Family-friendly spring festivals

Taiko drums at the Arizona Matsuri Festival

Explore different cultures, enjoy the local arts scene and learn something new at one of the many spring festivals around the Valley in coming weeks and months. Here’s our roundup of some of our family-friendly favorites:

Arizona Matsuri (February 23-24). The theme of this annual Japanese festival is “Old & New,” recognizing the rich history of Japan’s past along with its new and modern influences. Listen to taiko drums, watch dance, comedy and acting performances, eat Asian-inspired food, and shop the marketplace. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. FREE. Heritage Park, 115 N. 6th St., Phoenix.

Tres Rios Nature Festival (March 2-3). This free two-day outdoor festival showcases the wildlife, history and culture of the Gila River drainage, which is made up of the Gila, Salt and Agua Fria rivers. Enjoy guided bird tours, canoeing, archery, fishing and learning about Southwest wildlife. Plus live music and a beer garden for adults. 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Base & Meridian Wildlife Area, 7602 S. Avondale Blvd., Avondale.

Indian Fair and Market (March 2-3). The Heard Museum Guild hosts its 61st annual event showcasing Native American jewelry, art, pottery, basketry, photography and sculpture from all over the U.S. and Canada. Plus cultural dances, artist demonstrations, storytelling and crafts for kids. $20; free for ages 16 and younger. 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. 602-252-8840 or

Innings Festival (March 2-3). This two-day music festival features rock, pop and country performances from Sheryl Crow, Grouplove, Jimmy Eat World, Band of Horses and more. Plus food vendors, family activities and appearances from professional baseball players. One-day admission starts at $99, free for ages 7 and under. Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe. 480-350-5200 or

Arizona Russian Festival (March 3). Visit Russia without leaving the state! Enjoy an afternoon of art, dancing, live music, ethnic food, games and more from Russia and other Eastern European countries. Entrance is $15 for adults; $10 for students; free for children 12 and younger. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Enchanted Island at Encanto Park, 1202 W. Encanto Blvd., Phoenix.

Arizona Aloha Festival (March 8-10). Experience the sights, sounds and flavors of Hawaiian culture at the 25th annual Arizona Aloha Festival. Enjoy songs and dances from the islands, plus traditional crafts, travel information and kid activities. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway.

Ostrich Festival (March 8-10). A festival, a fair and a parade! The 31st annual Ostrich Festival is a community and family event featuring live ostrich races, ostrich-themed activities and local and regional music, dance and entertainment. Performers include Flo Rida, The Commodores, and Andy Grammer. 2 p.m to midnight Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday, 10 a.m to 11 p.m. Sunday. $15; $8 ages 5-12; free for ages 4 and younger. Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road, Chandler.

Art Detour (March 14-18). Downtown Phoenix’s original art walk and longest-running arts festival celebrates its 31st anniversary. Step into 100 artist studios, galleries and pop-up spaces and enjoy cultural performances and family-friendly activities, including the 12th annual Mutant Piñata Show. Free. Events, exhibits and times vary.

Scottsdale Arts Festival (March 8-10). This three-day celebration of art, music, food and family fun offers more than 150 juried artists, continuous live music and entertainment, gourmet food trucks and tons of creative activities for kids at the Imagine Nation Family area. All ticket holders get free admission to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday. $12; $20 for a two-day pass; free for ages 12 and younger. Scottsdale Civic Center Park, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Faire (March 16). It’s the 36th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Family Faire in downtown Phoenix! The 10 a.m. parade travels south from Third and Sheridan streets to Willetta Street and includes marching bands, Irish step dancers, bagpipers, floats and more. The Faire follows at Margaret T. Hance Park with three stages of performers, food and craft vendors and merchandise. $12; $10 for seniors and military; free for ages 12 and younger. 602-280-9221 or

Arizona Bao Festival (March 24). More than 10 local businesses will be making steamed buns, gua bao, BBQ pork buns, sweet buns and other inspired dumpling creations. $15. Unexpected Venue, 734 W. Polk St., Phoenix.

Tempe Festival of the Arts (March 29-31). As many as 375 artist booths line Mill Avenue and the surrounding streets during this three-day festival weekend. Kids Block is a hands-on interactive block for young artists and a youth exhibition featuring more than 300 student works from around the Valley; items will be on display and for sale Saturday and Sunday. Chalk-A-Lot Street at Fourth and Mill features professional chalk muralists competing for awards, and the public can contribute their own chalk art. Plus, food and beverage vendors and live entertainment.10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Free.

French Fry & Music Festival (April 20). For every time you passed a drive-thru despite your french fry craving, your reward is now. The inaugural French Fry & Music Festival, produced by the same people behind Phoenix Pizza Festival and Downtown Donut Festival, gathers over 20 fry vendors offering the salty creations for $2 or $3 a pop. There will also be musicians, bands, DJs, and beer and wine. The whole thing goes down from 2 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at Margaret T. Hance Park. Tickets are $15 in advance.

Haru in the Garden (April 23). Usher in the spring season with Asian fusion dancing, Japanese folk music, Chinese traditional string musicians, Taiko drumming and a Sapporo beer garden. 6-9:30 p.m. $25-$30; $5 for ages 3-12; Free for ages 2 and younger. Japanese Friendship Garden (Ro Ho En). 1125 N. 3rd Ave., Phoenix. 602-256-3204 or

Festival of Tales (April 27). Enjoy a fun day of reading, literacy and cultural activities for children — including storytelling, arts and crafts, games, face painting, live music and food trucks. The event brings books to life and provides nearly 5,000 free books to children. The free-to-the-public event is staffed and funded by Paradise Valley Community College students, staff and volunteers and the nonprofit Southwest Human Development. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. FREE. Kranitz Student Center, 18401 N. 32nd St., Phoenix.

Find more family-friendly events on the calendar.