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.
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.
Seasoned boat captains and crustacean prospectors Sig Hansen, Johnathan Hillstrand, and Andy Hillstrand gather to share with audience members their tales of struggle and survival during crab season on the high seas, as partly documented by the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch. Fishing the Bering Sea in the middle of winter demands strong wills—which can come together in times of treacherous weather and 100-foot waves or come to blows about who performs better in the three-legged crabwalk race. Selected audience members will also have the chance to don the survival suits from the Time Bandit. Following the story-swapping and previously unreleased video footage, greenhorns and avid fans will have the opportunity to launch questions at the captains, wave giant foam claws, and learn how to communicate in claw-snap Morse code.
Called one of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals by MovieMaker magazine, the Phoenix Film Festival screens more than 150 feature films and shorts in a variety of genres. With the VIP pass, festival-goers get a complimentary T-shirt, priority seating, and front-of-line bragging rights, and can see any of their choice of films (except the opening-night gala) throughout the festival. VIPs can also attend any of the events from April 1 through April 7, such as the Friday-night or Saturday-night parties and the festival's awards party, during which the winners of the prestigious Copper Wing Awards will be announced and this year's Best Director will sit on a dunk tank filled with scalding popcorn butter.
David Gray's soothing folk-rock sounds and heartfelt lyrics have serenaded fans for nearly 20 years, earning the artist accolades and chart-topping hits in the United States and U.K. Gravelly voiced Gray mixes poetic introspection with ethereal guitar melodies to create songs that plumb soulful depths like existential octopuses. On his successful Lost and Found tour, Gray will supercharge his signature acoustics with live-performance electricity, performing a bevy of songs including numbers from his recent album Foundling. Groupon-holding spectators will sate aural appetites from level 3 seats—located in the outer banks of the orchestra and loge levels and in parts of the balcony—of the historical Orpheum Theater, with quadruple tier seating that provides ample views of every note as they flutter away from the stage and into the embrace of a nearby eardrums.
Beloved boy bands New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys rev the engines of adoration among droves of fans with their poptastic summer tour. New Kids on the Block has been plucking heartstrings and handcrafting harmonies since 1986, combining a collection of international hits such as "Hangin' Tough" and "Step by Step" with five-part choreography and fashionable duds. Following in its footsteps, the Backstreet Boys began blowing up charts in the '90s, producing a songbook replete with favorites such as "I Want It That Way," "All I Have to Give," and "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)." The NKOTBSB Tour brings both acts together for a songful extravaganza, forming the more perfect union prophesied nearly 50 years ago by the Constitution. The Thursday, June 30 concert also includes the vocal virtuosity of special guest and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, adding to an ear-pleasing stew of dulcet melodies sure to soothe the most savage beast or most irascible mail carrier.