By Colleen Sparks
Several popular events that feature food, music, dancing, floats and other family-oriented fun will return this fall after these gatherings had to be canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Satisfy your cravings for cuisine and cocktails at Arizona Restaurant Week Friday, Sept. 17, to Sunday, Sept. 26. The participating restaurants and their menus will be posted at https://arizonarestaurantweek.com. During this week customers can order three-course dinners that cost $33, $44 and $55.
“We see the momentum building again,” said Steve Chucri, president and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association. “This is an opportunity for people to go and try those new restaurants and new offerings from existing restaurants.”
About 120 restaurants had signed up to participate in Arizona Restaurant Week as of last month, Chucri said. During the spring of 2020 event there were 112 restaurants involved. Area restaurants that will participate in this fall’s Arizona Restaurant Week include Ajo Al’s Mexican Café, Chantico, Huss Brewing Co. and LON’s at The Hermosa Inn.
Something new this year is Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week, which will celebrate everything vegan with full-service restaurants, fast casual eateries, bakeries, coffee shops, food trucks and meal delivery services participating. Jason Wyrick, a chef at Casa Terra restaurant and the owner, creator and executive chef of The Vegan Taste, and Jozh Watson of Phoenix Vegan are coordinating this event. North Central eateries that will participate include Salvadoreño Restaurant, which has a location at 8911 N. Central Ave.; Tesoro Vegano at 720 W. Highland Ave. and Urban Beans at 3508 N. Seventh St.
To learn more, visit www.phoenixvegan.com.
Those who love to grow their own food might enjoy participating in the Great American Seed Up when it returns for its first live event since the pandemic started on Friday, Oct. 1 and Saturday, Oct. 2 at North Phoenix Baptist Church at 5757 N. Central Ave. The seed room will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 1 and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 2. Participants can scoop up as many seeds as they like using popcorn buckets. There will be a huge variety of seeds for vegetables, herbs, beans, grains and flowers.
Last year organizers held a Great American Seed Up in a Box, where customers picked up their seeds rather than walking around inside the church to collect them. Tickets cost $7.50 and include access to the seeds, as well as educational webinars, podcasts and Seed Up Saturday online educational events this year.
To learn more, visit https://greatamericanseedup.org.
Food also will be a big part of The Original Phoenix Greek Festival Friday, Oct. 8, through Sunday, Oct. 10, at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral at 1973 E. Maryland Ave. This festival had to be canceled last year because of the pandemic. It will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 8; from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 9 and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 10.
Expect authentic Greek foods including gyros, kalamari, pastitsio, spanakopita and lamb roasted on a spit, as well as many desserts that Greek yiayias (grandmothers) have baked including baklava.
Greek folk dancers will perform to a live band. Vendors will sell jewelry, artwork, clothing accessories and other items. Visitors can take tours of the cathedral and view vintage photographs in the Hellenic Museum of Phoenix. Most of the proceeds generated from the festival will go to the cathedral’s ministries, with a small portion going to a charitable cause.
Tickets for the Greek festival are $5 for adults and free of charge for children under age 12. Seniors ages 60 and older can visit the festival for free from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 9. To learn more, visit http://phoenixgreekfestival.org.
The Phoenix Veterans Day Parade will return in person this year at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day starting around Montebello and Central avenues and ending at Seventh Street near Indian School Road. Honoring America’s Veterans, a non-profit organization that holds the parade, has taken nominations for seven people – who served in the military during different eras – to represent their comrades at the parade. High school bands will perform and military vehicles will travel the parade route, said Paula Pedene, executive director of Honoring America’s Veterans. Healthcare workers, firefighters, police officers and paramedics are invited to walk or ride in trucks or floats.
An essay contest for high school students is underway with the deadline to submit essays on Sept. 15. One winner in each grade – ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th – will ride in the parade.
To learn more, visit www.honoringamericasveterans.org.
Families with young children will enjoy the “Be Kind Crew” and Phoenix Police and Fire departments’ Camp Kindness interactive events from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, at Christown Spectrum mall at 1607 W. Bethany Home Road. At this free event, The Be Kind People Project, a national non-profit organization, will perform as a way to promote performing arts, while youths can play games and learn health and self-esteem principles. To learn more, visit https://christownspectrum.shopkimco.com.