Agave Heritage Festival returns with Agave tastings, dinners & more

An educational days-long festival with agave at the head of the table.

(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

Agave Heritage Week is once again taking over parts of Tucson with its annual Agave Heritage Festival from Tuesday, April 23 – Sunday, May 5.

This year, look for agave tastings, seminars, art exhibits, garden tours, world-class culinary events, and much more.

One of the new events featured this year is the Agave Expo happening on the plaza at Hotel Congress. The area is revamped into a one-stop-shop for agave, showcasing different varieties of the plant in seminars, workshops, and on paper as Ron Parker signs copies of his book Chasing Centuries.

Additional events and revised events will join the celebration, such as the downtown stroll known as the MEZCrawl and the Agave Heritage Dinner.

With the number of events happening throughout the week, you’ll need to plan wisely for the sake of agave.

Live Demonstration: Agave Roasting & Fiber Crafts

Thursday, April 25
(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

Local ethnobotanist Jesus Garcia and Paul and Suzanne Fish are preparing the labor-intensive practice of using an underground oven for agave plant roasting. It’s an opportunity to learn about agave roasting heritage and the uses for the plant after roasting.

There will also be an agave fiber crafts demo and mescal tasting.

It’s from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Mission Garden and tickets are $45 per person or $15 if you’re under 21 years old.

Mission Garden is located at 946 W. Mission Ln. For more information, visit agaveheritagefestival.com.

Ignite Agave

Friday, April 26
(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

A presentation about food, agriculture, beverages, and culture that’s engaging enough, but also features live music, celebrity chefs, botanists, and business owners. Each will be highlighting the importance of the agave plant’s impact on our region.

This event takes place at the Fox Theatre downtown from 7 – 10 p.m.

General admission tickets are $5 per person, but a VIP ticket is also available at $45 each. VIP ticket holders enjoy exclusive access to balcony seating, specialty cocktails, and light bites.

The Fox Theatre is located downtown at 17 W. Congress St. For more information, visit agaveheritagefestival.com.

Agave Fiesta

Saturday, April 27
(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

The annual event is everything you ever wanted to know about agave. It’s got presentations, more than 30 agave spirits, and an agave cocktail showdown. In addition, there will be live music, agave spirit tastings, agave art, and other goods inspired by the agave plant.

The event is happening at Hotel Congress from 7 – 10 p.m.

General Admission tickets are $40 per person ($45 on the day of) and VIP tickets are $75 each. VIP ticket holders get in early at 6 p.m. for an exclusive presentation and tastings in Hotel Congress’ newly opened, VIP-only third-floor room.

Hotel Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. For more information, visit agaveheritagefestival.com.

Bacanora: Spirit of the Sonoran Desert, Part 1 & 2

Monday, April 29 & Tuesday, April 30
(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

Bacanora is the signature Sonoran mezcal — as well as Lechuguilla — at these two events.

You can expect in-person presentations by Bacanora as they showcase the traditions, culture, and production methods of borderland mezcals.  Learn about agave conservation projects, too, including the welfare of agave pollinator species, such as bats.

The event is happening over two days at Exo Bar.

Tickets are $25 per person for both Monday, April 29 and Tuesday, April 30.

Exo Bar is located at 403 N. Sixth Ave. For more information, look for both of the events at agaveheritagefestival.com

Agave Spirit of a Nation Documentary Screening & Plant Swap

Tuesday, April 30

This is a great opportunity to check out a film about agave.

The Loft Cinema is having a free screening of the film Agave: The Spirit of a Nation, which premiered last year at SXSW, and a local nursery agave fair. After you watch the film you’ll have the option to take home an agave plant for your home garden.

The screening is free and showing from 7 – 9 p.m.

The Loft Cinema is located at 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. For more information and to rsvp, head to agaveheritagefestival.com

MEZCrawl

Thursday, May 2
(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

From 7 – 10 p.m., the streets of downtown Tucson will be crafting your journey into the cocktail world of mezcal for this year’s MEZCrawl.

Throughout your trek around downtown, agave spirit enthusiasts will each create a cocktail featuring mezcal.

Tickets are $50 per person, and that gets you into all of the participating bars — which will soon be announced.

Agave Heritage Dinner

Friday, May 3
(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

The Copper Hall inside Hotel Congress is hosting the Agave Heritage Dinner from 6:30 – 9 p.m.

James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Bianco and mixologist Tony Abou Ganim are collaborating alongside the chefs from Maynards Market & Kitchen and The Cup Café. The dining experience will feature three courses and showcases the Three Sisters Farming technique with a focus on local squash.

The menu has yet to be released, but should be posted soon.

Tickets are $150 per person. The proceeds from this dinner event will support Native Seeds SEARCH.

Agave: Spirit of the World

Friday, May 3
(Credit: Agave Heritage Festival)

(Credit: Agave Heritage Festival)

From 6 – 8 p.m., modern mixologist, Tony Abou Ganim, and his team of international mixologists — who are also taking part in this year’s Délice Network Meeting — will be crafting cocktails at The Carriage House.

The crew will be taking inspiration from their hometowns using Young’s Market’s portfolio of agave spirits. Also, chef Janos Wilder and the culinary team from The Carriage House will be featuring foods celebrating Tucson’s UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation.

Tickets are $45 per person.

The Carriage House is located at 125 S. Arizona Ave. For more information, check out agaveheritagefestival.com

Agave Expo

Saturday, May 4
(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

For one day only, the Hotel Congress Plaza turns into a one-stop-shop for all things agave.

Local nurseries will showcase many varieties of the agave plant, The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum will extend seminars and workshops throughout the day, and there’s also going to be a book signing for Chasing Centuries — a new agave-inspired book by Ron Parker.

The event is happening from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and admission is free.

Hotel Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. For more information, visit agaveheritagefestival.com.

FREE Family Friendly Cinco de Mayo Celebration

Sunday, May 5
(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

This one’s for the whole family.

It’s going to be filled with the traditions of the Southwest, alongside some mariachi band performances, agave spirit tastings, and artist displays. You’ll also have the option to splurge on food vendors, a local produce farmers market, local makers, games for the kids, and much more.

The event is free and runs from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Tohono Chul Park.

Tohono Chul Park is located at 7366 N. Paseo Del Norte. For more information, visit agaveheritagefestival.com

Cinco de Mayo Celebration

Sunday, May 5
(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

(Credit: The Agave Heritage Festival)

The annual Cinco de Mayo party hosted by Hotel Congress is just one of the highlights of the week. It’s going to be full of live music, dancing, and agave spirits.

The party runs from 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. and tickets are $5

Hotel Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. For more information, visit agaveheritagefestival.com.

For a full list of all of the events and what the Agave Heritage Festival has to offer, take a look at agaveheritagefestival.com.

Matt Sterner is a journalist, novelist, loves films, and would like to think he's a filmmaker. When he's eating, he likes to talk with his mouth full and write about it.

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