Running with 1,500-pound bulls is inherently dangerous—the organizers of the stateside Running with the Bulls don't deny that. But that doesn't mean that the thrill of Pamplona has to come with the mistreatment of the animals, which is why participants who hit, slap, harass, or otherwise impede the progress of the bulls will be removed from the venue. With those distractions aside, spectators can focus on the essence of the run: watching 12 horn-swinging bulls dash through a quarter-mile course on the heels of runners who must have heard that this event was called Running with the Lambs. But the event gives the community more than elevated heart rates, as each three-day spectacle begins with a charity run that benefits Operation Hawkeye, an organization that supports the families of Special Operations forces who've been killed in combat.
The two-day Taste of Cave Creek event gathers more than 25 local restaurants and the region's most renowned chili chefs and salsa makers at Stagecoach Village. Two stages host live music performances, while samples of barbecue, Mexican, Italian, and other unique types of food are served. Judges and guests taste the contestants' chili and salsas during a cook off before their eyes feast on sculptures, paintings, and artisan jewelry at the art exhibits. Throughout the evening, guests can enjoy tastings of tequila and sip on drinks at a wine and craft-beer garden.
The Festival of Cheer celebrates the holidays with a wintry mix of cultural performances, fun park entertainment, and visits with Santa, while piling on tons of snow to recreate the magic of a white Christmas in the desert. Kids 12 and under can leap around a bouncy house, dig into the slush for a massive snowball fight in the play land, or get their faces painted like their favorite pet or clown philosopher. In respect for the citizens of his winter wonderland, Santa smiles for pictures with both the naughty and nice and doles out take-home souvenirs. Cultural presentations feature live dance and music by Romanian, Mexican, German, African, and Irish troupes. Meanwhile, families can wield their provided passport to sample traditional cuisines and cultural histories from various country-representative booths. Children under 6 receive free admission, and all food and games are included in admission.
Winter Fest kicks off the holiday season with a fun-packed collection of attractions suited for revelers of all ages. The glittering lights of a 50-foot Christmas tree illuminate gracefully gliding ice skaters, and a 15-foot, life-size snow globe teaches a seasonal lesson on weather patterns. Santa Claus waits to snap smiling photos with guests. Carnival-style attractions, such as a Ferris wheel, laser tag, go-kart racing, and a bounce house provide recreation for visitors young and young-at-heart. Vendors supply tempting eats, refueling holiday shoppers as they visit 300 on-site craft and retail vendors.
Nestled within 18,500 square feet and designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's quintet of galleries—formerly a cineplex's five theaters—have hosted changing and permanent exhibitions of art, architecture, and design since 1999. The outdoor sculpture garden features acclaimed pieces such as James Turrell's experiential Knight Rise skyspace and James Carpenter Design Associates' Scrim Wall. After viewing the art outside, visitors can return indoors to explore furnishings and jewelry in the shop or examine work by local youth in the young@art gallery. The museum's Visions Teen Program continues to nurture burgeoning talent, pairing teenagers with visual-art teachers and visiting artists. Adults can also enrich their artistic know-how at lectures and workshops until they are able to draw a perfect circle with a pencil still tucked behind their ear. The museum's lounge fosters artistic communities through events ranging from screenings of international art movies to art-making sessions.
The Venue Scottsdale is a chameleon of a building, as ready to effortlessly host an elegant wedding reception as it is to present a comedy show or concert. The 29,000 square-foot, multi-level confines feature an indoor cobblestone courtyard and leaf-covered balconies, offering an outdoorsy ambience without the worry of inclement weather. Upstairs, a ballroom and a VIP lounge welcome private event goers, while a comedy club inspires knock-knock jokes with its own private entrance.