Arizona Taco Festival This Weekend!

By October 17, 2012The Dish

If Honey Boo Boo feels a “dolla makes her holla” then she’d go mental at the third annual Arizona Taco Festival where taco samples are only $2—so you better Redneckognize!

This Saturday and Sunday, thousands (if the previous years are any indication) of taco and tequila enthusiasts will descend upon the new super-sized version of event at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale off the 101 and Pima. The site is literally 3x’s the size of last year’s and this year there is more food brought to you by your favorite local restaurants, more tequila to be found in the famous Tequila Expo, more lucha libre wrestlers (well possibly less as there is a little one who goes by the moniker Mascardita), more contests, giveaways, music— it’s just Super Mas Mucho!

Here’s a breakdown:

Over 40 restaurants over two days will be submitting competition tacos to the National Taco Association certified judges as well as selling them to attendees for $2 each. Last year over 40,000 tacos were served! This year, we plan on even more.

The famous Tequila Expo is back! It features over 40 brands with over 100 types to sample. For a mere $20, you can sample 10 boutique tequilas. Some bottles cost over $100! Not a bad deal. There will also be a Don Julio Margarita Bartender Challenge going down. This tent is only activated on Saturday, but then on Sunday, it turns into a Beers of the World Expo with over a 20 craft beers for you to sample. The cost for this is $10 for 8 samples.

Lucha Libre Wrestling goes down all weekend long, where masked marauders entertain crowds at no extra charge. Our star of the show this year: Mascardita Dorada, a Champion from the “Mini Division” in Mexico City. Look out Spiderman, Mascardita can practically fly through the air too! (all while covered in that crazy Power Ranger costume).

The entry forms have been pouring in for our “Ay Chihuahua! Beauty Pageant.” On Saturday at 2pm, we will ask a panel of totally amateur judges to assess poise, cuteness, and overall taco spirit of Chihuahuas as they prance (or strut) (or get pulled) (or get carried) across the Main Stage.

One thing past attendees have always said: I want my voice to be heard in judging, too! So now, you can cast your vote! Scan the QR code at any taco team and vote with your phone, then head to the Cricket Wireless Booth to see real-time results. The winner of “People’s Choice,” will be announced during awards at 6pm each day.

Almost every hour, top chefs like Aaron May and Josh Hebert will be posting up at the Sub-Zero/Wolf Cooking Demonstration Stage. Here, they will talk about cooking some of their favorite recipes, from getting the meat just right to selecting the best tortilla. Our schedule also includes something from Hot Sauce expert Vic Clinco, and Tequila Talk with Sergio Garcia from our sponsor Tequila Don Julio.

New this year: an actual Day of the Dead-Inspired wedding! Two people are going to get hitched on Sunday at 2pm. You seriously won’t want to miss this ceremony on the Main Stage. The lucky couple will also enjoy a full, catered reception by Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant under the big tent. If there’s one thing you don’t wanna miss, it’s this!

There are two ways to catch some of the Valley’s top bartenders over the weekend. Inside the Tequila Expo on Saturday, those who payed the $20 to try over 100 boutique tequilas will be treated to samples of competition cocktails from local bartenders competing in the Tequila Don Julio Margarita Bartender Challenge at 2pm. Get them while supplies last! On Sunday at 1pm, catch more of the Valley’s most fun bartenders in a Tequila Don Julio Luxury Drop-making challenge. The audience will help vote on their flair-making abilities – so don’t miss it!

Sponsored by, the eating contests at the Arizona Taco Festival now take place all weekend long. From Hot Chile Pepper Eating to Bizarre Taco Eating … CityEats not only wants you to make a dining reservation with their website, they want to see if you’ve got the cojones to stand up to their challenges! Sunday’s Bizarre Taco Eating Challenge is being prepared by Josh Hebert of Posh Improvisational Cuisine.

On the Main Stage, you’ll see local surf band Bitch Automatic rock out during the day on Saturday. Then in the afternoon, Laramie Dean and his band will play after their drive from LA. On Sunday, it’s Pride Through Strife doing some reggae/ska hits, then it’s onto the all-female Mariachi Passion.


  • Aji Mobile Foods
  • Big Boy
  • Chelsea’s Kitchen
  • Chuck
  • Cien Agaves
  • Crudo
  • Distrito
  • Dos Gringos
  • El Hefe
  • El Palacio
  • El Santo
  • Emerson Fry Bread
  • Frank & Lupe’s
  • Four Seasons
  • Fuzzy’s
  • Green
  • J-Licious
  • Jobot Coffee
  • Camelback Inn
  • La Hacienda
  • Loco Patron
  • Luncha Libre
  • Macayo’s
  • Manuel’s
  • Milagro
  • La Canasta
  • Pork on a Fork
  • Q Up!
  • Rubio’s
  • Salty Señorita
  • Sandbar
  • Sol Cocina
  • Someburros
  • Sportman’s
  • T’s
  • Tacos El Mauri
  • The Mission
  • Tom’s Thumb
  • Tonto Bar & Grill
  • Waltz & Weiser
  • Wildhorse Grille

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Nick says:

    So the one thing the AZ Taco Fest website is unclear about is what drinks will be available for those who don’t put down extra money for tequila tasting on Saturday or World of Beer Sunday- any info on that?

    • admin says:

      Sorry Nick. There will be several bars throughout the event being operated by some great places like Sandbar, Dos Gringos, Salty Señorita and El Hefe. All of them will be stocked with beer, wine, margaritas, water and soda. We’re even selling tequila shots. Dangerous we know, but sounds like too much fun. Prices range from $2 (or one ticket) for water and sodas, to $4 (2 tickets) for domestic beers, to $6 (3 Tickets) for craft beers and Jose Cuervo Margaritas. Should be a blast! Thanks for your inquiry. Hope you can make it.

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