Michale Franti

I Love Mesa Day features games for kids and music around town. At the Mesa Amphitheatre, free concerts will be provided by Young the Giant and Mesa’s own


Councilwoman Julie Spilsbury told her counterparts at a meeting last week she attended an Arizona League of Cities conference. 

“I just felt so proud to be from Mesa the whole time,” she said. “Every session someone brought up Mesa and the great things we’re doing here.”

The civic pride continues Saturday, Sept. 25, when a downtown festival celebrates how much locals heart their city.

I Love Mesa Day, sponsored by the city and Downtown Mesa Association, is a free, family-friendly festival featuring outdoor activities, including two concerts.

The festival begins at 8 a.m. and lasts until 10 p.m.

A Kid Zone features activities for the young on Macdonald between Main Street and Pepper Place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Kid Zone will feature carnival games, activities, entertainment and carnival rides.

Older folks can enjoy  live music with Dr. Dave Yount at Il Vinaio from 6:30 to 9 p.m. On the restaurant’s menu is the I Heart Mesa burger and Mesa Pecan Pie Bread Pudding a la mode, made with Mesa honey.

The Neighborhood Comedy Theatre plans improv shows at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. (for tickets, visit nctphoenix.com).

One of the stars of downtown Mesa’s beer scene, 12 West Brewing Company, showcases rock and reggae singer Raul Burruel from 1 to 4 p.m., with the Tommy Grills Band playing Motown, blues and rock from 7 to 10.

The Downtown Mesa Farmers Market portion of the festival takes place from 8 a.m. to noon along the Center Street side of the Mesa Arts Center.

The action shifts to Main Street from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

Concerts at the Mesa Amphitheatre, 263 N. Center Street, begin with the Michael Franti Trio at 5:30 p.m. 

Bay Area political-charged musician Franti is a veteran who started his career with the Beatnigs before shifting to the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and Spearhead. He mashes hip hop with funk, reggae, jazz, folk, rock and poetry.

Southern California rockers Young the Giant hit the stage at 8:30 p.m. Formerly known as the Jakes, Young the Giant made some noise with three singles (“My Body”, “Cough Syrup” and “Apartment”) from its debut album. Young the Giant’s most recent album is “Mirror Master.”

Like many other acts, Franti and Young the Giant are touring for the first time since the pandemic shut down venues across the country.

Mesa’s own Quetzal Guerrero also will perform at the Mesa Amphitheatre. The talented violinist-guitarist-singer grooves on Latin and world beats.

Ticket registration for the free concert will be on a first-come, first-served basis at mesaamp.com.

I Love Mesa Day includes free admission to Arizona Museum of Natural History, i.d.e.a. Museum and Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.

The i.d.e.a. Museum and Arizona Museum of Natural History will be open an extra hour – from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Both will offer timed entries that visitors can reserve online. Walk-ins will be admitted based on ticket availability. 

At i.d.e.a. Museum, the “Robo Art” exhibition features hands-on activities and ArtVille – “a colorful town featuring imaginative play activities aimed at children four and younger (socks required).” 

The Arizona Museum of Natural History features “75,000,000 B.C.” which walks visitors through southern Arizona and northern Sonora 75 million years ago, including giant volcanoes and always-popular dinosaurs. 

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, 1 E. Main St., showcases international artists Alex Grey and Allyson Grey, among others.

Masks are optional at city facilities.

For more information, visit downtownmesa.com, mesaamp.com or mesaaz.gov

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