Food, music and fun—there’s not much better of a combination. All three can help Arizonans enjoy the cooler weather on a Saturday in Mesa; luckily, the inaugural Taste of Arizona Festival, set for this Saturday at Riverview Park, can deliver all those and more.
The festival will have food trucks, free chef demonstrations, live music, a youth rodeo, face painting, Olympians signing autographs, a kid’s zone and beverages for adults to enjoy.
Steve Pomerantz, Taste of Arizona event director and development director of the Grand Canyon Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the organizer of the festival, said they wanted to do something for the community. The festival is raising money for and will benefit the Grand Canyon Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
In addition, Pomerantz added that the priorities of the festival are to “raise money for our council for outreach programs and for people to come out and have fun.”
“When planning the event, we wanted something for everyone. Especially in Boy Scouts, we have very big families, so we wanted to make it as affordable as possible,” Pomerantz said.
Admission is $6 at the entrance (kids 11 and under are free) and attendees can dine and snack on a wide array of over 30 food trucks around the Valley like Tom’s BBQ, Burgers Amore, Arizona Wing’s N More, and indulge in drinks and treats such as Pour Jo Coffee, Phoenix Phreeze, Frosted Frenzy Cupcakes, Le Crepe AZ and Waffle Love.
In addition to food trucks, the festival will have a kid’s fun zone, a beer and wine garden for adults, musical acts and Arizona Olympic gold medalists signing autographs. The four Olympic medalists present will be gymnast Kerri Strug, swimmers Misty Hyman and Kat Simonovic, and runner Sage Watson. Some of the local musical acts performing include country artists Ashley Wineland and Shari Rowe.
The Kid’s Zone will feature face painting and balloon making as well as booths, games or inflatables from the Arizona Science Center, D-backs, Cardinals and Big Red, Phoenix Suns, Howler from the Arizona Coyotes, Dave and Buster’s and Peter Piper Pizza.
Adults can enjoy the beer and wine garden featuring Gordon Biersch serving craft beer and wine from Sonora Vineyards. Attendees can enjoy 16 ounces of beer or wine for $7 or $20 for three and includes a free Taste of Arizona 16-ounce glass.
Taste of Arizona Festival is different from other festivals in that the number of vendors is greater and has the potential to reach much more people who could attend.
“The size and amount of people and the different vendors that are going to be at the event. (We) reach out to families, which I think is pretty special,” said Tony Pennacchio, general manager of Coulter Infiniti in Mesa, which is helping sponsor the festival. “We look at it as we’re the oldest family-owned dealer group in Arizona… we do care and we are there for the community and were not just the car dealership.”
Pennacchio said word of mouth gets out there about community events, which he said is the fun part. He said Coulter Infiniti and its relationship with the Grand Canyon Council for Boy Scouts have built a lot of good relationships over the years and a lot of the same people will attend the community events.
With building a strong community in mind, Pomerantz said he’s looking forward to a few things at the festival in addition to the youth rodeo, “I’m looking forward to hearing the live music from our variety of artists and eating from the variety of food vendors!”
Check out the first Taste of Arizona Festival organized and benefiting the Grand Canyon Council of the Boy Scouts of America this Saturday, Dec. 3, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Mesa Riverview Park, 2100 W. Rio Salado Parkway. Visit the Taste of Arizona Eventbrite for more information.
– Mesa resident Alyssa Tufts is a freelance reporter for MyNewsMesa.