top of page
  • Writer's pictureDiana Brandt

Gelato Festival America in Tucson

Gelato’s biggest international celebration is back in America, and stopping in Tucson! Gelato Festival America will spread awareness of real Italian artisanal gelato through a contest in which gelato artisans and chefs will compete with original gelato flavors they have created for the event. The vibrant Italian community in Arizona will feel right at home amidst the rich creamy dessert sure to please adults and child alike.

The ticket is an all-access pass to all of the activities and reserved events of Gelato Festival America 2018, listed below.

* Attend the Gelato School, where award-winning gelato artisans and experts will share what it takes to be a gelato chef and professional

* Participate in the Gelato Eating Contest, where the five people to eat five cups of gelato the fastest will win a gallon of gelato!

* Serve on the Kid’s Jury, where children have the opportunity to question the chefs and vote for their favorite flavor.

Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors (65+), $15 for kids (3 to 12 years old), and free for children under two years old. Those who purchase tickets for the Gelato Festival online in advance receive a discounted price: $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for kids (must show ID at the gate!). Presale tickets can be found online at and on Eventbrite. Tickets will be sold at each venue as well. Festival hours: Saturday 12-8 PM, Sunday 12-7 PM.

“After the huge success all over Europe, and our first edition of the Gelato Festival in the USA in 2017, we realize that Americans really do love gelato,” expressed Daniele Palazzoni, General Manager of Gelato Festival America. “It is our goal to make certain that every American gets to taste what real Italian gelato is like and to spread the culture of artisan Italian gelato throughout the world’s largest consumer market for frozen desserts. We want to focus on the higher quality of artisanal gelato and artisanal frozen desserts compared to industrial products. Also, over the next three years the winners of each stage of Gelato Festival America will compete for the selection of the three best American gelato chefs who will be part of the 36 chefs from all over the world, who will vie for the title of World Champion in the Gelato Festival World Masters Final in Italy in 2021. I invite visitors in the US to cheer and sustain their favorite chefs because the best gelato chef in the world could be an American!”

Last year, 50 gelato makers competed with unique gelato flavors to produce over 13,500 pounds of gelato to the delight of over 40,000 visitors and 150 gelato professionals who were present at the festival in 2017. With the growth of Gelato Festival America, over 100,000 people are expected to attend the 2018 edition.

This year, the festival will tour seven cities in the US including:

August 11-12 — Jersey City, NJ*

Liberty State Park

200 Morris Pesin Dr, Jersey City, NJ 07305

August 25-26 — Chicago, IL*

Chicago Premium Outlets

1650 Premium Outlet Blvd, Aurora, IL 60502

September 8-9 — Washington DC*

City Market at O

800 P St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Gelato Festival America in Washington DC is in association with

Toscana Promozione Turistica Agency

September 29-30 — Dallas, TX*

Dallas Farmers Market

920 S Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75201

October 13-14 — California

La Cumbre Plaza

121 S Hope Ave, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

October 20-21 — Scottsdale, AZ

Kierland Commons

15205 N Kierland Blvd Suite 150, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

October 27-28 — Tucson, AZ

La Encantada

2905 E Skyline Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718

* new locations

This year the festival will feature a new Mobile Laboratory called “Buontalenti America.”

Daniele Palazzoni describes it as “the world largest frozen dessert laboratory on wheels. Even bigger than the one that was used during the Gelato Festival European tour, which so far has the title of largest in the world.” “Buontalenti America” is a 38 foot Gooseneck expandable trailer. When fully opened, it is about 800 square feet and equipped with the best and most innovative machines provided by Carpigiani. Palazzoni says, “It has big windows while cameras and screens will also live stream the production of gelato. All the flavors will be made fresh daily, on site, in every city. It can produce 6000 pounds of gelato per day and accommodate eight chefs in action at the same time.”

In the United States, the purpose of the Gelato Festival runs much deeper than just the taste bud-tingling flavor combinations found only in artisan Italian gelato and sorbet. Gelato Festival America is reflective of the boom of Italian style and culture in the United States in fashion, film, music, and food — Versace, Call Me By Your Name, Andrea Bocelli, and, of course, gelato.

Chefs will go through a rigorous selection process to compete in each city with a unique flavor specifically conceived for Gelato Festival America. The winners will then compete for the selection of the three best American gelato chefs who will be part of the 36 chefs from all over the world, who will vie for the title of World Champion in the Gelato Festival World Masters Final in Italy in 2021.

Chefs who wish to compete — don’t wait! Submit an application at, or write to for a chance to be selected.

bottom of page