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New food festival coming to Tucson this May

Food at Tito and Pep
Posted at 9:50 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 23:50:27-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Pima County Board of supervisors recently awarded $1 million to the Pima County Department of Attractions and Tourism.

The majority of that money is going to be used to start a new festival called the Pueblos del Maíz Fiesta. $250,000 of that money is going to be used to support the Tucson City of Gastronomy.

"The UNESCO designation is very important for the economic development and for our restaurant industry," Catherine Strickland, the deputy director of Pima County's Department of Attractions and Tourism, said. "This money and the creation of a new event will help to bring back some of that food tourism and bolster our designation as a culinary town."

The festival here in Tucson will be part of a larger festival that includes three other cities:

  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Mérida, Mexico
  • Puebla, Mexico.

"We should do an event unites and connects us," Felipe Garcia, the CEO of Visit Tucson, said about how the event started. "I mean our culture, our gastronomy are so tied together. So, we realized our common denominator has been corn."

The festival will start on May 5 and go to May 8. However, there will be events throughout the month in Tucson. Visit Tucson does not know how many people will come this year, but the idea is to grow the event.

"The idea is to start this year and then go for the next 50 years and become staple of our community," Garcia said.

The festival will bring a boost to restaurant businesses in the city.

"To get people out here so they can experience and share just in how amazing our community is; it's just a great addition," John Martinez, the owner and chef at Tito and Pep, said. "Now we have a new type of tourist with the boom of foodyism where people that are really into exploring the world via all of their senses."