It’s that time of year again when the horses are running around a track and the women are wearing even more elaborate hats. The Kentucky Derby is being held on Saturday May 2nd and venues across the valley are hosting parties. Here are a couple highlights.

DeSoto Market

The new downtown eatery is hosting it’s first ever Kentucky Derby party, with $6 mint juleps and Kentucky Hot Brown Burgers in addition to the spectacular fare that can typically be found at Desoto Market. Guests are encouraged to dress in their best Derby attire as they may win a prize.

Kentucky Derby Party at the Phoenician

kentucky derby events in arizonaThe Phoenician hosts an annual Kentucky Derby Party that is not to be missed featuring classic southern dishes, a Winner’s Circle Raffle, and contests for best hat and best Southern fashion. A portion of proceeds for this event benefits, After the Homestretch a charity helps retired racehorses find homes. Guests can take photos with the horses after watching the Derby in action.

Bubbles and Brown

For those of you not looking for the pomp and circumstance of the Phoenician, the pub Kelly’s at Southbridge is hosting a relaxed party with $10 glasses of champagne and $8 mint juleps made with Maker’s Mark bourbon. Awards will be given out to the guest with best hat and the best dressed couple.

Kentucky Derby Party at Turf Paradise

If you are looking for a high-­octane event then don’t miss the Kentucky Derby Party at Turf Paradise. The largest derby party in the state, Turf Paradise hosts 8,000 people for the annual event. In addition to airing the derby on the big screen, guests will be able to place their wages at the venue. The track will also be hosting its own races, as well as a fashion contest, live music, and activities for children. The first 4,000 guests will receive a commemorative derby glass.

Kentucky Derby Celebration at Southern Rail

The southern themed gastropub will feature it’s famous brunch menu from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with specials like tea sandwiches, pickled shrimp and onion, bacon tarts. Drink specials include mint juleps and creole­ lemonade cocktails at $5. Again, Southern Rails will be holding a costume contest for best hat and best southern outfit.

Long known for passing controversial bills into written law, the state legislature has enacted and placed into effect several new laws that the general public may not know about. Here’s a list of some of the newest laws to hit the books in the state of Arizona.

Arizona Laws Now in Effect

  • uber driverLyft and Uber drivers must now carry at least $250,000 in liability insurance. While the drivers will not face many of the same regulations that taxi drivers face, they must also pass background checks and vehicle inspections.
  • Another law addresses drivers ticketed for speeding. Before this law was passed, drivers could only go to traffic school once every two years to clear their driving record after a speeding ticket. That timeframe has been shortened to one year.
  • On the healthcare side, women in Arizona who buy health insurance on the federal exchange can no longer purchase optional abortion coverage.
  • Naturopathic doctors will face tighter regulations for recommending medical marijuana.
  • Plastic bags are here to stay. It’s now illegal for cities to place bans on plastic bags or for supermarkets to charge for them.
  • Hunters who harass other hunters now face having their hunting license revoked.
  • Individuals are now allowed to get any lab test from a licensed clinical laboratory without doctor’s orders.
  • The darn fence is going up. The Joint Border Security Advisory Committee is now allowed to use the $264,000 collected from private donations to build a physical or virtual fence as close to the Arizona-Mexico border as practical.
  • Arizona is the first state to require high school students to pass a civics test in order to graduate. The test is the same 100 question test used by the U.S. Department of Immigration and Naturalization.
  • Panhandlers are not allowed to come within 15 feet of you while at the ATM or bank, or to touch you or obstruct your path.

For more information on how the Arizona legislature works, or how to find out about pending legislation, head to

Fostering a child’s creativity is just as important as continuing their education and keeping up-to-date with their health. spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity, provides a completely immersive environment that champions the work of local creatives and inspires creativity within every visitor.

The event takes place at the Mesa Arts Center Friday, March 18th and Saturday, March 19th from noon to 10pm.

The event showcases a wide variety of musical performances from local and regional artists including country, rock, latin, blues, and jazz. However, the centerpieces of the event are the collaborative art pieces that allow visitors to flex their creative muscles.

Past year’s highlights include:

The Austin Bike Zoo

bike zoo praying mantis Why visit the zoo when you can become the zoo? The Austin Bike Zoo is an exhibition that travels the country featuring anthropomorphic bicycles that look like various animals and insects. Last year the event featured a massive rattlesnake powered by over 5 bicycles. This is perfect for teaching children about teamwork in a fun and exciting setting.

Carpetbag Brigade Physical Theater

Trained actors, clowns and theater professionals will be canvassing the event in various wheeled contraptions and stilts. This team shows that theater doesn’t need to happen on stage, in fact as Shakespeare once said, “The World’s a Stage”

Collaborative Art Pieces

The main focus of spark! is to get children and parents excited about the creative arts. To this end, spark! features a wide variety of art pieces that combine technology, teamwork and originality to create unique art experiences. Several exhibitions last year including “Sandboxes of Life,” “Water Light Graffiti” and “In Dark Waters” encouraged visitors to get their hands dirty and interact with the art. Expect to see more of the same in 2016.

Entry to the event is free with the exception of ticketed performs in the MAC theaters. Additionally, the festival will provide local food options that exemplify creativity in the culinary arts.