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Around Arizona Culture Things to Do

A Brief History of Winemaking in Arizona

Believe it or not, Arizona is home to several hubs of winemaking. Vineyards are located around the state, with several hotspots that anybody can travel to and experience all of their benefits. Where are the viticultural hubs of Arizona, and how did they form?

The History of Wine in Arizona

The Arizona Wine Growers Association knows a great deal about the history of winemaking in Arizona. According to them, wine in Arizona and what would become the southwestern United States began hundreds of years ago during the era of Spanish rule. Wine was first made in Arizona by 18th-century Spanish missionaries for use in mass, likely in the area surrounding Tucson.

After the United States took over the southwest during the mid-1800s, wine production started to expand. Vineyards popped up near Prescott, though a supply of good grapes was very difficult to find.

It was finally in the Salt River Valley of Phoenix where high-quality winemaking grapes became available. By the 1880s, several vintners brought local wine to prominence in the Phoenix area. Quickly areas near burgeoning mining communities ended up being the biggest centers for wine. The upper Verde Valley became the wine capital of Arizona, with vineyards coming to be in Prescott, Jerome, and Oak Creek.

Prohibition put a long-term damper on what was turning into a wine boom. The Prohibition Era lasted from 1915 to 1933 in Arizona. Unfortunately, the wine industry remained damaged and weak for decades to come due to restrictive laws that remained in place after Prohibition ended. In 1980, the Arizona Wine Growers Association formed.

Their goal was to band winegrowers from around the state together to end legal restrictions against wine sales that existed at the time. The group was successful, and the Domestic Farm Winery Bill was passed, legalizing wine tastings and direct wine sales across the state.

Since then, several decades of trial-and-error have led to the hugely successful culture of wine in Arizona that we see today.

The Wine Hubs of Arizona Today

Today, the Arizona Wine Growers Association tells of four main “wine regions” in Arizona. Each one is home to several vineyards that you can go to for wine tasting, tours, and more.

Verde Valley

The Verde Valley region is approximately two hours north of Fountain Hills, and includes the vineyards of Prescott, Jerome, Oak Creek Canyon, Campe Verde, Cottonwood, and other communities at the base of the Mogollon Rim. The Verde Valley Wine Trail is a great way to introduce yourself to the best that this region has to offer. Check out the Verde Valley Wine Trail by clicking here.

Sonoita/Elgin

The Sonoita and Elgin region is located in the Sonoita Valley, an hour south of Tucson. Situated in fertile grasslands between several southern Arizona mountain ranges, the views at these vineyards are stunning. The Sonoita/Elgin Chamber of Commerce has a great map of their town’s wineries that you can check out at their website.

Willcox

The Wilcox wine region is east of Tucson and includes Willcox, Pearce, Turkey Creek, and other communities based around the basin of the ancient Lake Cochise. The Willcox Wine Country Club has a great list of the wineries in the area, which you can see by clicking here.

The Mavericks

Wineries in other parts of Arizona are considered “The Mavericks and Pioneers.” They grow grapes in parts of Arizona where it would not usually be expected. One of the most notable “maverick” wine trails is also the closest to town: the Scottsdale Wine Trail. You can learn more about those wineries on the Scottsdale Wine Trail website.

The wine culture of Arizona is getting bigger and bigger each passing year, and there are so many places to try out within a few hours of town. Fall is actually the best season to experience the most high-quality wine, so the time is right to head to a wine region! Check out the Arizona Wine Growers Association website to learn more about specific vineyards and how you can support wine in Arizona.

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Community Engagement Culture Local Businesses Local Events Outdoor recreation Things to Do

The Fountain Festival of Arts Set for 11/12-11/14

The Fountain Festival of Fine Arts & Crafts is just around the corner! This fall’s festival will be taking place from Friday, November 12th through Sunday, November 14th.

The festival, often referred to as “The Art Fair” by locals, is by all accounts one of the biggest events to occur in Fountain Hills. It actually happens twice a year, once in February and once in November.

Artists from around the world, and especially from around the Valley, convene on the Avenue of the Fountains and Saguaro Boulevard to showcase their passions and sell their pieces. Food trucks vend kettle corn, fry bread, hot dogs, and everything else you could want at a festival like this.

The Festival of Arts began in 1974 and gradually grew in scope over the course of 47 years to where it is today. In November of 2018, attendance was estimated to have exceeded 225,000 people over the course of its three-day run. That’s almost ten times the population of Fountain Hills. The point is, this event is a big deal for the town.

The hours of the festival will be 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Friday and Saturday, and from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Sunday. Attendance is free and parking is free. Try to get there early to get the best parking… the best lots fill up quickly!

Click here to learn more about the Festival and what it entails!

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Local Events Outdoor recreation Things to Do

Concerts on the Avenue Debuts November 3rd

If you’re looking for a reason to spend some quality time in the town this November, well now you have three! The first three Wednesdays in November, the Concerts on the Avenue will be bringing music and fun to the Avenue of the Fountains!

Concerts on the Avenue, sponsored by the Sonoran Lifestyle Team, is a live concert series that will feature some of the best local musicians. The concerts will be free for everybody to attend.

Businesses on the Avenue will be open late, so feel free to move about and check out the shops and restaurants. Yard games will be available in the green for both kids and adults to enjoy.

Solo musicians will be performing at Nichols Plaza in front of the MCSO Parking Lot by Town Hall. The bands will be performing at the fountains in front of Sofrita.

The musicians will be playing a variety of musical genres, so there’s going to be something for everybody to enjoy.

The musical performances each night are:

November 3

November 10

November 17

The first night of Concerts on the Avenue is Wednesday, November 3rd. Music and festivities will take place from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Bring your friends and family for a great time, and stop by the Sonoran Lifestyle Team office for some drinks! We hope to see you there.

Learn more about the Concerts on the Avenue events here.

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Real Estate

RE/MAX Has #1 Most Trusted Real Estate Agents in the U.S.

According to American shoppers, RE/MAX is the brand with the #1 Most Trusted Real Estate Agents in the U.S. The results of the 2022 BrandSpark Most Trusted Awards (“BMTAs”) – created in partnership between Newsweek and BrandSpark®, a leading market research and consulting firm – were fully decided by consumers.

As part of the 2022 BrandSpark American Trust Study, nearly 8,000 American shoppers were asked what brands they trust and why. RE/MAX was the only real estate brokerage brand voted as a winner in the latest BMTAs, which are considered to be America’s most comprehensive awards program focused on consumer brands, service providers, and retailers.

For RE/MAX, a brand that has helped millions of families buy or sell a home and whose agents average more sales than other real estate agents, it’s an honor to have earned the trust of American consumers.

“Every successful real estate transaction has a strong foundation in trust. Trust that the real estate advisor assisting with the transaction is providing expertise and looking out for the best interests of the homebuyer or seller,” says Nick Bailey, President of RE/MAX, LLC. “To be recognized for the RE/MAX network’s continued commitment to nurturing that trust with consumers is a great honor and we look forward to continuing to help people achieve their real estate goals.”

To view the full BrandSpark Most Trusted Awards and each of its categories, visit BrandSparkMostTrusted.com.

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Community Engagement Local Events Things to Do

Make A Difference on October 23rd

MaDD participants in 2017 paint the exterior of a house.

It’s that time of year again to give back to the community! The 13th annual Make A Difference Day is on October 23rd. Read on to see how you can participate.

On Make A Difference Day, residents of Fountain Hills go all over town doing outdoor community service projects. Activities in past years have ranged from planting trees to clearing washes to improving handicap accessibility to homes and businesses, and much more. People of all ages come from around Fountain Hills to help out. Whether you’re a cub scout or a snowbird, all are welcome to sign up.

Not only is this a great opportunity to do address needs across town, but it’s also an amazing way to strengthen ties in the community and have a great time. If you have the time, this will be a great way to spend it and feel good about it afterwards.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Fountain-Park-small-1024x682.jpg

You can sign up for Make a Difference Day 2021 by clicking here. You can sign up as an individual or you can make a team out of your friends, family, or organization. You can also choose your preferences for which type of labor you’d like to do and mention any physical limitations you may have.

The event begins at 8:00 AM Saturday at your assigned job site. Be sure to sign up soon so you can Make A Difference!

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Community Engagement Culture Things to Do

River of Time Museum Grand Re-Opening

A journey began in the early 1990s when a small group of Fountain Hills citizens gathered to form the Fountain Hills and Lower Verde River Valley Museum and Historical Society. The organization envisioned and brought to life the River of Time Museum, which moved into its current site in 2003.

It has been eighteen years, and the museum has turned a corner in its journey with a complete renovation. From the entire interior space down to the mission statement, it is poised to become a destination attraction in the Greater Phoenix area.

Now ready to launch, the Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers are excited to introduce a facility that reaches beyond the traditional concept of a “museum.” The new visitor’s experience entertains while sharing the multitude of stories that depict life in the Lower Verde River Valley. These stories emphasize the role of water in supporting that life.

As visitors take their journey through the museum, they will follow the local historical timeline. This timeline begins before humans inhabited the area and extends to the future of water resources in this densely populated desert environment.

This new journey through the River of Time includes increased interpretation and interactive opportunities for discovery. Partnerships with neighboring organizations like the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy allow us to stay up to date on research on the bat populations in local caves and other local topics.

Locals can still find their museum favorites in creatively enhanced exhibits. Visitors will still meet Jack Swilling, known as the “Father of Phoenix” for rediscovering the Hohokam people’s canal system. And “Tacky,” the P-Bar ranch horse, will still greet visitors.

New additions include a life-size Sonorasaurus painted on the east wall, a mountain lion perched on a rock wall, a trapper working at collecting beaver pelts, and archaeologists examining recently unearthed pottery. These vignettes add dimension and character to a dramatically reimagined gallery space.

The Riverbanks Gift Shop offers locals and visitors unique, locally sourced gifts for every occasion. Each item is curated to connect to a story in the River of Time.

Juried art from local and regional artists adorn the Hall of Art. Artists who feature water-related themes are encouraged to participate. Local Yavapai artists and crafters will also exhibit and sell their crafts.

The River of Time Museum expects to open on Saturday, October 23rd at 10:00 AM. Check out RiverOfTime.museum for more information about the museum and its reopening.

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Community Engagement Local Events Outdoor recreation Things to Do

“FH Spooky Blast” coming to Four Peaks Park

Halloween is Halloweekend in Fountain Hills this year! You and your family have probably been preparing for Halloween this entire month, just for one night of trick-or-treating and haunted activities. Well, now Saturday, Halloween Eve, will be full of local festivities as well. Fountain Hills Parks and Rec is hosting “Spooky Blast” on October 30th!

Spooky Blast will be a family-friendly event from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Four Peaks Park. Merchants will be stationed all around the park handing out candy, popcorn, and treats. There will also be bouncy castles and other outdoor games set up across the field. The two main inflatable attractions will be two huge slides and two obstacle courses for kids of all ages to enjoy.

At 5:30 PM on the ballfield, the Love 2 Dance dancers will be leading a group dance to the hit Michael Jackson song “Thriller.”

At 5:45, there will be a Costume Contest for people and pets. Be sure your kids and pets arrive in their spookiest getups.

On the north field of the park, there will also be a Halloween movie screening, starting at 6:00 PM.

spooky party

This pre-Halloween Halloween celebration will be an event for the whole family to enjoy. Plan on spending some time at Four Peaks Park next Saturday while the kids have a hauntingly fun time. Click here to learn more about Spooky Blast and its many activities.

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Community Engagement Culture Local Businesses Local Events Things to Do

Flutter at the Fountain 2021

The Most Beautiful Creatures in the Southwest

Fountain Hills’ biggest, most colorful event of the year is coming! Since 1995, the Fountain Hills Community Foundation has donated over $1.2 million in grants to local non-profit groups that benefit youths, seniors, and families of the community. This year marks the second annual fundraiser event called Flutter at the Fountain. During last year’s pandemic environment, $83,000 was donated to local charity groups.

Many local artists come together to transform thirty aluminum butterflies into beautiful masterpieces, ranging in size from 12 to 36 inches. Throughout the month of October, these butterflies will migrate around to various local businesses for your viewing pleasure.

Then, on Saturday, November 6, 2021, all are welcome to visit the Fountain Hills Community Garden where the entire collection of butterflies will be showcased. Participants will be able to place bids on these vibrant beauties to display them in their own homes or gardens. 

Sponsorships are available for businesses wanting to display these one-of-a-kind butterflies during the month of October. The levels vary in price and offer additional perks to sponsors.

Those who attend the Community Garden event on November 6 will receive a commemorative lanyard which is also your ticket to attend the annual Pub Flutter, a partnership with local restaurants and pubs that feature food and drink specials.

A special shoutout to Impact Collision Shop for providing and applying the clear coat for the butterflies so they can be enjoyed outdoors all year round.

Artist Vanessa Davisson presents “Flutter Fountain” the 2021 Juried Winner that will be raffled.  For Raffle tickets, text FLUTTER2021 to 76278

Flutter at the Fountain is sponsored by the Sonoran Lifestyle Team at RE/MAX Sun Properties. To participate in the auction and to purchase admission and raffle tickets, visit FountainHillsGives.com. Your purchase supports the annual grants given to local 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations in Fountain Hills.

Click here to learn more about this huge annual event.

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Faces of Fountain Hills Local Businesses Local Events

Art, Food and Fun at the Artists Gallery

Last night (October 14th), the Sonoran Lifestyle Team at RE/MAX Sun Properties and the Fountain Hills Artists Gallery worked together to host a lovely private event. There was food, friends, and lots of local art.

The focal point of this gathering was the amazing collection of artwork. Every piece of art in the Artists Gallery was created by talented people from Fountain Hills and the Verdes. Each work has its own unique story and composition and is for sale at a reasonable price.

Every twenty minutes, a different local artist gave a presentation showcasing the context and origins of their art. They all shared touching backstories, tutorials on their art forms, explanations of individual pieces, and more. Each of these presentations led to conversations and purchases. All of this happened over an arrangement of delicious organic hors-d’oeuvres expertly crafted by Witnessing Nature Catering.

Before each presentation, the winner of a drawing for a free pack of cards designed by local artists was revealed. As the festivities cooled down, there was a final drawing for a beautifully assorted wine basket.

Overall, this event was a huge success. This is just the first in what will hopefully be a series of events the Sonoran Lifestyle Team will sponsor and/or host in the next several months.

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Community Engagement Local Events Outdoor recreation Things to Do

The Fountain Hills Cornhole League begins October 20th

Big News: Fountain Hills has a Cornhole League now! That’s right, if you’ve ever played cornhole and wanted to do more, now is the time to take action.

Cornhole, the classic beanbag-tossing game, actually has a national league, the American Cornhole League (ACL). With this, the Fountain Hills Cornhole League is going to follow the ACL’s standards to create an 8-week tournament experience. You don’t need to be a pro cornhole player to join. Everybody of any skill level is welcome to participate.

The Fountain Hills Cornhole League begins for the first time ever on October 20th. The first meeting will take place at Desert Vista Park at 6:00 PM, and meetings will be held every Wednesday evening from then until December 15th.

The League is still looking for more members in order to create the most fun tournament possible. if you’re interested, you can check out this link to learn more and sign up. Invite your friends to sign up as well. Openings are limited, but a full roster would make for the best experience for everybody!

The Cornhole League is sponsored by the Sonoran Lifestyle Team at RE/MAX Sun Properties and will be hosted by Fountain Hills Parks and Rec.