In addition to having one of the largest art communities in America, Scottsdale’s beautiful natural scenery and world-class accommodations make it one of the Southwest's most complete travel destinations. From golfing at more than 170 local courses to sampling some of the finest meals in America, Scottsdale is perfect for your next Arizona getaway.
Scottsdale Culinary Weekend has been the city’s leading showcase of culinary talent since its inception four decades ago. Event organizers expect at least 30,000 attendees, who will be able to sample foods and drinks from more than 40 local restaurants and 30 craft breweries. The event also features 20 live music acts, interactive cooking demonstrations, and a family zone with plenty of activities for kids. All proceeds generated will go to supporting the Scottsdale League for the Arts, a nonprofit group that aims to increase art awareness and education in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. We got the opportunity to interview Jen Pruett, a representative for the event, to learn more about this comprehensive culinary experience.
RAL: Tell me about the event.
JP: The 39th Scottsdale Culinary Festival will take place at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall Saturday, April 8 – Sunday, April 9. Hosted by the Scottsdale League for the Arts, event highlights include 40 local restaurants, 30 craft breweries, 20 bands, a teen cooking challenge, chef demonstrations, a family zone, wine garden, and the Tito’s Handmade Vodka deck.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
JP: Around 30,000 attendees between the two days.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
JP: This is an all ages event!
RAL: What makes this event unique?
JP: We are Arizona’s longest running culinary festival, celebrating everything that is uniquely Arizona – food, culture, beer, entertainment. Also, 100% of our net proceeds benefit local arts programs and education.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
JP: The 2.5-acre Scottsdale Culinary Festival grounds will feature eleven themed zones jam-packed with interactive experiences to taste, sip, and celebrate the Arizona food culture. Access to most zone activity is included in the general admission ticket pricing, except for the VIP zone and the Beer Garden.
Hosted by Four Peaks Brewing Co., the Beer Garden will feature 200 specialty beers from local and national craft breweries, food from local restaurants, and beer games. Education is the focus in the Culinary Experience Tent with a sensory food pairing, chocolate making demonstrations, and a food photography seminar. Or, take a break from the food and enjoy live entertainment on three stage. Fun abounds in the Family Zone where kids can enjoy face painting, bouncy houses, carnival games, a magician, crafts, and more.
Take break from the festival on Saturday to watch the preliminary rounds of the second annual Teen Cook Off in the Virginia Piper Theater. Local Culinary arts students will be competing for great prizes and bragging rights over fellow classmates.
New to the Scottsdale Culinary Festival in 2017 is the Local Lounge presented by Hensley Beverage Co., showcasing local wineries, spirits, and craft beer from around the state of Arizona.
RAL: Will there be any Guest Appearances?
JP: This year, the Scottsdale Culinary Festival will feature its first national headliner, LeAnn Rimes, set to perform live on Saturday (April 8).
LeAnn Rimes is an internationally acclaimed singer and ASCAP award-winning songwriter. Globally, she has sold more than 44 million units, won two Grammy® Awards; 12 Billboard Music Awards; two World Music Awards; three Academy of Country Music Awards; one Country Music Association Award and one Dove Award. At 14, Rimes won "Best New Artist” making her the youngest recipient of a Grammy® Award.
Other entertainment highlights include performances by The Walkens, Share Rowe, Uncorked, 76th Street, Pistoleros and Thaddeus Rose.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
JP: The Saguaro Hotel is our official sponsor. For reservations click here and use group code 1704SCOTTS or call 480-308-1100 and reference the Festival. Discount room rate will be $149 (while supplies last). We also have a great resource page for info on accommodations.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
JP: Yes, this event brings 30,000 people to the Scottsdale area which is great for local merchants and businesses.
RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?
JP: All net proceeds raised will support the non-profit Scottsdale League for the Arts in its effort to promote the arts and art education organizations in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, via annual fundraisers such as the Scottsdale Culinary Weekend event and The Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner. Since 2002, the League has contributed more than $4 million to numerous organizations such as Ballet Arizona, Childsplay, and Free Arts of Arizona.
For more information about the Scottsdale Culinary Weekend, please visit the event website.