm Louise, a Tampa Bay based Brazilian-American travel blogger. Join us as we learn and share the ins-and-outs of traveling with a toddler and our sweet rescue pup Oreo, while promoting local nonprofits and wellness along the way.