Holiday Cheer is in the Air

Happy HolidaysThere are so many things going on in downtown Gilbert and throughout the area, it is hard to know where to start.

First, the Heritage District begins its holiday celebration, Thursday, November 17th. This will begin at 6:30 at the Water Tower Plaza with Cisco and the Racecars playing live music. Bring the family and a blanket, and enjoy our beautiful evening weather. After the concert, the “lighting of the water tower” will welcome the beginning of the holiday season.

Second, come out and see how the merchants throughout the Heritage District are decorating their windows. You can vote on your favorite, too. This is a very competitive group and they are all vying not only for your praise, but a trophy and bragging rights. Visit www.discovergilbert.com/holidaywindowcontest.php for more info.

Explore Like a Local & Find the Hidden Gems

I live in Gilbert and have for the past 22 years. I have my favorite places, like Flancer’s for lunch on Friday. Not sure what it is, exactly… the homemade bread for the sandwiches, the atmosphere when you walk in as Greg and his great staff greet you immediately, or the incredible specials, which never disappoint.

Ricky and LuLu Out for a Stroll

Ricky and LuLu Out for a Stroll

Usually after lunch, I have to justify eating so much so I typically take my dogs for a walk through Riparian Water Preserve in the evenings when it cools down. Lucy is a mini dachshund and the other, Ricky, is a mix of terrier and a ball of energy. Walking them through Riparian and down the canal never fails to exhaust them. There must be a million smells as their legs and noses never stop.

Carl's at Riparian Preserve

Check Out Carl’s Array of Pets

A great hidden gem in that area is “Carl’s Damaged Pet Warehouse.” The name is lovingly given, as Carl is an animal lover who has adopted unwanted pets. He has ducks, chickens and geese, donkeys, pigs, goats, sheep, and tortoises. He even puts pellet food out for anyone who wants to feed his castaway pets. They literally come running as soon as someone comes up to the gate to pay attention to them.

I’m a little embarrassed to say I know most of their names too: Knuckle-head the goose, Patrick the donkey, and Buttercup – Patrick’s mom, just to name a few.

Start planning your adventures. This heat can’t last forever!

It’s Hot Out? Not a Problem in Gilbert

Enjoy the Views at Agritopia

Enjoy the Views at Agritopia

So, I’ve lived in Gilbert for a while. 22 years to be exact. I’m not quite sure how a Florida girl whose high school was on the beach and spent every weekend at the beach ended up in the desert, but I’m here and I absolutely love Gilbert.

At times, I still miss the seaside breezes and dipping my feet in the ocean. But I certainly do not miss frizzy hair and trying to figure out how could I have just taken a shower and now am so sticky and sweaty that it sure doesn’t feel like it. With that in mind, I’ve spent some time discovering Gilbert and looking at ways to stay cool.

My first discovery was Agritopia. You’re saying, “Obviously, it is Joe’s Farmhouse Grill.” Definitely a great option, but there’s plenty more to see here. I do this area a little differently.

I have a terrier named Ricky. If you have any kind of terrier, you know they’re full of energy. So, I take him and his cousin LuLu, a mini-dachshund, to Cosmo Dog Park. LuLu is not so energetic and is easily intimidated by other dogs, so she stays close to me. Ricky gets to run around like crazy, find friends and play. LuLu and I hang out under a tree or ramada and have a nice time relaxing.

After Ricky has his fun, we can take a short stroll via the sidewalk over to Agritopia. The sidewalks are tree-lined and shady, and the homes are really fun to look at since they’re very different from the “typical homes in AZ.”

Enjoy Cosmo Dog Park

Enjoy Cosmo Dog Park

My final stop is The Coffee Shop for a refreshing iced coffee or tea drinks – a sweet treat doesn’t hurt to keep you going, either. The Coffee Shop has won awards for their cupcakes on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, but I tend to go for their homemade granola and fruit, or a waffle. They’re dog friendly, too, so Ricky and LuLu can relax and catch their breath and cool off on the shady patio. I love Agritopia and all of the great exploring you can do there. Plan a visit to Gilbert soon and check it out for yourself.

District Second Saturdays

Downtown Gilbert is brimming with amazing food and beverage these days. One group is trying to add a little arts to the flavor of Downtown Gilbert. District Second Saturdays is a self-guided, site specific, art tour through the Heritage District of downtown Gilbert taking place on the second Saturday of each month.

District Second Saturdays local artist

Handmade art at District Second Saturdays in Gilbert

Partnering heritage district merchants with artists is a recent grassroots endeavor that a couple of local businesses have undertaken. Elaine Kessler, of Elaine Kessler Photography, and Jenny Satcher, of Behind the Scenes Execs, are the current coordinators of District Second Saturdays. Together they find local artists and pair them with Gilbert venues to encourage people to experience the artistic talents of our community.

Various heritage merchants are participating or have participated, including Art Intersection, Bergie’s Coffee Roast House, Saint Xavier University, Flancer’s, Gilbert Road Self Storage, C&J’s Antiques and Garden, and the Gilbert Historical Museum.

Artists have included musicians April Anne, and Katelyn Snyder, poet LaKisha Jeans, painter Anessa Matthews, dancers of Ballet Folklorico – Quetzalli, Ministry band No Other Name and performance art students in Gilbert schools. Artists demonstrate their creativity by painting, dancing, singing, etc. on a specific merchant’s property.

A map is posted to the Facebook page so community members can visit the various artists across varied locations. In addition to the map, bright orange cones are placed at the venues featuring art/artists. The time frame is 4 – 6 p.m. until June when the time frame become 5 – 7 p.m.

To make the tour a little more interesting, the coordinators invite participants to take a selfie with the art/artists in the background and hashtag it #DSSGilbert on Facebook which enters them in a raffle to win a gift card to a downtown merchant.

Live music at District Second Saturdays

District Second Saturdays in Gilbert features live music

The intention isn’t to sell artist’s wares but to share in our community’s talent and expressions of creativity. While artists are invited to display some of their work that may potentially be for sale, the intent is to share a working artist’s process and or product. The hope is that more artists and more merchants and more community members will step forward to help celebrate Gilbert’s uniqueness through the arts.

Depending on the current month’s sponsorships, artists may receive stipends for showing their work. There is no fee for participating though artists are selected based on compatibility with the participating merchants.

Get To Know Gilbert Passport

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In celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week 2016, the Town of Gilbert invites you to take this Passport on a fun-filled adventure around town the entire month of April. Whether you are a local or visiting Gilbert, we want you to get out, have some fun, and tell your friends about Gilbert’s relaxed but vibrant atmosphere.

Here is how to use this Passport around town:

  1. selfieDownload and print your passport at discovergilbert.com/passport or pick up a copy at one of the hotels listed.
  2. During the month of April, take a selfie doing something fun in Gilbert. Show us how you have fun hiking, biking, eating out, playing golf by yourself or with your friends, shopping, or just relaxing at the spa.
  3. Post the selfie on any of your social media accounts using the hashtag #DiscoverGilbert.
    Visit one of our 5 local hotels and show them your posting and have them sign/stamp in the boxes on the right side of this card. They will reward you with a “Think Gilbert” bar glass filled with one of their available beverages.
  4. If you want additional glasses, visit the other hotels and show them your selfie.
    Stop by our Gilbert booth at the Gilbert Farmer’s Market on May 7th between 7-11A to meet the Discover Gilbert team. We will be having fun and you can pick up some more great swag and drop off your prize entry.

Glasses subject to availability. Beverage subject to hotel’s availability. No substitutions will be made and no rain checks will be given should glasses not be available during the entire promotion. Drawing to be held at 90 E. Civic Center Drive at approximately 12 Noon on Thursday, May 12, 2016.

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Click here to download the contest entry form for the 2016 National Travel & Tourism Week.