Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance digs into another year of promoting local culinary heritage
The Southern Arizona creative, culinary community will have yet another opportunity to shine this season as SAACA announces another calendar of events that celebrate the diverse variety of foods that are produced right here in our beautiful region. Foodies in Southern Arizona will again be treated to a variety of culinary experiences that are uniquely Tucson.
The four extraordinary events represent a variety of tastes and experiences that will be opportunities to sample the incredible cuisine right here in our local community. From the Best 23 Miles of Mexican Food to spirited cocktail competitions featuring Tucson Originals Restaurants, food-enthusiasts will not be disappointed!
"We are proud to highlight our culinary heritage as a significant contributor to the region's creative economy," said SAACA Executive Director, Kate Marquez. "SAACA actively supports arts and cultural resources and programming. We believe that support for our artists, makers and creatives is essential to our region’s economic development and to build momentum for future growth."
SAACA PARTNERS WITH AGAVE HERITAGE FESTIVAL
● Date: Friday April 27, 2018 - Sunday, May 6, 2018
● Location: City-wide events
● Cost: Tickets range per event
● Online: https://www.agaveheritagefestival.com/
● Contact: Marketing@HotelCongress.com
Tucson's Agave Heritage Festival explores and celebrates the cultural, commercial, and culinary significance of agave on the border region through a festival of seminars, trade shows, and world class culinary events.
Agave Heritage Festival began in 2008 as Agave Fest, a Cinco de Mayo celebration featuring tequila tastings and a tequila “Iron Bar Chef” competition at the historic Hotel Congress. As the festival grew in the following years, the number of different agave spirits featured at the event more than doubled, and food specials were elevated from cheap eats to regionally focused culinary treats.
Today, Agave Heritage Festival is a city-wide, ten-day destination event that spotlights the sustainability of the southwest region through the lens of the agave plant. Agave Heritage Festival celebrates the unique importance of the agave plant and the borderlands culture with seminars, trade shows, and world-class culinary events.
SAACA is proud to partner with the 2018 Agave Heritage Festival to help expand the reach and influence of the project throughout the state.
TUCSON 23 MEXICAN FOOD FESTIVAL
● Date: Saturday, June 16, 2018
● Time: 6:00 PM
● Location: JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa
3800 W Starr Pass Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85745
● Cost: $60
● Online: https://www.saaca.org/tucson23.html
● Contact: 520-531-9227
SAACA, Visit Tucson, the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort and Spa, and 40 participating Mexican restaurants and chefs bring the “Best 23 Miles of Mexican Food in America” to life during The Tucson 23: A Mexican Food Festival.
This year will feature additional events, celebrating the region's culinary assets in the week leading up to the festival. Participating restaurants will also feature a "Taste the 23" promotion at their restaurant locations.
The JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa is featuring a special resort rate ($114.00 not including tax and resort rate) that provides guests with additional Tucson 23 Weekend benefits. The benefits include access to culinary demonstrations and education classes focusing on Mexican pastries, Ceviche, Tequila & Mezcal, Masa and tortilla making.
The weekend of local chef collaborative dinner pairings, cultural music, culinary classes, and a traditional tequila toast will culminate with an authentic Mexican food sampling event. The program supports tourism, economic development, and cultural significance.
WORLD MARGARITA CHAMPIONSHIP
● Date: Friday, August 10, 2018
● Time: 6:00 PM
● Location: Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort
1000 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85737
● Cost: $55
● Online: https://www.saaca.org/worldmargarita.html
● Contact: 520-531-9227
The World Margarita Championship is a culinary collaboration among Tucson Original Restaurants, SAACA, and the El Conquistador Tucson, a Hilton Resort. The competition supports local culinary diversity by promoting the value of Tucson’s independent restaurants. One of the Tucson Original Restaurants’ longest-running community events, the championship helps sustain the arts and locally owned restaurants.
Chefs and restaurants will battle it out with live Judging and a People’s Choice award, for the best Signature Margarita. Enjoy food sampling and margarita tastings from Southern Arizona chefts and purveyors. Attendees will get to vote for their favorite margarita! In addition, El Conquistador Tucson is featuring a special World Margarita Championship resort rate ($124.00 per night and includes all taxes and resort fees).
SALSA, TEQUILA & TACO CHALLENGE
● Date: Sunday, September 2, 2018
● Time: VIP, 6:00 PM, General Admission, 7:00 PM
● Location: La Encantada Shopping Center, 2905 E Skyline Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718
● Cost: V.I.P. Admission $100/General Admission $60
● Online: https://www.saaca.org/salsatequila.html
● Contact: 520-531-9227
The Southern Arizona Salsa, Tequila & Taco Challenge has emerged as one of the region’s largest and most creative culinary competitions. More than 40 chefs and restaurants show off innovative recipes in 15 categories – from the art of mixology, to traditional and modern salsa recipes, to creative taco creations. Over 1,500 attendees vote on their favorite recipes and dance the night away to support this community fundraising event. SAACA and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona are the beneficiaries.
**New for 2018** V.I.P. Admission is $100/per person. V.I.P. includes ONE hour early entry into the event at 6 PM, Tequila Toast; VIP valet parking and commemorative shot glass plus all General Admission access. Only 300 V.I.P. tickets will be sold.
General Admission ticket includes libation, and menu samplings from over 50 local professional and emerging restaurants and chefs, with custom salsa and tequila cocktails in over 20 categories. In addition, attendees can enjoy beer and menu samplings.
The event will distribute awards from professional judges as well as People's Choice Awards to participating restaurants and exhibitors.
More details with regard to ticket package benefits and participating restaurants, exhibitors, and entertainment schedule will be announced in the coming months on the website at https://www.saaca.org. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates.
Note to Media: Photos Available
About Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance
The Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance (SAACA) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to ensure that, through engagement in arts and culture, our communities produce strong, inspired citizens. SAACA enlists artists, businesses, governments, and individuals to expand artistic and cultural opportunities in their respective communities. To enhance access to the arts and to promote cultural awareness in the communities it serves, SAACA presents large-scale festivals, events and other programs. The Alliance also promotes educational opportunities in the arts and culture for all ages.
A visual essay on diversity and inclusion
On April 19, 2018, Roche Tissue Diagnostics (RTD), in collaboration with the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance (SAACA) will host an exhibition focused on the topic of diversity and inclusion titled We are human.
The exhibition was envisioned by RTD employee and artist Darlene Buhrow. She was inspired by diversity and inclusion banners around the Oro Valley campus that showcased handwritten statements on what diversity and inclusion meant to individuals working there. One corner of the banner had the words: “I am gay, I am straight, I am lesbian, I am transgender, I am bisexual” crossed out, while a final line – “I am human” – remained. “When I looked at that banner I wondered how we could capture that sentiment visually. My mind immediately thought of artists who truly captured their subjects’ essence – Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Sally Mann, Duane Michals. I knew that photography was the right medium to showcase our colleagues.” She pitched her idea to RTD’s local diversity and inclusion group, Vivid (Valuing individuals, valuing inclusion and diversity), who were immediately onboard with the concept.
From that came the final concept for the We are human art exhibition. Viewers will encounter a collection of black-and-white portraits that strive to highlight RTD colleagues in an attempt to strip away biases and challenge viewers to look beyond the exterior, to see the human in each of us. In addition to being photographed, participants were asked to share five things people might not know about them. Each person’s statements will be displayed in random order, facing the portraits but not matched to the portrait of the person it belongs with. Two weeks before the show closes, the portraits will be paired with their matching list of five things. Viewers can guess which pair together, but the point is that it should not matter, as each individual should be treated the same, no matter their experiences or history.
Michael Wierzba, RTD Vivid chair, said, "I am excited to see this initiative come to life as it’s a great opportunity to see both the visible and invisible diversity at our company. I applaud all participants for being brave enough to be photographed and share some of what makes each one of them unique. Awareness of our differences and similarities allows us to create a more inclusive environment. It also helps facilitate more productive interactions within individuals, teams and departments.”
The public reception is Thursday, April 19 from 5 to 7 p.m., with refreshments and live acoustic music at Roche Tissue Diagnostics, 1910 E. Innovation Park Drive.
The Ventana Gallery at Roche Tissue Diagnostics is open to the public by appointment Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on the first and third Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call SAACA at (520) 797-3959, ext. 101. Forty-eight hours advance notice is required.
Photo and five things are below. (Please note the image and the five things are not from the same individual.)
I grew up by the sea in Plymouth, England and have a passion for sailing, and my most daring voyage was a 15-hour journey overnight from Bantry Bay, Southern Ireland to the Scilly Isles, Cornwall, England. It was dark, wet, cold and the waves were bigger than our boat, our navigation system failed as we were entering our final hour, but we could at that point at least see land. This voyage gave me huge respect for the power of the ocean and reminded me mother nature is in control!
I have a phobia for heights, caused by two incidents - the first one when I was around 10 years old - my friends climbed up to the highest diving board in Olympic size swimming pool and I of course followed. I wanted to turn around but didn’t and jumped! I was terrified and have been afraid of "free falling “ever since. The second one was in an elevator during university, when I stepped into it and it dropped. Let’s just say you will never get me sky diving.
I am partially deaf in my left ear - the result of the flu when I was around 30 - I have to consciously consider where to sit at a meeting - I normally sit at the end of a table to be able to hear as much as I can. I am glad the worst situation this caused was having to learn to sleep with constant tinnitus - it took me more than a year to adjust.
I speak German - I studied it for 8 years at school, and when I was working for Roche in Basel for the first 2 years all HR meetings were in German as I was the only non-native speaker. My admiration for anyone who works in their non-native language is huge!
Having lost my father suddenly when I was 17 years old, my family are extremely important to me. My mum and my twin brother are my rocks along now with my husband. My motto is life's too short, live for the moment!
We are human
Exhibition: April 13 through July 11
Public reception: Thursday, April 19, 5 to 7 p.m.
Where: Ventana Gallery at Roche Tissue Diagnostics
1910 E. Innovation Park Drive, Oro Valley
Phone: (520) 797-3959
Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance
The Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance (SAACA) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to promote engagement in arts and culture, helping our communities produce strong, inspired citizens. SAACA enlists artists, businesses, governments, and individuals to expand artistic and cultural opportunities in their respective communities. To enhance access to the arts and to promote cultural awareness in the communities it serves, SAACA presents large-scale festivals, events and other programs. The Alliance also promotes educational opportunities in the arts and culture for all ages.