School bells rang throughout the state last week, but we still have a few weekends until summer is in the books.
We found a few fun events around the state to help us take full advantage of what’s left of summer:
It’s peach picking season in Southern Arizona, and that means a big old party in Willcox at Apple Annie’s Orchard’s 20th annual Peach Mania Festival. It’s the final weekend to hop on a wagon and head out to the orchards to pick your own sweet, juicy peaches.
On Saturday, Aug. 17, and Sunday, Aug. 18, you can start your day with an all-you-can-eat peach and pancake breakfast served from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. They also will have free samples of peaches and peach products throughout the day.
If you come out later in the day, you can check out the apple-smoked burger lunch served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Apple Annie’s is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at 2081 W. Hardy Road in Willcox. There is no cost for admission, but it’s $1.79 a pound for peaches you pick, $2.09 a pound if they pick them for you. Details: appleannies.com.
Let’s continue with the farm-fresh theme, shall we? Take a road trip this weekend to the Mortimer Family Farms to celebrate its sweet corn, blackberries and strawberries.
This is pick-it-yourself, off the stalk sweet corn, big fat blackberries and summer-sweet strawberries off the vines.
The farm is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. It’s $7 to get in and the price includes hayrides, free live music and a chance to slip into the cornfields and pick some sweet corn at its peak.
Mortimer Family Farms is not far from Prescott at 12907 E. State Route 169, where the average daily high this time of year rarely tops 90 degrees. You might want to consider going on Friday, Aug. 16, to take part in a Mortimer Family tradition: The popular Friday night barn dance. It’s from 6 to 10 p.m. and admission is $10 a person through mortimerfarmsaz.com.
OK, one more farm-ish event that caught our eye.
You ever wonder about those pretty purplish bulbs on cactus pads dotting Arizona?
Well, they are indeed edible, although not many of us are brave enough to harvest the fruit sitting atop a blanket of prickly needles.
For seven years now, the folks in Superior — the quaint mountain town about 60 miles east of Phoenix — have showcased prickly pear fruit in their annual Prickly Pear Festival. The eighth annual festival is Saturday, Aug. 17, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Superior Town Hall, 199 N. Lobb Ave., and it’s a chance to sample the fruit, enjoy live music and entertainment and discover the edible part of the desert that many of us simply ignore.
The Prickly Pear Festival also offers you a chance to forage for your own prickly pear, which could open up all sorts of avenues for folks who have the cacti growing in their front yard.
Phoenix Mercury, Arizona’s WNBA team, is having a pretty solid season. You have two chances to see them in action this weekend:
- At 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, they face off at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 E. Jefferson St. in downtown Phoenix, with Atlanta Dream, a team they barely beat in early July.
- At 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, they are back at Talking Stick for a rematch against New York Liberty, who beat the Mercury by four points in early July.
The Mercury has some of the WNBA’s most dynamic players in the dangerous duo of 6-foot-9 center Brittney Griner and 6-foot guard Diana Taurasi. Tickets start at $9 through ticketmaster.com.