Every year, visitors and locals alike come together in an outdoor party large enough to rival Woodstock. For over thirty years, six days of food, music, wine, fashion, and art has reigned at the Scottsdale Culinary Festival. This mixture of food and fun has garnered national attention. Chefs, wineries, breweries, and eateries from around the country converge in Scottsdale each year to advertise, show off their skills, eat, and be recognized for their accomplishments. There are so many events both family and 21 and over, that there’s something to keep everyone entertained for the whole week! One of the best parts is that you’ll know you’re making a difference while you’re enjoying yourself. The Scottsdale Culinary Festival is presented by Scottsdale League for the Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and 100% of the net proceeds fund art and art education programs in Arizona. $3.5 million has been donated to this festival from numerous sponsors.
During the six days, 100 restaurants, 20 wineries, 30 chefs, and 40,000 plus people descend on the Scottsdale Civic Center for all the treats. During this time, most will enjoy the weekend of the event known as The Great Arizona Picnic. It’s a full weekend to go and sample food from all the restaurants. With all the different culinary choices, you’re bound to find your new favorite place to eat. While walking around, you can expect to be entertained by all the live bands that will be playing. Local bands grace the stage every day, and provide the perfect sounds for a lively picnic. Picnic tables are set up all over the lawn so you’ll always have a place to sit and nosh or just relax for a moment.
Of course, what is good food without a great drink? While you’re there, take time to stop by the SKYY Bar, Tequila Deck, and the Southwest Festival of Beers with over 200 varieties to try! If you’d like the best seat in the house, get a ticket for the VIP Experience: Passport to the Picnic. This shaded area overlooks the Barefoot/Ampitheater stage and Tequila Deck, offering the best views and sounds of the Picnic. Your VIP Passport to the Picnic ticket gets you access to the entire picnic, premium beverages, and food in the VIP tent as well as reserved parking. If you’re an aspiring chef yourself, or just like to cook, the Epicurean Expo inside the Center for the Performing Arts will be a dream come true. You’ll find all the latest in cookware and kitchen gadgets, as well as renowned chefs giving cooking demonstrations and inviting you to try the savory samples. When you’re ready for a drink, head to the Tiki Hideaway and learn all about “Cocktail Culture.”
As well as the picnic, many special events happen during this time including the fashionable Eat, Drink, and Be Pretty event. This upscale event features a runway show, many wine tastings, and food samples from the chefs. The Chocolate and Wine experience speaks for itself, while the Wine Country Brunch is a laid back event with a special menu and ever flowing champagne and mimosas. For a special, chic night out, meet at the W Scottsdale Rooftop pool for Bubbles and Bliss. This event offers champagne, the Bliss Spa Squad who will be giving away samples and providing complimentary arm massages, and the Cupcake Challenge. Sample and vote for your favorite cupcake. The winner takes home a trophy cupcake! There’s also the Burger Battle, Chef Wine Dinners, and of course Best of the Fest for the Festival’s Finale.
There are way too many personalities and artists to list here, so visit the website at http://scottsdalefest.org/ for a complete listing of all the restaurants, chefs, sponsors, wineries, beers, and entertainers. There are also links to purchase tickets on the site. This is an event not to be missed. Be sure to get your ticket, or you’ll have to wait a whole year for the next one!