Be real. We start spring a little earlier here, and that’s because everyone in the Valley is busting to be outside during not-summer time. And the combination of perfect weather and recently ditched resolutions makes for yet another memorable food food festival season.
Starting in late January, Phoenix hosts dozens of culinary events, beer festivals, and cocktail competitions, most of which are packed with seemingly endless food and beer samples, live music, games, shopping, and day drinking opportunities.
This year, you can keep track of your festival-going with a handy checklist of 30 food festivals happening in spring 2019. Download and print the checklist above to see how many food festivals you can attend this season. This list has been updated from its original version.
Now, on with the list.
Margaret T. Hance Park
Kick off food festival season with unlimited tacos. That’s real. A ticket to Tacolandia 2019 — general, VIP, or Amigo Pack — gets you access to dozens of taquerias aching to give you samples of their best tacos. This all-you-can-eat taco festival also offers cash bars, live entertainment highlighting Mexican culture, and lots of taco awards. Phoenix New Times' third annual Tacolandia festival is happening from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 26, at Margaret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix. Tickets start at $30.
Taste About Scottsdale
Presented by AZ Food & Beer and AZ Food & Wine (with that tagline about eating, drinking, and sharing the best of Arizona), Taste About Scottsdale is seven hours of local food and drink offered by area chefs and restaurants. There will be over 45 local restaurants, breweries, wineries, and distilleries present at Kierland Commons from 2 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, January 26. Tickets start at $55.
Brunch Bash Festival
From pancakes to cocktails, the Brunch Bash Festival is ready to make guests “brunch so hard.” Expect mounds of eggs Benedict and waffles, a cereal bar (like, a bar of cereal options), and a variety of breakfast dishes — plus mimosas and Bloody Marys galore. Brunch Bash 2019 is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 26, at Cityscape Phoenix. Tickets start at $8.
Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival
February 2 and 3
Scottsdale Civic Center Amphitheater
This festival is featuring a lot more than just vegetarian food. There are lectures and talks, cooking demos, live music, yoga classes, and panels on food as medicine and eating for energy. But yes, there is also food. The Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival 2019 starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 2, and ends at 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 3. Hosted by the U.S. Veg Corp, the whole festival is held at the Scottsdale Civic Center Amphitheater. General admission starts at $20.
Arizona Strong Beer Festival
Steele Indian School Park
The gem in the Arizona Beer Week crown, Arizona Strong Beer Festival 2019 features over 120 craft breweries from around the state. Produced by the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. The beer list for the 19th annual celebration has surpassed 500 beers, so you won’t be disappointed. The Arizona Strong Beer Festival starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 9, at Steele Indian School Park. General admission starts at $60.
Corks & Cactus
February 9 and 10
Desert Botanical Garden
The Corks & Cactus is a two-day event where attendees can sample 40 different wines each day. There will be food from the Fabulous Food Fine Catering and Events, as well as interactive cooking demonstrations from the very nearby Gertrude’s. All 80 wines can be purchased at the garden’s wine retail store. The event runs from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on both days, Saturday and Sunday, February 9 and 10. General public tickets are $45 per day.
Laveen BBQ Festival
Cesar Chavez Park
Barbecue pit masters, assemble. Add mounds of barbecue to craft beer to craft beer and local music and you’ve got the 67th annual Laveen BBQ Festival. The Laveen Community Council hosts the fest from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 16, at Cesar Chavez Park. General admission tickets are $10 the day of the event.
Gilbert Civic Center Town Center Park
If you’ve ever wanted to find out what a freak shake is, now’s your chance. The Sweets Festival is a candyland of edible cookie dough, custom ice cream cookie sandwiches, pies, cobblers, whipped cream creations, and more. Plus there’ll be creative cocktails, beer, wine, champagne, and something called the donuts and drafts area. The Sweets Festival is 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on February 16 at the outdoor Gilbert Civic Center. Entry is $7, and all food, drink, and alcohol is cash only.
Chili Bourbon Festival
Dr. AJ Chandler Park
The second ever Chili Bourbon Festival will have plenty of both — chili from local home cooks and chefs, and bourbon, as well as lots of food. Plus, there’ll be craft beer and country music at Dr. AJ Chandler Park in downtown Chandler. The festivities run from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, February 16. Tickets are $7 presale, and $10 day of, or you can spring for the Spicy Lounge with its $30 admission fee.
Street Eats Food Truck Festival
February 16 and 17
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
Phoenix New Times (you know, us) is presenting the annual Street Eats Food Truck Festival — a.k.a. a ton of food trucks all together in one place for one ticket. There’s also live music, eating contests, kid stuff, and again, lots and lots of food trucks. We’re Petrini’s On The Go, Dough Licious Desserts, Maine Lobster Lady, Arizona Wings N’ More, Off The Hook Food Truck, Mustache Pretzels, Grandma’s Navajo Frybread, Que Sazon, and so many more. Trucks are going from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both Saturday, February 16, and Sunday, February 17, at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. General admission is $12.
Arizona Cocktail Weekend
February 16 to 18
The eighth annual Arizona Cocktail Weekend is three nights of loosening you up during Presidents' Day weekend — but it is not so much a drinking festival than an education weekend. Events include the Cocktail Jam at The Van Buren, Top Bars at The Croft, and the Last Slinger Standing at Young's Market Company. Tickets for most events start at $40 in advance, and jump to $50 the night of the event. Times are to be announced.
U of AZ Maricopa County Cooperative Extension
Presented by the AZ Herb Association, the third annual Herb Festival offers how-tos on growing and cooking with desert-friendly herbs, guided tours of the AZ Herb Association's demonstration gardens, and a hands-on herb propagation workshop. There will also be breakfast, drinks, and snacks. The Herb Festival goes from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 23. Tickets are $35.
2019 Devour Week
February 17 to 24
Desert Botanical Garden
Where to begin with Devour Week? The annual, weeklong series showcasing Arizona’s most well-known chefs and bartenders, the 2019 Devour Culinary Classic features cuisine that highlights Arizona's unique background. The signature event, the Classic, will be held again at the Desert Botanical Garden. Other Devour Week events include the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition, the Seven Chefs Dinner, and Devour the World. Ticket prices and venues vary, and some events are already sold out.
PHX Vegan Food Festival
February 23 and 24
Margaret T. Hance Park
This might sound like your perfect weekend: vegan restaurants and food trucks, food purveyors, an artisan market with vegan-friendly products, chef demos, live music, and community activities. If it does, attend the 2019 PHX Vegan Food Festival. What’s more, vendors are asked to use biodegradable utensils and plates so we don’t litter up Margaret T. Hance Park. The fun starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 23, and ends at 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 24. General admission for one day starts at $25.
February 23 and 24
Heritage and Science Park
Immerse yourself in Japanese culture at the 35th annual Arizona Matsuri — the theme for which is Japan, Old & New. Sample everything from traditional and modern Japanese cuisine in the form of ramen, noodles, rice dishes, takoyaki, yakitori, sweets, and shaved ice. Pay a visit to the beer and sake garden, where you can taste sake, beer, and cocktails. In between bites check out Japanese markets, live performances, and a traditional tea ceremony. Festivities kick off both days at 10 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. at Heritage and Science Park. What’s more, admission is free.
February 22 to 24
Mangia, mangia. That’s what you’ll be saying at the sixth annual Italian Festival of Arizona — a three-day celebration of Italian culture, music, and food. There will be pizza, paninis, gelato, pasta, and wine. Enjoy the espresso bar while listening to live performances from Italian musicians. Festivities kick off at the Scottsdale Waterfront from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, February 22, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, February 23, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 24. Tickets are $10.
Rockin’ Taco Rumble
Unexpected Art Gallery
This taco competition is designed for foodies, cocktail fans, and craft beer lovers. The second-ever Rockin’ Taco Rumble will have unlimited taco sampling and six beers or cocktails, plus music and themed entertainment for this 21-and-over event. Vendors include Mr Mesquite Taqueria, with more to be announced. The rumble runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 1, at Unexpected Art Gallery. General admission is $45 with online tickets, and $55 the day of the event.
Melrose Street Fair
Presented by the Seventh Avenue Merchants Association (SAMA), the 17th annual Melrose Street Fair will be food trucks, beer, shopping, and lots of live entertainment. Held throughout the Melrose District, the fair promises the Melrose Patio craft beer garden sponsored by Huss Brewing, a set from the Haymarket Squares, and food truck fare from Circle R Farm, Marcel Waffles Phoenix, Cactus Corn, Yatai Ramen, and more. The party goes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 2. Fill up and shop through over 200 vendors, plus parking and entry is free.
March 2 and 3
Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish
The best thing about the 16th annual Polish Festival is, obviously, the food. You’re free to stuff yourself with cabbage rolls, Hunter’s stew, sauerkraut, buckwheat sausage, potato pancakes, crepes, cakes, and pastries. You’re also welcome to hit the pierogi bar and wash it down with Poland’s own Okocim draft beer. The party goes from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, at the Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish. Entry is free.
Downtown Mesa Brew Fest
The fifth annual dog-friendly Downtown Mesa Brew Fest will be a gathering of local breweries, food trucks, live music, games, and contests. Purchase $5 beer tickets (cash only) for 12-ounce tastings from breweries like SanTan Brewing Company, The Beer Research Institute, SunUp Brewing Company, Wren House Brewing Co., and more. The festivities run from 1 to 6 p.m. along Macdonald Street north of Main Street. General admission is free.
Arizona Aloha Festival
March 9 and 10
Tempe Beach Park
This all-ages event features mounds of South Pacific island cuisine, plus live performances, storytelling, an island marketplace, and lots of food (mahalo). There will be manapua, haupia, Vilo Vilo chicken, Spam musubi, Portuguese sausage, and tropical fruits. The family-friendly 2019 Arizona Aloha Festival is held at Tempe Beach Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 9, and Sunday, March 10. Entry is free.
Hosted by the Scottsdale League for the Arts, the Burger Battle pits some of the Valley’s best burgermeisters against each other for the Judge’s Choice Award or People’s Choice Award — or both. Attendees sample unlimited burger tastings, fries, and shakes, and you get a drink card for beer and libations. Festivities start at 7 p.m. and go until 9:30 p.m. at the Scottsdale Waterfront at Southbridge on Friday, March 22. There’s free parking, and tickets start at $65.
Arizona Bao Fest
You’ll be up to you neck in steamed buns, barbecue pork buns, sweet buns, gua bao, and more at the Arizona Bao Fest. Sample bao from more than 10 local businesses like Hot Bamboo, Good Fortune Kitchen, Bonzai Boyz, Lemongrass Shack, Asahi Bakery, and more from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Guests can also expect noodles, takoyaki, rice bowls, skewers, boba, dessert, vegan and gluten-free options, games, art, and more. Tickets are $12 online and $15 at the door.
Great American Barbeque & Beer Festival
Dr. A.J. Chandler Park
Now in its 10th year, the American Barbeque & Beer Fest — put on by 102.5 KNIX — will have country music, a carnival, and of course, eating contests, barbecue pitmasters, beer, spirits, and a ton of food. The fun goes down in downtown Chandler at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park from noon to 10 p.m. General admission tickets are $15 online in advance, and $20 at the gate.
African Fest USA
From the minds of the people behind 2016’s Ethiopian Fest, i.e. Café Lalibela, African Fest USA will have food and drink selections from numerous African countries. This inaugural event will run from 11 a.m. through 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 30, at Kiwanis Park in Tempe. Tickets will soon be on sale, price to be determined.
Arizona Wine & Dine
The 2019 AZ Wine & Dine brings together about 20 chefs from local restaurants and resorts, along with wine and live entertainment. Past dining participants have included the Arizona Grand Resort, Mowry & Cotton from The Phoenician, Bourbon Steak from Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Hearth ’61 from Mountain Shadows, and more. Attendees must be 21 or older to participate. Scottsdale Quarter at Scottsdale Road and Greenway Parkway hosts the whole thing from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are coming soon.
Presented by the Executive Council 70 and Executive Council Charities, the 46th annual Original Taste is an upscale culinary event showcasing some of the best offerings from local drinking and dining spots. Restaurant vendors include Trapp Haus BBQ, Sushi Roku, Tuck Shop, and the Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer’s. To drink? Wine, beer and cocktail vendors include Tito's Vodka, the Wine Group, Mionetto USA, Toast/Jam/Butter, and more. Original Taste goes from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 6. Tickets start at $75 before March 15.
The Cocktail Society
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Launches the anticipated Scottsdale Culinary Festival weekend, the Cocktail Society is hosting the themed party “Shaken, Not Stirred.” It’s set to be a night of 007-worthy drinks from some of the top cocktail creators in the Valley plus culinary offerings from 10 area restaurants. The 21-and-over event goes from 7 to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, April 12, at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Tickets are $75 online before April 1, $85 online starting April 2, and $100 at the door.
My Nana's Best Tasting Salsa Challenge
At My Nana's Best Tasting Salsa Challenge, Phoenix chefs will compete for title of the best salsa, but what’s more important is you get all the salsa you can eat. Attendees also enjoy live music, the Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix-Off, and the 2019 Too Hot to Trot Salsa Challenge 5K. Festivities run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 13. Tickets to the 35th annual challenge are $5 in February, $10 to $12 in March, and $15 day of the event.
Scottsdale Culinary Festival
April 13 and 14
Scottsdale Civic Center Mall
Hosted by the Scottsdale League for the Arts, the Scottsdale Culinary Festival is a two-day weekend event that promises to take attendees around the culinary globe. The 2019 experiences for the 41st annual event are the Four Peaks Beer Garden, Tito's Handmade Vodka deck, culinary demonstrations, and a grand tasting tour of restaurants representing food from around the world — all at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 14. General admission tickets are $12 online in advance, and $15 at the gate.
Southwest Cajun Fest
Dr. AJ Chandler Park
Downtown Chandler hosts the 2019 Great Southwest Cajun Fest which brings the spirit of New Orleans to the Valley with food, drink, and live music like jazz, blues, and contemporary rock. Food samples include crawfish, po’boys, hushpuppies, fried gator, and jambalaya. In between bites, check out the boudin, crawfish, and watermelon eating contests. Festivities kick off at noon and end at 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, and general admission starts at $8.
French Fry & Music Festival
Margaret T. Hance Park
For every time you passed a drive-thru despite your french fry craving, your reward is now. The inaugural French Fry & Music Festival — produced by the same people behind Phoenix Pizza Festival and Downtown Donut Festival — gathers over 20 fry vendors offering the salty creations for $2 or $3 a pop. There will also be musicians, bands, DJs, and beer and wine. The whole thing goes down from 2 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at Margaret T. Hance Park. Tickets are $15 in advance.
PHX Night Market
April 20 and 21
Phoenix Public Open Air Market
This food festival is exactly what it sounds like — a nighttime collection of over 50 food and drink vendors ready to wow you under the stars (well, night sky). Vendors and talent is to be announced, but if it’s anything like last year (vendors included Takoyaki, Casa Filipino Restaurant & Bakeshop, Novel Ice Cream), the Asian-inspired market will impress for its second year. Day one is 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, April 21, and day two is 4 to 10 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, at Phoenix Public Open Air Market. Tickets sales and prices are to be announced.
Arizona Craft Spirits & Cocktail Festival
Dr. AJ Chandler Park
Downtown Chandler will host the 2019 Chandler Craft Spirits Festival as a way for attendees to sample lots of cocktails, beer, and wine. Those at Dr. AJ Chandler Park can check out cocktail educational seminars, live music, games, and more. Festivities begin at 3 p.m. and continue until 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 27. General admission drinking tickets start at $26.
Nirvana Food & Wine
April 24 to 28
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa
This multiday culinary and beverage festival features an assortment of events held throughout the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. Special events for the third annual Nirvana Food & Wine Festival include Bourbon Street Blues, Flutes & Coops, the Master of Taste dinner series, Rosé Parté, and the Tequila & Tortillas farewell brunch. There’s even the first-ever Nirvana After Party at Fat Ox. Times and ticket prices vary.
Suds & Slides
Mesa Riverview Park
The second ever Suds & Slides is a 21-and-over festival that promises to be like a summer camp for grownups. There will be waterslides, games, and music, but more importantly food and beer. Think cold, local craft beer, mixed drinks, and margaritas, plus shaved ice and other treats. The festivities run from 2 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, at Mesa Riverview Park. Tickets are $15 presale, and $20 day of the event.