(Photo courtesy of Pueblos del Maíz Fiesta)

Tucson Kicks Off the Third Annual Pueblos Del Maíz Festival

February 28, 2024
By Matt Sterner

From Thursday, April 11 – Sunday, April 14, the nonprofit Tucson City of Gastronomy (TCoG) hosts the third annual international Pueblos Del Maíz festival, which celebrates the gastronomies, histories, and food cultures of maíz (corn) in Tucson and three other UNESCO Creative Cities of Gastronomy. 

Participating cities this year include Tucson, San Antonio, Mérida MX, and Bergamo-Gandino IT.  

a group of people standing in front of a crowd
(Photo courtesy of Pueblos del Maíz Fiesta)

Pueblos del Maíz in Tucson will be a four-day celebration of the major role of maíz in Southern Arizona’s food heritage, gastronomy, and culture. Centered in downtown Tucson, it will also extend to Mission Garden, Native Seeds/SEARCH, Kennedy Park, and other venues across the city.

It will feature a free fiesta at Kennedy Park with street food and bands, cooking demonstrations by visiting chefs, a white-cloth dinner collaboratively prepared by visiting and local chefs, live musical performances, interactive art installations, and free educational tours, demonstrations, and presentations on the theme of maíz.  

Pueblos Del Maíz Beyond Tucson

Each year this international event starts in Tucson, where maíz has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years, then moves through each of the other participating cities.

The four Pueblos Del Maíz cities will exchange chefs and share live streams of cooking demonstrations. Craft brewers in each city will make a special maíz beer under the Pueblos Del Maíz label: Viejo Pueblo. The popular Tucson version of the beer made with Tohono O’odham 60-day corn, will be offered by Borderlands Brewing Company for the third year in a row.  

Launched in 2022, the Tucson Pueblos Del Maíz festival grew last year to more than 5,800 attendees at 11 events over four days across seven venues. It featured 21 local vendors, 11 regional musical performers, and two visiting chefs from other UNESCO Cities of Gastronomy.

A total of 85 local businesses, the majority minority-owned, directly benefited from the festival.

Attendees included visitors from 15 states and Sonora, Mexico, and the estimated total economic impact was more than $850,000.  

The non-profit Tucson City of Gastronomy (TCoG) was formed in 2016 to manage the 2015 UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy designation for metro Tucson and Southern Arizona. TCoG works with stakeholders in the local food system and food economy to leverage the designation to increase appreciation of our food heritage, culinary assets, and food system innovations, promote them on a global scale, and link them to heritage foodways preservation, culinary tourism, and economic development. 

Tucson Foodie Insiders Perk

Insiders, stay tuned to the Tucson Foodie Member app for exclusive presale access to the Noche de Maíz Chef’s Dinner.

Stay tuned for more details on the four-day event and visit pueblosdelmaiz.com for more information. Learn more about Tucson City of Gastronomy at tucson.cityofgastronomy.org

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