5 Reasons Why You Should Go to the 2014 Arizona Taco Festival
The 2014 Arizona Taco Festival will rock your world. Here's five delicious reasons why you should check it out.
Salt River Fields, 7555 N. Pima Rd., Arizona
To our knowledge, the Arizona Taco Festival was the first taco festival on Earth. We started humbly on a dirt parking lot in 2010, planning the event for a medium-sized crowd of 3,000 to 5,000 people. Now, the Arizona Taco Festival has grown to 2 full days, attracts over 25,000 people, and includes many fun, smaller lead-up parties. The event dishes out over 100,000 tacos (that's about 100 tacos per minute!). But beyond the love of tacos, there's a heated battle for $10,000 cash among the Taco Teams. Keep reading to learn about all the craziness at the Arizona Taco Festival!
1. Over 100 Types of $2 tacos!
When you come to Arizona, what's the first thing you ask locals? Chances are, it's: "Where can I get a good taco?" We believe the taco is America's most adapted AND adaptable cuisine, so we cull together some of Arizona's best restaurants who all sign up to celebrate this amazing food. To make things accessible, nearly all tacos at the event cost just $2 each. With about 50 restaurants participating, and each restaurant serving 2-3 types of tacos, that means there's over 100 types of tacos on weekend's menu. Some are traditional (carne asada, al pastor, etc.), some are inventive (dessert tacos, cricket tacos, etc.), some are decadent (lobster, kobe, etc.). Restaurants may charge more for the latter, but they all have at least 1 $2 option.
2. Double-Blind Culinary Competition
We don't believe in celebrity judges ... we believe in serious judges. To that point, we created the National Taco Association. The NTA certifies interested individuals by holding a food judging class, explaining the nuances of objective scoring and fair practices. The Taco Teams are given custom-made boxes to submit their tacos in throughout the weekend. These boxes are submitted outside of a tent where over 50 judges are sequestered. There are four main taco categories and various "sidecart" categories, all leading up to an awards ceremony at the end of each day. If you are a foodie who wants to learn more about this exciting competition, you'll love chatting up teams and judges. Although be warned, the judges are in charge of a $10,000 prize purse, so they might remain tight-lipped throughout the weekend - who knows, you could be a Taco Team spy!
3. New: VIP Beach!
If you're a foodie who loves convenience, VIP tickets are for you. The $100 price tag might sound steep, but upon check-in, you'll receive tokens for 10 tacos (GA ticket holders have to purchase tokens once inside), a drink card good for six drinks at the VIP bar (which is never as slammed as the other bars), private (a'hem) facilities, and a sandy area for you to plop down with a cold beer, tasty taco, and enjoy a perfect view of the Main Stage, where surf/rock and Latin bands alternate all weekend, along with eating contests, a chihuahua beauty pageant, and other hilarity. VIP tickets also include access to a special chips and salsa bar!
4. Mas Tequila Por Favor!
On Saturday, we hold an event within the event: the legendary Tequila Expo. This tent sells out every year, with room for 1,000 attendees to sample fine tequilas from over 30 makers. Open from 12-5pm, this tent is a must for any lover of agave.
5. Midget Wrestlers!
If there's one thing the Arizona Taco Festival isn't, it's stuffy. Hot chile pepper eating contests, grossest taco eating challenges (testicle tacos, anyone?), and live Lucha Libre wrestling with midgets, this culinary event brings together high-brow, low-brow, and everything in between. Salud!
About David Tyda
David Tyda is always busy, which is why he requires so many calories, which is why he’s a food writer and food festival organizer. Tyda runs a multitude of food-related endeavors, including the blog EATERAZ.com, and festivals such as the Arizona Taco Festival, Arizona BBQ Festival, Scottsdale Beer Palooza, Flavors of the West, and many others