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  • Writer's pictureDiana Brandt

New Twists and Tastes Shake Up the 8th Annual Arizona Taco Festival

Photo Credit: Debby Wolvos

The 8th Annual Arizona Taco Festival is back for another round this October 14 & 15, featuring an unbelievable lineup of 50 of the Valley's best taco joints, 16 top mixologists shaking up their takes on the Valley's best margarita, special appearances by Extra TV Star Mario Lopez, and The Most Interesting Man in the World-Jonathan Goldsmith, and other participants sure to make this year's Arizona Taco Festival the biggest and best yet. The 8th Annual Arizona Taco Festival, presented by Astral Tequila and Jalisco, features a 50-restaurant lineup including a spicy mix of past Arizona Taco Festival Champions, new restaurants, food trucks, and classic Phoenix destinations. New for 2017, like at other major festivals like Coachella and Kaaboo the AZ Taco Festival now features RFID cashless ticketing wristband system, making it easy for guests to purchase all of their food and beverage throughout the weekend.

All participating taco vendors will vie for trophies and portions of a $10,000 cash prize purse in a heated culinary competition. Participating taco teams include new restaurants such as La Sala and Chico Malo, plus Taco Festival veterans including Diego Pops (past winner of Best Dessert Taco, Best Pork Taco and Best Seafood Taco) and CRUjiente Tacos, Gadzooks, Loco Patron, and SOL Cocina. And now legendary Phoenix restaurants T. Cook's, Tarbell's, and Litchfield's will also be showcasing their taco creations at Salt River Fields. For a full list of this year's Taco Teams visit

After debuting in 2016, The Margarita Tent will feature 16 of the Valley's top mixologists competing for the ultimate prize of margarita supremacy on Sunday, October 15. This year's competitors are from restaurants and bars across the state including:

Bitter & Twisted

The Fat Ox

The Mission Old Town

Clever Koi

Counter Intuitive


Modern Margarita

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

Artizen Kitchen

Jade Bar at Sanctuary Resort & Spa

Obon Sushi & Ramen

PY Steakhouse (Tucson)

Cien Agaves


The Rooster Tavern

The Mission Kierland

Each will create their own margarita creation for thirsty patrons and judges alike. Additional tickets are required to enter the Margarita Tent and watch the Margarita Wars.

Throughout the weekend, Diego Pops, Rubio's, Creations by Sergio, and La Sala will host taco lounges for a perfect escape of the heat and to relax while enjoying your tacos. On Saturday, the Tequila Tent, sponsored by Don Julio and Exotico, will feature over 100 varieties of tequila for people to sip the afternoon away. Of course, lucha libre wrestlers, a Chihuahua Beauty Pageant, Kids Zone, and live music will entertain guests throughout the weekend as they eat and drink their way through the festivities.

Tickets are available for both Saturday and Sunday, including tickets to the VIP Tent, presented by DEGREE 270. This ticket comes with 5 beverages, 10 tacos, and access to an exclusive area featuring private shaded seating, private bathrooms, and a Talking Stick Resort DJ. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

When: Saturday, October 14, 2017 & Sunday, October 15, 2017 (11am-7pm)

Where: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (7555 N. Pima Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85258)

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