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Summer is Festival Season in Flagstaff

It's time to break out that paper calendar, the chalkboard you hang on your cupboard door, the digital planner on your smartphone or whatever tool you use to keep track of special dates, because from now through October, there's a special event or festival happening almost every week in Flagstaff.

Summer, often referred to as festival season in this high mountain town, is a special time when visitors from the hotter parts of the state flock to the pine-scented shade of Flagstaff's cool, sunny weather. Locals wake up almost every Saturday to find something fun happening around town—if they can remember what it is.

Scheduled events in Flagstaff this year include Arts in the Park, Celtic Festival, Chili Festival, Mother Lode Classic Route 66 Car Show, Hopi Arts & Cultural Festival, Barks and Brews, Coconino County Fair, Pickin' in the Pines, Flagstaff Festival of Science, Flagstaff Music Festival, Cornucopia, Oktoberfest and more.

For a full list of festivals, prices, dates and descriptions, Discover Flagstaff.

“We're excited and are now fully focused on preparing for the festival,” said Motion Olson, director of marketing and community relations for the Flagstaff International Film Festival, now in its second year.

Like many film festivals, the Flagstaff International Film Festival has an international appeal, drawing many visitors from the Phoenix metropolitan area and the cool pine forests of Flagstaff.

“We have a lot of Arizona filmmakers, and we also have international submissions across seven different genres,” Olson said. “We're really looking forward to attracting talent and interest from a wide range of filmmakers and enthusiasts from around the world.”

Here are some highlights of the Summer Festival.

Shakespeare at Lowell Observatory

After the patriotic celebrations over the Fourth of July weekend, the next big event on the calendar is the Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival, celebrating its 10th anniversary, with 2024 productions including Julius Caesar and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

The festival takes place in the historic Lowell Observatory Big Tent, with shows Thursday through Sunday from July 11 through August 4. Show times are 7 PM each day, with an additional 2 PM show on weekends. Flagshakes

Flagstaff International Film Festival returns

The Flagstaff International Film Festival will be held at the Orpheum Theatre and other venues from August 3 to 4, and will feature avant-garde drama, comedy, animation, science fiction, and a variety of films. The event will also feature question-and-answer sessions, workshops, and networking events.

One of the highlights will be a screening of “First We Bombed New Mexico,” which Olson describes as a story about nuclear testing written by “Oppenheimer.” The film will be shown at the Theatricos Theater Company. Producer and director Lois Lippman and the documentary's star, cancer survivor Tina Cordova, will be in Flagstaff for the screening and a Q&A with the audience.

“This is a poignant, thought-provoking, often disheartening but also triumphant documentary about the downwind residents and communities around the Trinity (nuclear testing) site,” Olson said.

Screenings will run from 9:30am to 10pm on both days. Flagstaff International Film Festival

KidzSquared, weekday activities for kids

The Flagstaff Downtown Business Alliance will host Kids Square at Heritage Square two days a week this month, featuring fun and engaging activities from community partners including Lowell Observatory, Arizona Department of Game and Fish, Flagstaff Little Music Makers and Wee Scotty Swords. The event will run from 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through July 30 (except July 4) at Heritage Square downtown.

Enjoy the outdoors at the Botanical Gardens

Some of the best views of the San Francisco Peaks can be found from this hidden gem tucked away in a ponderosa pine forest. The botanical gardens are focused on promoting the understanding, appreciation and conservation of the native plants of the Colorado Plateau.

The 200-acre forest is home to 750 species of plants that can be explored in gardens, greenhouses, and walking trails. Like many places in Flagstaff, the place is pet-friendly, with a $2 admission fee for dogs. Special events at the Arboretum include the Mountain Melodies concert on Sunday, August 4, featuring Flag Five; the concert will run from 5 to 7 pm. The Arboretum also hosts Ales at the Arboretum with Dark Sky Brewing Company on the third Wednesday of each month from 6 to 8 pm. Click here for details. FBN

Ryan Randazzo

Click here for details Discover Flagstaff Flagstaff Visitor Center (1 E. Rt. 66)

Ryan Randazzo is the marketing and media relations project manager for Discover Flagstaff. He can be reached at or 928-814-9623.

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