SALT RIVER PIMA-MARICOPA INDIAN COMMUNITY — The Arizona Taco Festival announced that it would return to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in the fall with tacos, tequila sampling, and its signature chili pepper eating contest.
It is one of the first major festival announcements since the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced dozens of events and festivals to cancel or postponed. Some spring events have postponed their events until the fall.
The two-day event is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, October 23 and 24, 2021 at Salt River Fields, which is located near the Loop 101 and Talking Stick Way.
Last year's festival, which was supposed to be the festival's 10-year anniversary, was scrapped -- like most events -- due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance about what events and activities people who are fully vaccinated could attend with or without a mask. The CDC still recommends that people avoid large gatherings.
Restrictions in Arizona on restaurant capacities and events were lifted in March.
How local festivals will proceed with COVID-19 safety precautions or not remains to be seen. The Phoenix Open, Spring Training, and Barrett-Jackson all went on earlier this year, and the Diamondbacks, Suns, and Phoenix Rising have all allowed fans at their home events.
ABC15 left a voicemail for Rick Phillips, who co-founded the Arizona Taco Festival, on Wednesday for comment.
In a previous interview with ABC15 a few weeks ago, Phillips said navigating the logistics to keep everyone safe and comfortable while not taking away from the festival experience is something all producers are likely trying to figure out.
"How can we rebuild this to be, you know, COVID safe or as much socially responsible as we can be, and have new fun elements that people will be like, 'I don't even notice, this is great, and boy, they're keeping you safe.' And I think that everybody's probably trying to figure stuff like that out," he said.
A news release teased that the yearlong hiatus gave organizers the time to develop "new ideas" and "new surprises."
The event will have at least 50 food trucks and restaurants, live music and DJs, salsa and tango lessons, and the People's Choice Taco Competition.
Tickets are $14-$20 to get into the festival. Food trucks and restaurants will have $3 tacos available, as well as other food items, drinks, and desserts. VIP tickets are $100-$200 and include tequila sampling.
Advanced tickets can be bought on Friday, May 21 at 10 a.m. via www.ticketweb.com
Visit https://aztacofestival.com for more information.
UPCOMING FALL EVENTS:
- Phoenix Lights, October 2-3, 2021
- Country Thunder, October 14-17, 2021
- Polo Championship, October 23, 2021
- The Good Life Festival, November 6, 2021
- Phoenix Pride Festival and Parade, November 6-7, 2021
- NASCAR Cup Series Championship, November 7, 2021
- Chandler Ostrich Festival, dates not announced