Surprise to host inaugural Rib Fest Showdown in April

Update: Postponed, no new date set.

As culinary events and food festivals get postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus a new festival is moving forward as planned. The first ever Rib Fest Showdown debuts April 25th & 26th 2020 in Surprise at Mark Coronado Park. The Throwdown pits Kansas City vs. Texas pitmasters to see who makes the best smokes meats. With the aroma of burning wood in the air festival goers will taste ribs and other smoked meats.

The city of Surprise was chosen as co-host of the event as it’s the Spring Training home of both Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals & Texas Rangers.

“We are thrilled to partner with the City of Surprise to launch this exciting event,” said Landon Evans owner of HDE Agency. “Supporting the economic growth and working together to build a cornerstone event for the city that will come to be recognized as an annual program is both rewarding and awesome.”

LDE Agency is also producing the KNIX BBQ & Beer Festival on March 28th in Chandler and is taking every per-caution to make sure both festivals are safe, clean and happen as planned.

The family friendly festival also features a ‘Battle of the Bands” with local and national performers, a kid’s zone, food eating contests and more.

The Rib Fest Showdown goes from 12 – 10 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are on sale with 2 for $16, 4 for $30 or 6 for $40. Walk -up tickets the day of will be $10  each. VIP tickets and a Stay & Play overnight packages are available. A portion of the proceeds from the Rib Fest Throwdown will be donated to Mighty Change of Heart, a local non-profit that provides support for foster children.

Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival is back March 21st and 22nd

Downtown Camp Verde is getting ready for people of all ages for the 20th annual Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival co-hosted by the Verde Valley Wine Consortium and the town on Saturday and Sunday March 21st & 22nd. The festival draws people from around Arizona that will feature 15 local wineries along with a variety of pecans. Festival goers can enter a Pecan pie eating contest, enjoy a cold beer in the beer garden, dance to live music, visit local artists and purchase food from local food trucks. It’s one of the festivals coming up that feature Arizona wines.

“What started as a great way to celebrate two local products of the region has turned into an annual tradition that now draws thousands of attendees to our town,” said Michael Marshall, Camp Verde Parks and Recreation Manager. “We now have more wineries than ever, our famous Pecan Pie contest, live music throughout each day and more food and craft vendors – which means we are also expecting our biggest crowds in the festival’s 20-year history.”

 A few of the wineries pouring wine include Burning Tree Cellars, Carlson Creek Vineyards and Page Spring Cellars. The festival is FREE for all ages to attend but those looking to taste wine need to purchase tickets. Early bird tickets are $20 on-line and $25 at the door. Included are a commemorative glass and 6 tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets can be purchased.

Saturday the festival goes from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 75 E. Hollamon St. Camp Verde 86322. For more information visit their website.

Off the Vine Arizona Wine Festival back for its 7th year

Over 25 Arizona wineries will be pouring their award-winning wines Saturday 15th 2020 for the 7th annual “Off the Vine” Arizona Wine Festival at the historic Steam Pump Ranch in Oro Valley. The Arizona Wine Growers Association is hosting the festival that will also feature food trucks, live music, local artists and more.

“Off the Vine has quickly become one of our biggest events of the year, and after seeing record-breaking attendance in 2019 we’re expecting an even bigger crowd for 2020,” said Kris Pothier, president of the AWGA and owner of Chateau Tumbleweed. “Steam Pump Ranch and the surrounding mountains provides such a beautiful setting for wine lovers to experience wines from across the state and even meet the winemakers themselves, who are often in attendance.”

off the vine
Photo credit to Jenelle Bonnifield

Pillsbury Wine Company, Rune Wines and Oddity Wine Collective are a few wineries traveling from around Arizona to the ranch built in the 1800s. The bluesy big band sounds of the Peter Swan Trio will provide the playlist for the 7 hour festival that starts at 11 a.m.

Early Bird tickets are $25 and include 8 sampling tickets and a commemorative glass can be purchased here. Day of event tickets is $30.

 

Gilbert Pizza Festival slices up crave worthy food for first annual event

Update: Festival tentatively postponed until April 25. Tickets to be valid then. Those wanting a refund can email dave@phxfest.com until March 21st. Check back to details.

Details were announced this week for the inaugural Gilbert Pizza Festival on Saturday, March 21st 2020. 15 pizza vendors will meet up south of downtown at the Gilbert Civic Center for six hours of pizza heaven starting at 11 a.m. Slices will be sold for $2-$4 and whole pies will be available.

Local pizza makers Fiordino’s Pizza Muffin Truck, Il Bosco, Freak Bros., NYPD and Jimmy & Joe’s are a few scheduled to participate. Local craft brewer Arizona Wilderness will be pouring beer and wine for festival goers. The festival will offer a dessert station to sweetin’ things up along with lawn games from AZ Board Source, live music and a kid’s craft zone.

Tickets for the Gilbert Pizza Festival are available online for $10 at their website. The festival is expected to sell out in advance like the Phoenix Pizza Festival from the same event organizer. Kids 12 and under are free. More pizza vendors are being added and stay up to date by checking their website.

The Gilbert Civic Center is at 50 E. Civic Center Drive, Gilbert, AZ 85296.

Top Chef John Tesar coming to 2020 Nirvana Food & Wine Festival

Update: Rescheduled to October. Purchased tickets good then, details to come.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa has announced the dates and schedule of events for the fourth annual Nirvana Food & Wine Festival. April 16th -19th Chef and Nirvana host Beau MacMillan welcomes celebrity chef’s Robert Irvine, Scott Contant and Bravo Network’s “Top Chef” winner John Tesar. Celebrities including Rob Riggle and The Bella Twins and other chefs will be hosting and having fun with guests along with chefs and mixologists from around Arizona.

“This event is one that is so near and dear to my heart,” said MacMillan. “Having the opportunity to celebrate outstanding culinary talent, mixology, music and more alongside some of my closest friends and fellow foodies is a true privilege. Nirvana really offers something for everyone and that’s a big part of what makes the festival such a special experience.”

The annual festival celebrates food, wine, music and spirits in a most luxurious resort in the valley and has become a very popular festival in only three years.

Top Chef

Tickets for the five headlining events are available with additional events and after parties still may be added to the weekend’s festivities.

Thursday, April 16- Wood, Wine & Wagyu presented by Far Niente 

The 2020 festival kicks off with this ever-popular event, featuring superstar culinary talent from across North America preparing Snake River Farms American Wagyu cooked over open-wood flames while celebrity mixologists craft whisky-based cocktails utilizing Woodford Reserve. Guests will then be invited to take their places at the table for an intimate, family style dinner with wines hand selected by Far Niente. Country music superstars D. Vincent Williams, Dillon Dixon and Joe Diffy will provide musical accompaniment. Tickets start at $350.

Friday, April 17- Flutes & Coops

Experience the ultimate Champagne campaign and fried chicken feast headlined by DJ Miss Mixx, Fosterson and 17 of the Valley’s best chefs preparing their best fried chicken recipes. This indoor/outdoor event will feature full bars and cocktails shaken by some of the Valley’s best mixologists with one chef being crowned king of Flutes & Coops by popular vote. Tickets start at $150.

Saturday, April 18- Tequila & Tortillas

Grab the salt and limes! Held at the iconic Hotel Valley Ho, this year’s Dia de los Muertos-themed Tequila & Tortillas event will feature nearly 20 locally and nationally recognized chefs cooking up the best of the best in southwestern fare. Since no fiesta is complete without tequila, several of the Valley’s top cocktailers will be on-site mixing up delicious tequila-based cocktails.

This year’s event also features a team “taco takedown” competition, tequila luges and a stunning art presentation by the renowned Gennaro Garcia. Tickets start at $125.

Saturday, April 18- Best of the West

The biggest event of the weekend, Best of the West will be hosted by Scott Conant and Tony Abou-Ganim and will offer 20 live-action stations showcasing cuisine from the most talented chefs of the Valley and greater Arizona. Set to the backdrop of the stunning Camelback Mountain, this not-to-miss event will also offer live musical performances from Double D and the Nashville Allstars to close out the night. Tickets start at $175

Sunday, April 19- Rosé Parté  

The star-studded rosé-all-day trend continues with Rosé Parté, co-hosted by Robert Irvine and the Bella Twins. Guests will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with some of the Valley’s top culinary talent as well as taste two-dozen different rosé wines. This brunch-style party will also include craft cocktails, ice carvings, a raw bar and beats by DJ Miss Mixx. Giving new meaning to the term “Sunday Funday,” this is a not-to-miss closing experience. Tickets start at $150.

French fries and live music return to the FRIED Festival

Update: Postponed, no date set yet!

Hard to believe January is almost over and we’re looking to Saturday April 18th for the FRIED: A French Fry and Music Festival. We are, so circle the date on your calendar when over 20 local vendors serve up gourmet French fries and local indie bands return to Margaret T. Hance Park.

Expect to be in French fry heaven as popular Phoenix area restaurants and food trucks top our favorite fried food with everything from carne asada to lobster and kimchee. You can try the creatively topped gourmet French fries for only $2-$3 with larger sharing sizes available. Line-ups for bands and vendors are being finalized with announcements made on the festival’s social media. Lawn games, a marketplace and non- French fry foods will be available at the festival that starts at 12 noon. Gracie’s Tax Bar will be on hand serving libations.

This popular festival is from PHX Fest the same calorie loving folks who bring us the Phoenix Pizza Festival and Downtown Donut Festival. Part of the proceeds goes to Phoenix Inc., a community group promoting downtown Phoenix as a world class city.

Phoenix Spokes People will valet your bike if your ride down and Lyft discount codes will be available. Tickets are on sale and can only be purchased on-line for $10 at https://www.friedfestival.com/. Margaret T. Hance Park is at 1202 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85004.

Sour Beer and Cider festival coming to the Gem City

Update: Rescheduled to October 24th and merged with Southwest Cider Festival. Details to come, purchased tickets valid in October.

With the popularity of sour beer and ciders the last few years it’s no surprise that they’ve have their own festival. The Gem City Sours & Ciders Festival comes to downtown Mesa’s Cider Corps on Saturday March 21st.  A nickname for Mesa, Gem City was once by city officials for its abundant produce, shaded streets and modern buildings. More than 24 Arizona breweries and cideries from the southwest will be pouring their beers and ciders.

Cider Corps co-owner and cider maker Jason Duren organized the festival after noticing the similarities between sour beer and cider. “We love how collaborative our craft beverage community is. We talk with other breweries about the science behind lactic acid producing bacteria and how they impact the final taste of the beverage,” Duren explained. “The festival is a chance for people to discover what these styles are all about and sample what our region is creating.” Duren has experience not just making cider but by planning successful Southwest Cider Festivals in 2018 and 2019.

Photo and logo courtesy of Angela Muniz at AMBA

The festival starts at 2 p.m. for VIP ticket ($50) holders and 4 p.m. for General Admission ($35). In addition to early entry VIP ticket holders get 20 sample tickets, a commemorative t-shirt and glass. General Admission gets 15 sample tickets and commemorative glass. There will be live music, pub games and food trucks on hand to entertain and feed festival goers. The festival ends at 8 p.m.

To purchase tickets head to the Eventbrite link. Cider Corps is at 31 S. Robson, Mesa 85210.

The Pressroom to host Nom Nom Noodles Festival.

Noodles come in all shapes and sizes depending on where you are in the world and ingredients used to make them. Baked, boiled then tossed in sauces and seasonings they take on different tastes and flavors. Downtown Phoenix’s The Pressroom will showcase a variety of noodles at the 1st Annual Nom Nom Noodles Festival on the evening of Saturday January 18th 2020.

The Asian inspired festival will feature 12 noodle restaurants and businesses and will offer everything from ramen to chow mein to alfredo and more. All dishes will be available for purchase with each vendor offering at least one dish for $5 or less. The Pressroom will offer beer and cocktails for purchase and there will be Boba and desserts available as well. A curated marketplace featuring local artists will be on hand and guests will be able to play games.

Tickets for the festival are $8 for General Admission and early entry at 4:30 are $13. Children ages 7-12 are $4 and children 6 and under are free. Most vendors will accept cash and credit card and the festival will be held indoors and outdoors.

The Pressroom is at 441 W. Madison St. Phoenix 85003. For more information visit the festival’s Facebook page.

Strong Beer Festival tickets go on sale Black Friday

Once you wake up from your turkey coma on Black Friday make your way down to Arizona Craft Brewers Guild’s Tempe office as tickets for the Strong Beer Festival go on sale. Other locations around Arizona will also offer the best prices for the February 8th festival before they increase December 3rd.

“The only gift better than tickets to the Arizona Strong Beer Festival is tickets that come with a Festival t-shirt or hat,” says Rob Fullmer, Executive Director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. “Locals can visit the Guild office on Black Friday for the best ticket prices in town plus Arizona Strong Beer Festival and Arizona Beer Week swag you won’t find anywhere else.”

This year’s festival marks its 20th anniversary and brewers will collaborate on special beers for the festival. The festival is part of the annual Arizona Beer Week from February 6th – 16th with over 200 events planned.

Strong Beer Festival tickets on sale

The Guild’s office at 201 E. Southern Ave. #109 will be selling tickets from 8 a.m. -1 p.m. starting at $40.  Discounted tickets, with no online fees, will be available at the following locations from Black Friday, Nov. 29 through Mon., Dec. 2: 8-bit Aleworks, 12 West Brewing Co., Arizona Wilderness, Bone Haus Brewing Co., Brewers Connections, Front Pourch Brewing Co., Growlers USA – High Street, Hungry Monk, Huss Brewing Co., Lumberyard Brewing Co., Oro Brewing Co., Tap & Bottle, and Throne Brewing Co.

General admission tickets are $40 then go up to $64.33 on Tues. Limited amounts of VIP tickets (in person only) are $70 then $85.22 next week. VIP tickets include a food voucher, access to VIP area, a private restroom and access to specialty beers. New this year is Super VIP tickets which are $90 then $106.51. Included are all the above plus Friday wristband pick up, express entry and entry to the Brewer’s reception on Sunday.

“You have to act fast if you want to score tickets to the best beer festival of the year, especially with this year’s added collaborations” says Fullmer. “Our VIP tickets typically sell out well before the new year.”

A complete line-up of brewers, entertainment and food will be available soon at http://arizonabeerweek.com/arizona-strong-beer-festival/. You can also purchase tickets at the link.

The festival will be at Steele Indian School Park at 300 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix from 1 – 5 p.m.

Dia de los Muertos 4 day celebration at Ghett’ Yo’ Taco

Hispanics around the world honor deceased family and friends every year with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. The festive holiday includes candle lighting vigils, traditional decorations and more. Downtown Chandler’s Ghett’ Yo’ Taco is showing their respect for the colorful holiday with a four day festival. The inaugural Dia de los Muertos event will benefit the Los Diablos ASU Alumni Chapter.Dia de los Muertos

“We are extremely excited to be hosting this Dia de los Muertos celebration for the first time,” said Wally Ansari, owner of Ghett’ Yo’ Taco’. “With four days of activities we’ve made sure that there is something fun for all ages. We are also very pleased to partner with Los Diablos for this event and support their mission to assist outstanding Latin college students at ASU. We look forward to bringing the Chandler community together to celebrate our departed loved ones.”

Dia de los Muertos events

Here is the schedule of events.

Thursday, October 31 – Halloween bar crawl will take place from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and will include stops at Chandler establishments The Local, Perch, Sleepy Whale and Quart Haus. The night will continue at Ghett’ Yo’ Taco with a costume contest for cash prizes and a candle lighting vigil. Guests are encouraged to bring candles and photos of their departed loved ones. Each bar will have drink specials and live music. Tickets for Thursday are available online at GhettYoTaco.com.

Friday, November 1 – From 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. attendees can enjoy a live DJ and patio expansion for guests to bring candles and/or pictures of deceased family members for a candle lighting vigil. Candles will be available on site for purchase. This event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, November 2 – Dia de los Muertos celebration will take place all day from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. Guests will be able to fully embrace Hispanic culture and experience a traditional celebration honoring departed loved ones. The day will consist of live musical performances, traditional Hispanic food, piñatas and sugar skull painting. Tickets for Saturday are available online at GhettYoTaco.com.

Sunday, November 3 – Celebrate Family Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Guests of all ages can enjoy music, food, drinks, a bouncy house and kid’s activities. This event is free and open to the public.

Los Diablos raises funds for scholarships and financial assistance for students in Arizona. The organization is committed to mentorship and community service as well.

Ghett’ Yo’ Taco is at 241 S. Oregon St. Chandler 85225.