Honoring the Arts, Tribes and Culture of the Southwest
Flagstaff sits within the beautiful Northern Arizona region elevated at 7,000 feet. It’s a place where artists of all types and culture lovers mix beautifully. Being located as the closest border town to the Navajo and Hopi reservations brings Flagstaff rich Southwestern diversity, including festivals that celebrate Native American culture, rodeos and a huge artistic community.
The Museum of Northern Arizona offers extensive exhibits, impressive historical collections and engaging festivals that celebrate the art, culture and natural sciences of the Colorado Plateau.
For example, the museum’s Native Peoples of the Colorado Plateau exhibit, which opened in 2018 in partnership with 45 tribal consultants, features 350 artifacts including weavings, carvings, pottery and toys.
The MNA annual tribal celebrations include:
Zuni Festival of Arts & Culture: This fun-filled celebration in which participants can learn about ancestral foods and gardening techniques takes place on Memorial Day weekend. Artists will demonstrate their techniques while musical and dance events fill the courtyard. You can purchase traditional and contemporary art as well.
Hopi Festival of Arts & Culture: The event, which dates back to the 1930s and showcases 100 Hopi artists and presenters from Hopi villages in the region, takes place around July 4.
Navajo Festival of Arts & Culture: The early August get-together features fry break, Navajo tacos, music and dance performances and artwork for sale by dozens of Navajo jewelers, weavers, painters and potters.
Celebraciónes de la Gente: The annual Day of the Dead festival in late October includes arts and crafts, Folklorico and Aztec dancing, elaborate ofrendas (altars), music and heritage programs.
The Flagstaff Festival in the Pines returned to Fort Tuthill County Park this year reestablishing its rich tradition of art, music and festival fun. The three day event from July 4-6 includes two live music stages, dozens of artists, kid’s activities, food booths and a beer garden. It is an opportunity for the entire family to enjoy a holiday break.
The Flagstaff Arts Council operates the Coconino Center for the Arts, which features a 200-seat theater and a 4,000-square-foot artist’s gallery. The center regularly hosts concerts, exhibits and art workshops in numerous mediums including drawing, felting, acting, photography and embroidery. In addition they host a Summer Concert Series in June and July, First Friday Art Walks and Downtown Friday Nights.
In June, the two-day Flag Wool and Fiber Festival takes place at the Arizona Historical Society Pioneer Museum. You can observe sheep shearing, learn from guest speakers and enjoy animal exhibits that feature camels, llamas, alpacas and rabbits. Visit vendor booths to browse and buy yarn, scarves and clothing. The festival also offers workshops on spinning, dyeing, weaving and felting, while participants take part in demonstrations and competitions.
All summer music aficionados can enjoy concert nights at Ft Tuthill on the grass. Musicians of all types love the cool climate and great mountain air during summertime. What’s more fun than sitting under the stars to enjoy live music with friends and family?
The Flagstaff Pro Rodeo, a Turquoise Circuit competition, attracts nearly 9,000 fans to Flagstaff, 50 vendors and more than 300 cowboy contestants to the area in late June. This three day event at the Fort Tuthill County Park, features team roping, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, bull riding, bareback riding and other rodeo entertainment for the whole family.
During the height of summer, you can celebrate Independence Day at the Chamber’s Fourth of July Parade featuring more than 100 entries. Flagstaff was named the No. 1 city for July 4 activities by Travel and Leisure Magazine, evidenced by the spectacular parade, a Downtown Mile Race and Flagstaff Festival in the Pines, all coordinated and delivered by the Flagstaff Chamber. In addition, the Flagstaff Symphony delivers a boisterous patriotic music concert in the afternoon at Ft. Tuthill Park.
In nearby historic Williams, only 35 miles west of Flagstaff on Route 66, ARTober Fest takes place two weekends before Halloween. The event is in the downtown historic district and features arts, crafts, and gourmet food exhibitors.
Pickin’ in the Pines, a bluegrass and acoustic music festival, takes place in September at Pepsi Amphitheater in the Fort Tuthill County Park. It was voted as “Best Festival” in 2017 and 2018 by readers of the Arizona Daily Sun. In addition to bluegrass music, the event also highlights a variety of acoustic music including Celtic, gypsy jazz and old-time music.