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Multiple fall festivals in Phoenix canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

2017 Arizona Taco Festival
Posted at 11:10 AM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 13:59:06-04

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — A handful of outdoor fall festivals in the Valley have been canceled due to increasing concerns surrounding the spread of the delta variant amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AZCentral Wine & Food Experience, Arizona Taco Festival, Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival, and Tempe Oktoberfest have all been canceled, organizers announced Tuesday.

The Arizona Taco Festival was scheduled for Oct. 23 & 24, 2021, Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival on Oct. 29 & 30, and AZCentral Wine & Food Experience on Nov. 6, 2021, all at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, near Scottsdale, and part of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

Tempe Oktoberfest was scheduled for Oct. 8-10, 2021, at Tempe Beach Park.

Producers for the Arizona Taco Festival cited "heightened public health concerns amid the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) and others" as the reason for the cancellation of this year's event.

That event has now been rescheduled for two weekends in 2022: a spring festival on April 9 & 10 and a fall festival on October 22 & 23.

A spokesperson said those who purchased tickets to the taco festival would receive an email with information by Aug. 31, including refund options. However, tickets will be honored for the new spring festival dates.

The Spooktacular event will be rescheduled for fall 2022, while another event is being planned for the spring, organizers said.

In a statement to ABC15, Jason Taylor, president of USA Today Network Ventures, said the Wine & Food Experience was canceled "out of an abundance of caution."

"Our priority is to ensure that we celebrate our communities in a safe environment. Given the current COVID-19 indicators, we will evaluate rescheduling in the near future," he said.

A rescheduled date has not been announced.

"Given the current situation surrounding the Delta variant, potential local government restrictions, and the financial burden to produce the event, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Four Peaks Oktoberfest," organizers said in a statement.

"We look forward to sharing live music, brats, and beer with you next year for the 50th annual Four Peaks Oktoberfest," the statement read.

Other events, however, are moving forward as planned.

Related: 18 art, food, and music fall festivals happening around the Valley

Yoga in the Outfield on Nov. 7, 2021, and AZ Barrels, Bottles & Brews on Nov. 13, 2021, will both remain scheduled as planned at Salt River Fields, but with more social distancing between attendees, organizers said.

David Tyda, who produces the Phoenix Pizza Festival in downtown Phoenix, said in a brief text message that his festival, set for Nov. 13 & 14 at Margaret T. Hance Park, was "so far still a go."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include updates on Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival, Tempe Oktoberfest, Phoenix Pizza Festival, Yoga in the Outfield, and AZ Barrels, Bottles & Brews.