An outdoor lovers’ paradise, Flagstaff offers activities year around. They also love to turn a weekend into a colorful event. Almost every summer weekend offers something special.
During our visit to Flagstaff in the beginning of September we participated in two major events. First one was the Labor Day Weekend Festival. Flagstaff Art in the Park was our favorite (three days in a row, Sat through Mon). During the event Wheeler Park was filled with vendors selling all kinds of crafts, arts, activities for kids, and food; live music was pretty good. The Coconino County Fair took place at the fairgrounds in Fort Tuthill Park. Highlights of the fair included exhibits, livestock, entertainment, a demolition derby, and carnival. On Monday Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra presented its annual free Labor Day concert with long title "Car Tunes" – Classical meets Classic, A Sentimental Musical Journey along "America’s Mother Road" (at Pine Mountain Amphitheater in Fort Tuthill Park).
Next weekend city celebrated Route 66 Days (in 07 it was September 7 - 9). Actually this event started on Friday evening with "Cars" featured at Heritage Square. Next day hundreds of classic cars rolled through town. These restored vehicles brought much color and noise to the downtown area. Wheeler Park and downtown filled again with vendors selling all kinds of arts, clothing, food and other goodies. Those less car-inclined could have a nostalgic time listening to live music from a number of good bands and singers (Heritage Square was our favorite place to watch it). All events are within a block or two of the car show.
But Flagstaff starts its festivities long before September. We were told that summer events in Flagstaff center around the rodeo and ethnic cuisine. Fans of the rodeo enjoy the Arizona High School Rodeo finals, which take place the first weekend of every June at the Coconino county Fair Grounds. High school students compete in such events as barrel racing, bareback riding, saddle bronco riding, bull riding, team roping, calf roping, and goat tying. The annual Chili Cook-off held during that same weekend features live music and contests for both adults and children. Renaissance in the Pines, featuring a Renaissance-themed marketplace, brings stage shows, street entertainment and living history demonstrations that include blacksmithing and weaving. Heritage Square in Historic downtown Flagstaff stages this two-day free festival with music of all descriptions, drumming and dance from local bands
On the second Saturday in June, the Great Fiesta Del Barrio & Fajita Cook-off celebrates the customs and culture of the local Hispanic community.
The third weekend in June brings the Pine Country Pro Rodeo, which draws contenders to the Coconino County Fairgrounds. The Arizona Highland Celtic Festival offers music, Irish dancing, and whiskey tasting.
The Festival of Native American Arts, held during July and August, includes an exhibit, outdoor market, dances, workshops and demonstrations celebrating the arts, crafts, culture, and traditions of Native Americans throughout the Southwest. Centered around the 4th of July, are the Coconino County Horse Races, June 30th through July 24nd, at Fort Tuthill Downs at the County Fairgrounds.
August's Flagstaff Summerfest Festival in the Pines tops off the summer season with the finest in arts and crafts, food, and entertainment.
Flagstaff Festival of Science (September 21 – 30) offers ten-day family event with open houses, lectures, presentations, hikes and excursions. The Flagstaff Festival of Science, a 10-day event held annually at the end of September, promotes science awareness through hands-on exhibits, interactive displays, field trips, and world-class scientist participants.
Flagstaff kicks off the winter season as children young and old delight in the Playthings of the Past exhibit, which runs from November through January and features dolls, trains, cars, and castles from the 1880s through the 1960s. During December, Riordan Mansion offers holiday tours of its festively decorated turn-of-the-century rooms. February's Flagstaff Winterfest features nearly 100 events: sled dog races, skiing competitions, and other snow events, llama play days, sleigh rides, concerts, cultural events, and historic walking tours are all on schedule. The Arizona Special Olympics is a competition for mentally and physically challenged athletes that is held during the last weekend in February.