Spring is always a wonderful time of year in Arizona. Consistently sunny, clear and temperate days are strung together throughout this special season like bright blue beads on a necklace. 

And these sunny days are usually packed with plenty of fun outdoor activities and events from late February to late April. 

But there's something particularly special about this spring.

As the CDC recently scaled back its strong mask recommendation, this season may just be the first time in a long time when many people begin to genuinely feel that life is returning to normal.

This season also marks the return of plenty of annual events that were canceled during the last two years.  

Country Thunder, which officially had its comeback last fall, returns to its usual April festival dates this spring. Meanwhile, the student art show at The Museum of Casa Grande and seasonal celebrations like the Peach Festival at Schnepf Farms will also return.

And that's just naming a few of the annual activities that are scheduled in the coming months. 

Of course, you can always refer to our quarterly entertainment calendars at the back of this issue's print edition to see more upcoming Pinal County events. 

2022 has also been special because it has marked the return of plenty of art-centric festivals and events. So it seemed only natural that we would celebrate art in its many forms in this issue. 

Stories you'll find included here cover everything from organizations that champion local artists, such as the Casa Grande Art Association and the Artists of the Superstitions, to how local artists, like Lisa Swanson, are making their mark around the county. 

We've talked to local business owners who have started art-based businesses. These include Casa de Baca Studios in Florence and Signjunkie in Arizona City. 

Performance art in its many forms also plays an important role in the lives of Pinal's youth and community members, and we would be remiss not to include it within this issue. This season, we've interviewed the owner behind the Desert Sun Performing Arts Studio in Maricopa and talked to the instructor in charge of Central Arizona College's recording studio and Entertainment Industry Technology Program. 

As we near one of the biggest performance art events in our county — Country Thunder — we've included a guide to everything you need to know about the four-day music festival as well as Florence's Road to Country Thunder. 

So as the weather gets warmer, the days get longer and the desert begins to bloom, we hope you will join us in getting out there to witness the creativity of the people that make our county what it is. 

Do you have a story idea you'd like us to know about? A Pinal in Pictures submission? Or something else you'd like to tell us about? We love to hear from our readers! I can be reached at rkhairalla@pinalcentral.com.


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