You voted for more than 4,000 nominees in nearly 400 categories (equaling 1.5 million-plus views at AZFoothills.com). Now, it is time to get to know your Best of Our Valley 2014 winners. From your favorite restaurants and resorts to your choice schools and shops, Arizona Foothills Magazine presents Best of Our Valley 2014.
Charity galas. Fashion shows. Food and wine fests. Make sure to save the date for these annual Valley happenings. Here are your favorites in Valley Arts & Entertainment.
BEST ANNUAL VALLEY EVENT: LARGE SCALE – WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN
“The greatest show on grass” returned on Jan. 27. The world-renowned PGA golf event, which takes place in Scottsdale, has become one of the largest-attended tournaments in the world. Each year, thousands come out to enjoy the competitive game of golf played by some of the sport’s best and brightest. At the Phoenix Open, green isn’t just a color, either. Tournament sponsor Waste Management has succeeded in diverting 100 percent of the waste generated by the event away from landfills; instead, all trash is recycled or composted. www.wmphoenixopen.com.
BEST AUTOMOBILE AUCTION AND BEST PARTY EVENT – BARRETT-JACKSON COLLECTOR CAR AUCTION
In January, the company that produces the “World’s Greatest Collector Car Events,” Barrett-Jackson, kicked off its 2014 auction at Westworld in Scottsdale. The annual eight-day event includes auctions, nightlife, fashion shows, ride-and-drives and more, bringing more than 200,000 spectators each year. www.barrett-jackson.com/scottsdale.
BEST ANNUAL CHARITY EVENT – THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF PHOENIX’S ANNUAL RUMMAGE SALE
Known as the largest indoor garage sale in Phoenix, the Annual Rummage Sale returned in February to help fund nonprofit programs supported by the Junior League. The rummage sale offers both new and used treasures for a great price and is staffed with Junior League volunteers who are dedicated to raising money for community programs. www.jlp.org.
STAFF SHOUT-OUT: COMPASSION FOR FASHION BENEFITING THE ARIZONA HUMANE SOCIETY
Compassion for Fashion takes place Saturday, March 29. Guests can expect a delectable lunch, a can’t-miss silent auction and a fashion show—all in the name of raising funds and awareness for the Valley’s pets. www.azhumane.org.
BEST ANNUAL FASHION EVENT – XAVIER COLLEGE PREP FASHION SHOW LUNCHEON
Xavier’s College Prep’s Mother Guild will host its spectacular annual Scholarship Fashion Show Luncheon on March 9. The show began as a way to showcase the styles that students had created in their home economics class and has expanded to a polished event where Xavier seniors walk the runway in the latest Saks Fifth Avenue spring fashions. This fundraising event benefits the Xavier Scholarship Fund, which gives young women the opportunity to receive an education at the acclaimed school. www.xcp.org.
BEST ANNUAL GALA – KIDS AT HEART GALA AT THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF PHOENIX
On April 5, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix will transform itself into the romantic city of Venice where guests will join for a mystical evening of entertainment, exquisite dining, silent auctions and dancing. Each year, the Kids at Heart Gala provides an exceptional experience for guests, transporting them to another time and place. Proceeds from the formal event, whose theme this year is a Venetian Masked Ball, will directly benefit the museum’s Every Child Program. The program provides free or reduced entry to the museum for families dealing with financial or emotional challenges, so that Arizona’s children can experience a safe and fun environment that inspires them. www.kidsatheartgala.org.
BEST ANNUAL VALLEY EVENT – THE WINE GROWER’S FESTIVAL AT THE FARM
The Arizona Wine Growers Association (AWGA) presents The Festival at The Farm, a tasty event where attendees are able to meet and share wine with Arizona’s own grape farmers and wine producers. The annual event has grown immensely over the past five years, so AWGA is adding new events to the Signature Series throughout the year: Off the Vine Arizona Wine Festival (which took place in February), The Art of Arizona Wine Celebration (March 15), Wine in the Pines ( June 13- 14), Festival at the Farm (Nov. 14-15), and Wine in the Desert: Discover Arizona Wine (Dec. 13). All events are held in an effort to raise awareness about the local wine industry and the amazing impact Arizona wine has in the state. www.arizonawine.org.
The Thunderbirds is the Valley’s special events committee that began in 1937, when the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce decided it needed a group to handle hot happenings around town. Anyone who makes the cut for this group must show leadership skills, a passion for sports, and a sincere love for the community. As the host organization of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the group uses funds raised to benefit nonprofits around the area. www.wmphoenixopen.com.
BEST SPECIAL EVENT VENUE – THE RITZ-CARLTON PHOENIX
The luxurious four-diamond Ritz- Carlton, Phoenix hotel goes above and beyond when hosting any type of event. Famous for its attention to detail and legendary service, The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix is set with a backdrop of the luscious Sonoran Desert that will give any event an appeal that no one will want to miss. An experienced on-site special events team is dedicated to creating unforget- table parties. From its scenic outdoor patios to spacious ballrooms, The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix is the best in the Valley to gather with friends, family or co-workers for a special event. www.ritzcarlton.com/phoenix.
BEST CONCERT VENUE – CELEBRITY THEATRE
Since its opening in 1964, Celebrity Theatre has provided patrons with special entertainment viewing, featuring a revolving stage and state-of-the-art surround sound in the 2,600-plus seat space. Patrons can look forward to a unique 2014 lineup, featuring performers like musician Gavin DeGraw and comedians George Lopez and Amy Schumer. www.celebritytheatre.com.
BEST HAUNTED HOUSE 2013 DARK SCARES
Mesa’s Dark Scares haunted attractions offer top-rated frights with a terrifying staff and impressive effects. Dark Scares Hotel will be opening for another season this October, checking in guests to new rooms with spookiness around every corner. www.darkscares.com.
BEST LOCAL BAND/MUSICIAN – NICOLE PESCE AND JEFFREY HATTRICK, THE RITZ-CARLTON PHOENIX
Nicole Pesce and Jeffrey Hattrick join together at The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix for a captivating musical experience. Pesce is a brilliant pianist who is recognized as one of the top musicians in Phoenix with more than 12,000 memorized songs and 300 written songs. She and the very talented vocal artist, Jeffrey Hattrick, can be found entertaining in the Lobby Lounge of The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix on Saturday evenings. www.ritzcarlton.com/phoenix.
BEST MUSEUM 2013 – MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM
Musical Instrument Museum is a modern museum located in North Scottsdale that shares the profound history of musical instruments and performance videos from around the world. A one-of-its-kind museum, the 200,000-sq.-ft. setting features wireless audio for guests to hear streaming music as they approach each display, which familiar- izes them with the unique sounds of each musical culture. Special exhibitions, public events and concerts featuring top artists from around the world add to its unique experience. www.mim.org.
STAFF SHOUT-OUT: PHOENIX ART MUSEUM
For more than 50 years, Phoenix Art Museum has been a prime destination for locals to be educated and entertained by an array of must-see galleries, exhibits, festivals, live performances and independent art films. www.phxart.org.
Story by Lindsey Clinkingbeard