This Saturday, for the seventh time, Grand Avenue is going to turn itself into a festival.

The stretch between 7th Ave and 15th Ave has become a thriving arts district over the past few years, morphing into a lush, pedestrian-friendly street lined with galleries and all sorts of other businesses.

gaf 2015 bill's pre-poster small for web

The festival is the proverbial feather in Grand Avenue’s cap. From 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. this Saturday, the storied street will feature a massive list of all-ages happenings.

Are you sitting down?

  • Free “Under the Vintage Roof” tours of historic, vintage buildings head out at 11:00am, 11:30am, and 12pm (noon) from the Milum Textile building at 333 N. 7th Avenue.
  • The Fushicho Daiko taiko studio’s pro performing group and all its student groups will be performing in their own parking lot at 925 NW Grande Avenue.
  • You can check out fashion shows and parades with names like “Untrashed Recycled Rubbish Fashion Show” and “Trashy Hat Promenade.”
  • The sidewalk planters, many of which have been worked over by the street’s fantastic artists, will feature “Fantasy Flowers.” Contributors include Bob Adams, Metro Arts, Villa Montessori School, IG Homes Boys and Girls’ Club, and New School for the Arts.
  • There will be live music in multiple places, including this lengthy list of acts appearing at Thirdspace
  • The Grand is hosting an all-vinyl DJ dance party.
  • Trunk Space is hosting a record and media swap meet.
  • LoveCycles has a vintage motorcycle show.
  • Roberto-Venn Luthiery is offering a tour of its guitar-making and repair facility.
  • Hazel & Violet Letterpress shop is printing coasters all day long.
  • Unexpected Gallery will feature vendor booths, food trucks, music, mini art appreciation classes, and an organic market.
  • Restaurants will be serving up great food, including Irma’s Kitchen, Thirdspace, Grind House, Cortez Coffee Company, and the Grand Avenue Pizza Company.
  • Barrio Café (who’s opening a new spot on Grand in January) will be hosting a pop-up eatery in the Bragg’s Pie Factory building.
  • There will even be tours of the new Containers on Grand, an apartment complex created from recycled shipping containers.
gaf 2015 promo Untrashed Grace and Violet

Untrashed Recycled Rubbish Fashion Show

The list keeps going. And all of that is before 8pm. After hours, between 8pm to 10pm, there’s more.

  • Bikini Lounge will be hosting its 5th Annual Tiki Fest.
  • Modfire is holding a S’mores party.
  • Marshall Shore will be hosting the WEARizona Fashion show at Unexpected Gallery.

And if you’re still standing after all that, check out the 10th Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts, which welcomes audience participation. Break out a costume and jump in! (Bonus: Fushicho Daiko will be trucking right along with you, shouting away with shoulder-slung and handheld drums.)

“It takes about 4–5 months to produce the event,” says Beatrice Moore, “and it includes everything from fundraising to marketing strategy and compiling promo materials, transportation planning, signage, volunteer recruitment, and coordination of all aspects of the event.”

Ms. Moore is the force of nature behind all things Grand Avenue. She’s owned several buildings along the street, and has been pushing its development along for years. She is also one of the directors of Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation (GAP) and co-chair for the Grand Avenue Festival, along with Nancy Hill.

“[The Festival] gets people out of their cars and onto the streets,” Moore continues, “to discover the hidden gems, unique architecture, and wonderful adaptive re-use projects in the Historic Grand Avenue district. Somewhat like a neighborhood scavenger hunt, but the discovery is of the neighborhood itself.”

For more details (as if you need any) and a list of participating venues, check out the Grand Avenue Festival website.

Unbelievably, parking is free.

Images courtesy of Beatrice Moore.

Cover image: Steve Dreiseszun.