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Judy Hedding

11 Free Things To Do In and Around Phoenix - February/March 2013

By February 25, 2013

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This week you can meet a NASCAR champ, have fun with trash, see cool bikes, analyze basketball, get out with art, get out west, look at cars, check out fire engines, reduce stress, meet an astronaut and play at a museum.

This column includes activities and programs in the Greater Phoenix area that have free admission. If you are looking for fundraisers, seminars, workshops, and other community programs that have an admission charge, or where donations are expected, I have a separate column for those. You can find those listings in my blog. They tend to cover a wider range of dates than a week, because advance registration is often required. For the long list of activities and festivals that are annual events in Greater Phoenix check the calendar.

What: 2013 Daytona 500 Champion
When: Thursday, February 28, 2013 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Westgate City Center, Entertainment District, Glendale
The winner of the 2013 Daytona 500 Champion, Jimmie Johnson, will appear for a live Q&A. Special appearances will begin with Bryan Sperber, president of PIR, SUBWAY spokesman Jared, Miss Sprint Cup and sportscaster Kevin McCabe recapping the race. Westgate's Water Dance Plaza will transform into a racing fan fest with a live band, interactive racing displays and NASCAR show cars.

What: The Purpose of Repurposing - The Fun Side of Recycling
When: Thursday, February 28, 2013 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Granite Reef Community Center 1700 N Granite Reef Rd., Scottsdale
At this informal community gathering, Sustainable Communities AZ and Greenliving magazine brings in experts to share fresh and exciting ideas in giving new purpose to things and spaces you might find in households or workplaces. Explore innovative ways to upcycle items into creative and modern home decor, gifts, and remodeling ideas.

What: Motorcycles on Main
When: Friday, March 1, 2013 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Downtown Mesa
Bikers cruise Main Street, show off their bikes. Live music. Family friendly.

What: Adults' Night Out at the Arizona Science Center
When: Friday, March 1, 2013 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Arizona Science Center, Phoenix
Explore the Center's exhibit galleries from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Ages 18+ only. Lecture presentation at 7 p.m. (free): The Physics of Basketball presented by Michael McBeath, PhD, Arizona state University. (IMAX film, planetarium, special exhibitions are not free during this event.)

What: Art Weekend
When: Friday and Saturday, March 1 and 2, 2013
Where: Arizona Center in Downtown Phoenix
A combination event bridging the artistic energy of First Fridays on March 1 and Art Detour, March 2 and 3. Held in the main courtyard, the two-day community festival includes local artists and musicians and restaurant specials. Admission and parking is free. Friday, March 1: 5:30 pm - 10 pm; Saturday, March 2: noon - 9:30 pm.

What: Out West
When: March 1 - 31, 2013
Where: Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
The free exhibit features rare Arizona gay rodeo posters, programs, photographs, belt buckles and pins provided by Arizona Gay Rodeo Association (AGRA). The library will host a "sneak peek" of the exhibit in conjunction with First Friday 6 - 8 p.m. Friday, March 1. Throughout the month, the library will host a series of free programs to compliment the exhibit. Programs include:
Saturday, March 2 from 2 to 4 p.m. - "Pride in the Saddle" Conversation with gay rodeo founder John King and collector Dan Iverson.
Thursday, March 7 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. - "Beyond Brokeback" staged reading with music based on more than 500,000 posts of messages, essays and poetry from the Ultimate Brokeback Forum website.
Thursday, March 21 from 7 to 8 p.m. - Author, filmmaker and playwright Gregory Hinton discusses writing books and making films with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) themes.
Thursday, March 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. - Arizona Senator Jack C. Jackson, Jr. will introduce "Two Spirits," a PBS Independent Lens award-winning documentary exploring the life and death of Native American teen Fred Martinez. Discussion with filmmaker Lydia Nibley will follow. Canyon Records artists Aaron White and Anthony Wakeman are also scheduled to perform.

What: St. Peter's Car Show & Family Day
When: Saturday, March 2, 2013 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Where: St. Peter's Church, 400 South Old Litchfield Road, Litchfield Park
About 150 classic vehicles are expected to be on display with judging in 24 classes plus special recognition trophies. All spectators will be admitted free of charge. Military vehicles display, children's coloring contest with prizes (go online to enter). Fun zone for kids. DJ playing classic hits from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

What: Chandler Fire Dept. Open House
When: Saturday, March 2, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Chandler Fire Department, 151 E. Boston St., Chandler
The event will feature apparatus and vehicle displays, demonstrations by the Technical Rescue Unit, vehicle extraction demonstrations, information booths, tours and Hands-Only CPRTM classes every half hour. For children, there will be free balloons, coloring books, lil' fire hats, and appearances by the department mascot. Free parking is available within walking distance, including the City Hall garage at 240 S. Washington Street. Please note that the annual Ostrich Festival Parade will be taking place the same morning nearby.

What: Reduce Your Stress
When: Saturday, March 2, 2013 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Where: Mesa Public Library, Main Branch, 64 E. First St., Mesa
Dr. Eric Hampton is a primary care physician and founder of Arizona Prohealth. The 60-minute workshop uses healthcare that is focused on identifying and managing the causes of stress and anxiety. Dr. Hampton will also talk about ways to manage and treat the stress related symptoms.

What: Destination Station: Phoenix
When: Saturday, March 2, 2013 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
This program is an outreach effort by NASA to share, educate and inspire the public about the International Space Station. The space station is a multi-national research facility and the largest spacecraft ever built. It is an official U.S. National Laboratory, where astronauts and scientists from around the world conduct experiments in life, physical, Earth and space sciences, as well as human health, technologies for space exploration and the improvement of life on Earth. Retired US Air Force Colonel and NASA Astronaut Catherine "Cady" Coleman will be on hand, having logged more than 4,330 hours in space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia and the International Space Station.

What: Bank of America presents Museums on Us
When: Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3, 2013
Where: Phoenix Art Museum, Musical Instrument Museum, Children's Museum of Phoenix
Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card holders get a free admission to the three museums mentioned. Photo ID and a valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented. One free general admission limited to cardholder at participating institution, excluding fundraising events, special exhibitions and ticketed shows. Not to be combined with other offers.

More Freebies

If you've arrived at this page and find that the event dates have past, check my recent blog entries for more Free Things -- I write about free things to do in Greater Phoenix several times per month.

If you know about a free event that's open to the public that you'd like me to consider for this weekly column, complete and submit this form at least 8 days prior to the event and I'll consider it.

All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.

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