Your Passport to Epicurean Exploring!

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Posted on March 16, 2018 by Laura Lucky

Any foodie worth his salt (see what we did there?!) wouldn’t miss the annual Scottsdale Culinary Festival. Held in April of each year, the festival has grown from a small event held in the atrium of Scottsdale’s Performing Arts Center to a premier culinary extravaganza that attracts more than 30,000 people from all over the world. Now in its 40th year, the Scottsdale Culinary Festival is the longest-running culinary festival in the nation.

Presented by the Scottsdale League for the Arts, the festival is a primary source of grant funding for the non-profit. Dedicated to supporting the arts and arts education programs here in the Valley, the League awards 100% of the net funds to such organizations as the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and the Scottsdale Unified School District. Overall, the league has awarded more than $4 million to non-profit arts entities throughout Maricopa County.

Abundant sunshine, delicious aromas, lively socializing and toe-tapping live music greet guests at the Festival’s signature two-day event, the Great Arizona Picnic (April 14 & 15). Here you’ll meander through acres of tents set up to offer tastings from acclaimed Valley restaurants, cooking demonstrations, and appearances from celebrity chefs. You’ll also find cocktail stations within the grounds and a separate Beer Garden offering tastings of brews both local and from afar.

Surrounding the weekend of the picnic, the League presents a handful of culinary events each year. The Burger Battle (held in March this year) gives guests a ballot and unlimited burger tastings from the many restaurants competing for the big win. The Cocktail Society (April 13) is the festival’s chic and trendy offering with complimentary cocktails and unlimited fine food tastings accompanied by live art, live entertainment and aerial bartenders! Putting a finishing bow on the festival is the Best of the Fest (April 15) event. As the Festival’s grand finale, the five-course, wine-paired dinner is prepared tableside for diners by a local, renowned chef. With all these delicious culinary affairs at-hand, it’s no wonder Scottsdale is a gourmand’s dream!

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