/ The Phoenix Traveler
Phoenix — By Heather Wright Schlichting on September 16, 2009 at 4:25 pm

6 Must-Do’s in Phoenix this fall

Hike Phoenix and other Arizona Trails
Withe cooler temperatures on their way, the fall is a great time to get out and experience the endless amount of hiking trails available throughout the Valley and the whole state.  Hiking allows the entire family to get out after a long, hot summer for exercise to enjoy great our magnificent views.  Certain trails also allow dogs.

Here is an online guide to find a trail that fits your preferences in the Valley.
You can also take advantage of amazing trails around the state.

Ballet Under the Stars
Ballet Arizona raises the curtain on its 24th year by kicking off their season with their free outdoor performances in late September at various parks throughout the Valley.  Even if you’re not a fan of the ballet these performances give you a taste of the art form and provide you and your family a great opportunity to picnic outdoors and enjoy a performance for free.

All performances begin at 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, 9/24: Fountain Park, Fountain Hills
12925 N Saguaro Boulevard

Friday, 9/25: Tempe Center for the Arts Park, Tempe
700 W Rio Salado Parkway, Amphitheater
The Amphitheatre is located on the East side of the theatre complex.

Saturday, 9/26: Steele Indian School Park, Phoenix
3rd Street and Indian School Rd.
Parking is suggested in parking lot furthest North and the stage will be set in the Amphitheatre Area just to the West of the parking lot.

Sunday, 9/27: Sahuaro Ranch Park, Glendale
59th Avenue & Mountain View Road
Performance held on the outdoor stage in front of the Historic Fruit Packing Building.

Pumpkin and Chili Party at Schnepf Farms
Even though the temps are beginning to cool down, if you are from a different part of the country it can be difficult to get into the spirit of fall when it’s 90 degrees.  But us Phoenicians are fortunate to have a working farm that hosts the typical pumpkin picking, hayrides, bonfires, etc. that we all remember as kids and look forward to every year.

Been around the valley for 68 years, Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek hosts their annual Pumpkin and Chili Party. Voted three years in a row as Arizona’s Best Fall Event, the farm is open every Thursday – Sunday the entire month of October. Fireworks every night, pig racing, train rides and much more.

Admission: $14.00 per person
Discount Tickets for $12.00 can be purchased at ANY FRY’S
Children 2 and under are FREE!

Farm Entrance Address:
24810 South Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek

Hidden in the Hills Artist Tour and Sale
I look forward to this event every year!

Not your typical arts festival, the 13th annual Hidden in the Hills Artist Tour features 46 art studios in an artist community in the Sonoran Desert Foothills (Cave Creek, Carefree and North Scottsdale) featuring over 150 participating artists.  Area maps outline each of the art studios presenting artwork and the names and types of medium each artist will present. 

This event is a great way to experience this part of the Valley, see beautiful vistas and meet interesting artists with amazing works.

NOVEMBER 20, 21 & 22 and 27, 28 & 29
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

Gilbert Days Rodeo
Gilbert Days is a weeklong celebration November 13-22. The Gilbert Days Parade takes place Saturday morning and immediately after, oddly enough is the After Parade Party outside Gilbert Town Hall complete with food, entertainment, and a Chili Cook Off.

The main events feature cowboys and cowgirls that come from all over the country to participate in the Gilbert Days Jackpot Roping, Competition Barrel Racing and the Gilbert Days IPRA Rodeo. But before the adults have their fun my favorite part is the little kids who get to compete in the Lil’ Dudes Rodeo.  These little cowboys and cowgirls try to rope baby sheep and perform other rodeo skills, but end up running around the stadium in total disarray.  Non-stop fun!

This celebration is a great way to see the top rodeo competitors in the IPRA, experience carnival rides, games, prizes, and yummy/fattening concessions.

Chiles and Chocolate
Saturday and Sunday, November 14 and 15

Who says you can’t have it both ways?  Here’s a unique culinary festival at the Desert Botanical Garden celebrating both spicy and sweet.  Chiles and Chocolate features an open-air market filled with gourmet chocolates, salsas and other specialties available from local merchants for purchase.  Cooking demonstrations, children’s activities and live entertainment from a local DJ and Flamenco dance instruction make this a sizzlin’ event.

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