Thanks to the near-perfect weather in the winter and spring, it’s not hard to catch a fun outdoor festival well into April.
The Barrett Jackson Auto Auction (16601 N. Pima Rd., 480/663-6255, www.barrett-jackson.com ) kicks off the social calendar with an impressive showcase of luxury and historic vehicles. The weeklong event at the WestWorld complex in North Scottsdale is one of the largest and best-attended auto auctions in the world.
The annual Celebration of Fine Art (southeast corner of Scottsdale Rd. and Mayo Blvd., 480/443-7695, www.celebrateart.com ) runs January through March, when big white tents dot the desert near Scottsdale Road and Highway 101 (Loop 101). Some 100 artists set up their studios, allowing browsers and buyers to peruse an extensive collection of Western and contemporary paintings, sculptures, glass, ceramics, and jewelry.
Each year in late January or early February, pro golfers come to play the TPC Scottsdale  Stadium Course and their fans come to watch and enjoy the tournament’s party scene. This is not your typical golf tournament.
A bit of old Arizona that manages to hang on, Parada del Sol Rodeo (various venues, 480/990-3179, www.paradadelsol.org ) reminds Scottsdale  residents in late February that despite the BMWs and designer sunglasses, this is still the Wild West. The month-long event includes a Pony Express ride, dances, and live country music, culminating in a professional rodeo and the “World’s Largest Horsedrawn Parade” in Old Town .
Also in February, the 50-year-old Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show (16601 N. Pima Rd., 480/515-1500, www.scottsdaleshow.com ) gathers some 2,000 Arabian horses at WestWorld for 10 days of shows, competitions, demonstrations, and seminars.
The three-day Scottsdale Arts Festival (3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd., 480/874-4699, www.scottsdaleartsfestival.org ) in March gathers 200 jury-selected artists and 40,000 visitors to the Scottsdale Mall for entertainment, artist demonstrations, live music and exhibitions galore.
This city is a foodie mecca, so it’s little wonder why the Scottsdale Culinary Festival (3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd., 480/945-7193, www.scottsdaleculinaryfestival.org ) in April entices 40,000 people to eat, drink, and party. Taste the hard work of local restaurants and national celebrity chefs at the festival’s Great Arizona Picnic on the Scottsdale Mall, or dine at one of the dozen events around town.
The small but surprisingly good Scottsdale International Film Festival (7001 E. Highland Ave., 602/410-1074, www.scottsdalefilmfestival.com ) in October attracts audiences to Harkins Camelview Theater, with a global assortment of dramas, comedies, and documentaries.