21st Century’s SECOND DECADE
Desert will turn green

Looks like the desert, which many think is desolate and brown, will be turning green the first four months of the new decade.

The green is tourist $$$$. Hope you bring your’s.

Kicking off the year, Jan. 2 there’s the Fiesta Bowl Parade right down the central part of Phoenix. There’s the bowl game two days later – yawn; but please bring your green.

Jan. 17 is the P F Chang Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon. This brings runners from around the world who drop lots of $$$ while in Arizona. Following on that event’s heels is the Barrett-Jackson auto auction, Jan. 18 through 24. More $$$$ green.

The Phoenix Open was the same weekend as the Super Bowl, but this year someone got smart and pushed it a month farther into the year. It is now Waste Management Phoenix Open (I kid you not) from Feb. 25 to Feb. 28.

While you’re spreading $$$$ during that event, I heartily recommend the first outdoor festival of the year in North America, Blues Blast, Feb. 27. Held at Mesa Amphitheater, it is fabulous and a great place to work on that tan – the one fading from the running event and golf game.

Also kicking off on Feb. 25 is MLB spring training. Arizona is the only place in the world with Major League Baseball played 10 months a year.

Here’s that first day schedule:

February 25 Wednesday

White Sox vs. Angels at Tempe ... 1:05

Athletics vs. Brewers at Maryvale ... 1:05

Dodgers vs. Cubs at Mesa ... 1:05

Giants vs. Indians at Goodyear ... 1:05

Padres vs. Mariners at Peoria ... 1:05

Royals vs. Rangers at Surprise ... 1:05

Diamondbacks vs. Rockies at Tucson (Hi Corbett) ... 1:10

The official MLB season starts April 5, meaning no more spring training after April 4; but you can catch the Arizona Diamondbacks playing the Padres in downtown Phoenix on the 5th.

We still have more ways to make the desert green in March and April. How about Wrestlemania XXVI March 28? Right here in Glendale. On April 9, watch a NASCAR race.

Stick around and see Mr. Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, and Mr. Pam Anderson (at least one of them), Kid Rock, at Country Thunder in Florence, Ariz., April 14 through 17 Here’s most of the lineup, Miranda Lambert, Willie Nelson, Gary Allan, Neal McCoy, Kevin Costner & Modern West, Jo Dee Messina, Big Kenny, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Gloriana, Randy Houser, The Grascals, Trailer Choir, Kate & Kacey, Collin Raye, Jason Jones, Love and theft. You’ll be working on your tan as the weather climbs near the century mark at that time of the year.

Since my tan is permanent, I’m waiting for Jack’s Mannequin on Feb. 13. Was going to catch Weezer on Jan. 15, but they cancelled. You can catch Mariah Carey in an intimate setting in downtown Phoenix on Feb. 20.

Mark Knopfler will be in Phoenix April 18; Cheech & Chong April 24 and Norah Jones, April 25. Also before May, Heart, Reba & George Strait, Bon Jovi, and Michael Buble,

Black Eyed Peas come for the second time in a few months (opened for U2 late 2009) on March 31. If you’re looking for oldies, Styx play a reservation casino (of course) Jan. 21 and Society Child’s Janis Ian (‘60s) on March 10

Also for tourists is the Arizona Renaissance Faire Feb. 6 through March 28. Wenches, beer, turkey legs and sun. Great combination. Make sure you book a nearby hotel room in case you catch a wench or have too much brew.

You can go to L.A. or Vegas, but you’re missing LOTS of fun in the heart of the Sonoran desert if you don’t come this winter or spring.


Forgot what used to be National Hot Rod Association Winter Nationals, now known as 26th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals, Feb. 19-21. More green.