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Phoenix Sister Cities WorldFEST this Weekend in Downtown Phoenix

Celebrate the world we live in at the 7th annual Phoenix Sister Cities WorldFEST, held in collaboration with Alliance Beverage Distributing Company. WorldFEST is a celebration of diversity featuring the cultures, arts and food of Phoenix’s sister cities and much more. Visitors can see, hear, smell, taste, touch and actively participate in this hands-on, multicultural festival with FREE ADMISSION.


Heritage & Science Park
115 North 6th Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85004
Map of Heritage & Science Park }


FRIDAY, MARCH 18th: 4pm – 10 pm

  • 4:00pm: Happy Hour
  • 4:00pm-10:00pm: World of Beers, Food and Live Entertainment
  • 4:00pm-10:00pm: SRP WorldSTAGE Live Entertainment

SATURDAY, MARCH 19th: Noon – 11pm
KidsWORLD and Sister Cities Village

  • Noon: WorldFEST opens
  • 1:00pm: Sister Cities Parade
  • Noon-5:00pm: Kids’ passport tour of Sister Cities Village; KidsWORLD
  • Noon-5:00pm: FriendshipSTAGE live performances
  • Noon-11:00pm: World of Beers, food and WorldSTAGE Live Entertainment

SUNDAY, MARCH 20th: Noon – 5pm

  • Noon: WorldFEST opens
  • Noon-5:00pm: Kids’ passport tour of Sister Cities Village; KidsWORLD
  • Noon-5:00pm: FriendshipSTAGE live performances
  • Noon-5:00pm: Hospitality Industry Sunday with World of Beers and WorldSTAGE Live Entertainment

Learn more about our Sister Cities — Click on the flags below:

Phoenix Sister Cities to Host Sixth Annual Worldfest 2011

[Source: City of Phoenix]

Celebrate the diverse cultures of Phoenix’s nine sister cities at WorldFEST, a free event that offers music, the arts and food from around the world from March 18 to 20, at Heritage and Science Park, 115 N. Sixth St..  Event hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, March 18; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, March 19; and noon to 5 p.m. March 20.

WorldFEST is hosted by Phoenix Sister Cities and presented by The Arizona Republic, in collaboration with Alliance Beverage Distributing Company.

“WorldFEST is a not-to-be-missed, family-fun experience,” said Paula West, executive director of Phoenix Sister Cities:

It’s a hands-on experience for kids of all ages to learn about diverse cultures in the world and enjoy ongoing entertainment and great food and beverages.

At the Sister Cities Village, kids 12 and under will receive a Passport to the World.  They will visit each sister cities booth, learning how to write their name in Chinese characters, make fairy wreaths in Irish colors, create carnival masks from Italy and compete in a Japanese chopstick challenge.  Live entertainment will be offered on two stages and Tastes of the World will showcase palate-pleasing international dishes.

In partnership with the ASU Parks and Recreation Management School, an interactive educational playground, KidsWORLD, will invite children to travel to seven continents to explore a South American rain forest, see the pyramids, visit the Australian Great Barrier Reef, take a mini safari through an African jungle and more.  For adults, there is a World of Beers that offers an extensive variety of unique beers and micro-brews, all on tap as well as wine, sodas and cider.

For more information and event schedule, visit or call 602-534-3751.

Jackalope Ranch’s Student Guide to Downtown Phoenix

Here is the latest installment in Claire Lawton’s series of great guides to downtown Phoenix!

[Source: Claire Lawton, Jackalope Ranch, Phoenix New Times]

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The first week is never about what actually goes on during class. It’s about figuring out what your schedule means by “the Brickyard,” checking out potential lag-time hangouts and figuring out which path will save you three more minutes.

Here’s a peek at our guide to ASU’s Downtown Campus …

Claire Lawton

Click on the image (or right here) for a full-size, printable version.

On the Map:

  • New vending machines, sweet couches and every news show you could ever want to see are up and running in the Cronkite Building’s First Amendment Forum (they also host pretty cool speakers every Monday).
  • Cheap/Free/Easy Date Night: Take a look at a ton of local art that’s featured on the second floor of the UCENT building and check out the view of the city from the eighth floor.
  • For caffeine and munchies, skip the Starbucks down the street and check out Fair Trade Cafe across Central Avenue, Royal Coffee Bar at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market on Pierce Street (Jackalope sighting!), Conspire on Fifth Street, or Cartel Coffee on First and Washington Streets.
Off the Map:
  • The Heard Museum is free for students on Sunday, August 15 (just show your Sun Card). Heard also hosts free admission events every third Friday.
  • Check out the Phoenix Public Library for refuge from the sun, a quiet afternoon, or a ride up and down the elevator (seriously).
  • Third Friday Concerts are back on at the Civic Space Park (under the large, flying blue object) at 424 N. Central Ave. from 7 to 9 p.m. (totally free). This space is also popular for bikini-clad sunbathers, who consequently create a popular activity for those on the fifth and sixth floors of every building that surrounds it.

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Read the full post here.

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Touring downtown Phoenix… by bike

Visiting the murals in the alley behind 5th St. near Roosevelt (photo source: Tony Arranaga)

[Source:] — I took my neighbors on a hour long bike tour of downtown Phoenix.  Mike and Jane were not too familiar with the backstory to some of the historic sights in our urban core, so it was fun to give them some background on the landmarks in the heart of the city.

We started in the Evans Churchill neighborhood near 4th Street and Fillmore.  We visited the community garden near Conspire Coffee and the murals in the alley behind 5th Street near Roosevelt in the arts district.  Mike, Jane and I then went to the Phoenix Public Market, the Westward Ho and Civic Space Park.  Our tour then continued south on 1st Avenue to see the Orpheum Lofts, 44 Monroe and the old City Hall.

Next. we made our way over to Hanny’s Restaurant, which used to be home to a high end department store back in the day.  We then stopped by St. Mary’s Basilica where Pope John Paul II visited several years ago.  Our trip ended at Heritage Square and then we stoppped for a bite to eat at Front Row – TGIFriday’s restaurant inside Chase Field where the Arizona Diamondbacks play ball.

How did I do?  Where would you take friends or out of town guests to explore the heart of Phoenix?  [Note: Read the full blog entry at Touring downtown Phoenix… by bike.]

First Fridays art walk expands to downtown Phoenix’s Heritage Square


Circa 1900 in downtown Phoenix's Heritage Square.

[Source: Rebecca Clark, Special to the Arizona Republic] — On the nights of the First Fridays art walk, the normally quiet streets of downtown Phoenix are packed with nouveau hippies offering free hugs, Scientology protesters next to Scientology promoters, and street vendors selling everything from aprons to jewelry.  Men and women of all ages, all walks of life and from all over the Valley are drawn in by fire breathers, live bands and, of course, art.  But sometimes, amid the blocks of mayhem near the Roosevelt Row arts and shopping district, the night can seem less about art and more about an “art scene.”

That’s why Artlink, a non-profit downtown Phoenix arts organization, has partnered with the Rosson House Foundation and Phoenix artist Sean Deckert to bring a calmer, quieter, completely art-focused element to First Fridays in Heritage & Science Park, south of the Roosevelt Row area.  “People who come to downtown only for First Fridays get the wrong idea,” said Deckert, who is program coordinator and co-curator of the First Friday expansion to Heritage Square.  “On First Fridays, it is like the state fair has come to town.  There are people selling ice cream cones and T-shirts, and amidst all of that, there is an artist showing and trying to sell his own work.”

That’s why vendors and certain kinds of street performers will not be allowed in the intimate historic space near the Arizona Science Center and Pizzeria Bianco.  Instead there will be an outdoor gallery showing six to 10 artists each month, and Deckert said that number will increase as the area develops a reputation for art.  [Note: Read the full article at First Fridays art walk expands to downtown Phoenix’s Heritage Square.]

Rosson House-Heritage Square Foundation seeks board members

For the past 30 years, the Board of the Rosson House-Heritage Square Foundation and Guild has overseen and managed the 1895 Rosson House, a fully restored and furnished building of the Queen Anne style, and other historic buildings at Heritage Square, 6th Street and Monroe, in downtown Phoenix.

The board is comprised of 12 individuals, mostly from the Guild, four of whom will rotate off in May 2009.  Board leaders hope to gain new board members who reflect all aspects of the community, among them historic preservation advocates and individuals interested in early Phoenix history.

If you are interested in serving on the board (or any other volunteer opportunity), contact Liz Zveglich, Board President, at 480-538-3381 or Darla Harmon, Executive Director, at 602-261-8063.

How a historic downtown Phoenix shop became a famed pizzeria

Pizza Bianco, downtown Phoenix

[Source: Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic] — In a downtown Phoenix block full of historic buildings, the Baird Machine Shop might be the richest one.  And it is a story that continues to be written.  The 1928 square, brick building was one of several buildings from Phoenix’s original townsite days that was spared demolition by a Phoenix mayor.  Another man, who would become Phoenix mayor, had the vision that the building could become an iconic restaurant that would draw tourists from around the nation.

That second mayor, Phil Gordon, might have been ahead of his time by proposing the restaurant in the late 1980s.  But his vision came true, as the Baird Machine Shop houses the nationally renowned Pizzeria Bianco.  “I just always knew there would be that attraction to the physical uniqueness of the building,” Gordon said of his 1987 proposal to remodel and revitalize the Baird building.  “We saw the potential of (Heritage Square) being so unique,” he said.

So did then-Phoenix Mayor John Driggs.  When he took office in 1970, he decided to save the buildings that still remained from Block 14, one of the first created in the city that still had original buildings on it.  The Rosson House, which Driggs remembered seeing as a child, had been subdivided into apartments and had air-conditioning units hanging from its windows, said Darla Harmon, executive director at the Rosson House Museum.

The Baird Machine Shop, whose previous tenant was Milt Ponder’s Sign Shop, was one of the buildings bought by the city.  It was just luck that a deal didn’t go through that would have leveled the old structures, Harmon said.  “We’re a great place to put a parking garage, don’t you think?” she said. “(Developers) were looking around licking their lips.”  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]