For just one day, Danielle Plaza will bloom with music, color, and tantalizing smells for the inaugural Pub n Grub Block Party. The festival celebrates local craft beer and street foods while raising funds to benefit the Arc of Tempe, which serves citizens with cognitive and physical disabilities. However, food and drink aren't the only attractions: throughout the day, an outdoor stage showcases live acts and tethered hot-air balloon rides let visitors soar in the sky after sundown. A family activity area even features attractions such as a 200-foot zip line. Because it's conveniently located in a parking lot, the festival will also include an exhibition of wax-shined Corvettes.
Host Sharon Cooper-Lashley has trained with such celebrity stylists as Patric Bradley and Taliah Waajid, and in the first Annual Divas of Colour Hair & Beauty Show she brings together some of Arizona's rising stars in creative hair and makeup. They may all share a passion for transforming people into walking works of art, but it's not all buddy-buddy?it's a competition. The artists vie for top honors in categories such as Natural Hair, which bans chemical straighteners; Fantasy Hair, which is open to more imaginative possibilities; the Barber Battle, a lightning-round for elaborate fades and designs; and the Make-Up contest, which transforms models into high-concept fantasy beings.
Live music echoes around Arizona Mills. The aromas of internationally inspired dishes waft through the air. And rows of stalls showcase handmade items such as American Indian art, jewelry, and clothing, made by local artisans. At the three-day Taste of Arizona & Spring Training Festival, the public comes face-to-face with some of the state's best local wares?and performers. And on top of that, the Spring Training Fan Fest area shows off sports-centric displays and hosts events where fans can dine with their favorite players or dump celebratory vats of mashed potatoes over their heads.
The rest of the festival's tantalizing grub comes from the VIP food and music pavilion. There, a line of food trucks churns out the street foods of the Cajun South, the Southwest, Italy, and Asia, as well as comfort foods ranging from fried chicken to tacos. A portion of all proceeds from the VIP area also goes to benefit local charities, spreading the joy far beyond Arizona Mills.