February 13, 2020

Endia Fontanez

14 must-try food and drink festivals this spring

One of the many things that Arizona is known for is its vibrant food scene. Whether you’re into tacos, ice cream, beer or anything in between, you’ll be able to taste some of the best food local restaurants and chefs have to offer and won’t want to miss out on these food festivals happening in the Valley this spring. 

20th Strong Beer Festival: Feb. 8

Part of Arizona Beer Week, the Strong Beer Festival is celebrating its 20th year this Feb. 8 at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix. Guests will be able to taste craft beer from over 130 breweries. Included with each ticket purchase is a commemorative beer tasting cup. For the event’s 20th anniversary celebration, breweries are scheduled to make 20 special collaboration beers with other breweries for the event. 

Street Eats Food Truck Festival: Feb. 8-9

Food truck owners and fans alike are invited to attend this year’s Street Eats Food Truck Festival, hosted at Salt River Fields. The event will feature over 55 food trucks with a wide variety of menus, including $2 samples available at each. Other festivities include games, eating contests and live music from local artists. Tickets range in price depending on special V.I.P. perks, but children 12 and under get in free. 

Sweets Festival: Feb. 15

For those with a sweet tooth, you will not want to miss the Sweets Festival on Saturday, Feb. 15. Described on its website as a “Candyland come to life”, the festival features ice cream sundaes, candy-topped waffles, cupcakes and more. Guests can also choose to participate in a number of family-friendly events, such as pie-eating contests. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gilbert Civic Center. Admission is $7 for those 13 years old and over, and free for children. Tickets can be purchased in advance on their website: www.sweetsfest.com.

Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival 2020: Feb. 15-16

The U.S. Veg Corp presents the Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival and Symposium. The festival will feature guest speakers and cooking demos, as well as an array of plant-based foods and products for sale from the exhibit’s vendors. There will also be other health-focused activities such as mind/body/fitness classes. The festival will be held at Scottsdale’s Civic Center Amphitheater. Guests can choose to attend for one day or the full weekend.

Brunch Bash: Feb. 22

Brunch lovers from all over the Valley will enjoy attending the Downtown Phoenix Brunch Bash at Civic Space Park. The Brunch Bash will serve a delicious combination of breakfast and lunch foods, as well as cocktails from Deep Eddy, Korbel and more. Attendees are encouraged to bring their dogs to the event, as a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Love Pup. The event will also feature live acoustic music performances for a relaxing day of food and fun. 

People sample a shrimp snow roll during the Devour Culinary Classic in Phoenix. (Photo by Megan Bridgeman, Cronkite News)

Devour Culinary Classic: Feb. 22-23

An anticipated event for foodies in the Valley, the Devour Culinary Classic celebrates its 11th year at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. The event “has brought together the culinary and beverage leaders that have established Arizona as a sought-after destination” since its first event in 2009. The Devour Culinary Classic will host a variety of local culinary chefs and artisans, including V.I.P. chefs Justin Beckett (Beckett’s Table, Southern Rail) and Stephen Jones (The Larder and the Delta), to showcase their talent for food and drink. Residents of Phoenix who have a passion for good food will not want to miss this acclaimed event. 

Chili Bourbon Festival: Feb. 29

Chandler’s Chili Bourbon Festival is a staple for fans of chili, bourbon, beer and live music. The event holds competitions such as a Chili Cook-Off and a variety of eating contests, as well as adult inflatables, games and a photo booth. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales go to the Greater Cause Foundation. The Chili Bourbon Festival will take place on Saturday, Feb. 29 from noon to 9 p.m. at Dr. AJ Chandler Park. 

PHX Vegan Food Festival 2020: Feb. 29

The 5th Annual PHX Vegan Festival will take place on Feb. 29 at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix. The assortment of food trucks and booths allow attendees to get a taste of great vegan food from local vendors such as NextVeg, 24 Carrots Cafe, Maya’s Cajun Kitchen and more. You can also browse and purchase art and handcrafted goods from local artists who encourage the vegan lifestyle. Tickets range in price from $29 to $69 with additional fees and can be purchased online or at the door. 

Italian Festival of Arizona: March 14-15

The 7th annual Italian Festival of Arizona will take place in Downtown Phoenix this March. The Italian Association of Arizona’s goal is to integrate all people of Italian descent and culture by promoting Italian-run businesses and activities. The festival features an array of Italian food and art available for purchase, as well as free entertainment. Tickets are $15 in advance on the festival website, but are set to increase on the day of the event. Children 12 and under get in free.

Barbeque and Beer Festival: March 28

The 102.5 KNIX Barbeque and Beer Festival will be held at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler this year. Now in its 11th year, the festival is known for bringing great barbeque, beer and country music to guests from around the Valley. Aside from the food, activities such as a petting zoo and carnival provide fun for the whole family. Tickets range in price from $10-$125 and can be purchased online at: www.chandlerbbq.com.

Salt River Fields Taco Fest: April 4

The Taco Fest at Salt River Fields will feature $3 tacos, tamales, tequila and margaritas. The event will also have entertainment such as tango dancing, live wrestling and a “tiny dog beauty pageant” for guests and their 25-pound or below dogs. The festival will take place on Saturday, April 4 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at www.saltriverfields.com/taco-fest/.

Nirvana Food & Wine Festival: April 16-19

Returning in 2020 for its fourth year, Nirvana Food & Wine at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa showcases the best of the best of national and international chefs, wine and spirits makers alongside celebrity hosts and culinary enthusiasts. Celebrated Chef Beau MacMillan returns for his fourth year and will be joined by acclaimed chefs including Robert Irvine and Scott Conant — events range from ultra-luxe, exclusive dining experiences like Wood, Wine & Wagyu presented by Far Niente to more casual events like Tequila & Tortillas and the ever-popular Rosé Parté with the Bella Twins. The event celebrates the best of the best in food, wine, spirits, music, art and more — truly offering something for everyone. Tickets are available at this link and hotel accommodations may also be booked through the Sanctuary website or by calling 877.522.0815.

Scottsdale Culinary Festival: April 18

The Scottsdale Culinary Festival weekend is a two-day event that features over 35 restaurants, as well as live music and fun. Local and celebrity food experts host culinary demos and high-class restaurants provide food samples for guests to get a taste of some of Scottsdale’s best cuisine.

Arizona Craft Spirits and Cocktail Festival: April 25

If you are looking to make new friends who enjoy spirits and cocktails just as much as you do, visit the Arizona Craft Spirits and Cocktail Festival this April 25 at Dr. AJ Park in Downtown Chandler. The event will also host a craft spirit competition, where judges will award medals to the best craft spirits based solely on drink quality. Guests will get the chance to taste a variety of alcoholic beverages, so there is something for all tastes. 

Arizona Restaurant Week: May 15-24

The 2020 dates for Arizona’s Spring Restaurant Week are May 15-24. The purpose of Restaurant Week is to encourage Arizona’s food lovers to visit and taste restaurants from all over the state. The list of participating restaurants for this spring will be available on the organization’s website in April.