Moctoberfest Spring Carnival Benefits All Souls This Saturday

March 25, 2014

Ever seen an episode of HBO's Carnivale? Well, that's kind of like Moctoberfest...except there will be lots of food, thirst-quenching beer, and you will be nowhere near the Oklahoma Dust Bowl.

Ever seen an episode of HBO’s Carnivale? Well, that’s kind of like Moctoberfest…except there will be lots of food, thirst-quenching beer, and you will be nowhere near the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. Advantage: Moctoberfest.

by James J. Jefferies

The Old Pueblo’s community cup runneth over with terrific events this time of year, taking advantage of the last stretch of beautifully mild weather before the mercury rises above the century mark. Before long, most Tucsonans will be pining for that first break in the summer heat, which usually doesn’t occur until well into October.

As such, it’s a perfect time to look way ahead, and throw a colossal outdoor event to benefit a local fixture such as Many Mouths One Stomach, the organization responsible for the wonderful All Souls Procession that takes place in early November, and has become a globally-known fall phenomenon.

“This is our third (consecutive) year,” said Ruben Palma, organizer with MMOS. “There had been some effort in years past, an attempt at a sort of ‘All Fools’ carnival (as an analogue to All Souls), because we want the vibe to be upbeat and happy for the springtime.”

This is year three of Moctoberfest, and the lineup of incoming performers is certifiably LARGE.

This is year three of Moctoberfest, and the lineup of incoming performers is certifiably LARGE. The evening’s proceeds will directly benefit Many Mouths One Stomach.

Moctoberfest is that springtime carnival, and it takes place on Saturday, March 29th, a whopping twelve-hour extravaganza from 2pm to 2am at the Mercado San Augustin, right on the western edge of Downtown Tucson. This is the first year that Moctoberfest’s proceeds will benefit All Souls, and it comes at a perfect time, given the explosive record popularity of last year’s Procession that drew well over 100,000 participants and spectators.

The entry fee is an unbelievably cheap $5 for an all-day pass, but they will gratefully accept donations of larger amounts. Re-entry is permitted. This is an all-ages event, but children under 10 will be admitted free with a paying adult, and permitted until 10pm.

Of course, with this event being billed as an April Fool’s Carnival, it’s certainly a much more celebratory affair than the Procession, but absolutely no less creative. Attendees are encouraged to dress up in costumes as wild as they can imagine, and to completely let their own individual flags fly.

There will also be a “beach-side” photo booth for people to come, have their pics taken, and be as ridiculous as possible. While this carnival obviously doesn’t exhibit the same intensely personal, reflective edge as All Souls, the organizers really want people to embrace the same outlandishly expressive vibe.

There will be a massive variety of brews present, thanks to event sponsors such as distributors Cosmic Brewery and Nimbus Brewing Company. There is also an ENORMOUS slate of musicians, dance troupes, DJs, stunt performers, performance artists, a Private Burlesque Cabaret, a 20-foot swing, clowns, and more. “The beer sales represent a great chance to raise money (for MMOS),” said Palma.

It’s going to be a fantastic entire day of so many different stripes of shenanigans. There’s a Beer Contest, a Moustache Competition, Bike Jousting, a Sideshow Midway, a Dunk Tank where you can hurl a ball and dunk some Tucson media royalty, Beer & Wine-Making tutorials, a VIP Wine-Tasting Lounge, and a massive array of local food trucks bringing their most delicious goods to stuff your face with.

The Mercado San Augustin is the site of this year's Moctoberfest, and if you're not familiar, it's an excellent opportunity to get cozy with an endlessly charming historic Downtown spot.

The Mercado San Augustin is the site of this year’s Moctoberfest, and if you’re not familiar, it’s an excellent opportunity to get cozy with an endlessly charming historic Downtown haunt.

At press time, the gargantuan roster of performers includes Chicha Dust; Vox Urbana; Planet Djembe; The Missing Parts; Flight School Acrobatics (show & workshop); Tom Heavy (Tom Petty Covers played in Death Metal?!); Black Ginger; Flamenco Ole aka Trima Musicante; Mamaxe Dance Collective (Show & Workshop); Skirt Full of Fire; Aerial Dance Performances by Tucson Circus Arts; the Saguaro Stompers-Amercian Clog Dancing (show & workshop); Orbital Evolution (Tucson’s Modern Hoop Troop); The Brothers Macabre Magic Show with Kenny Stewart & Nate Anderson; percussionist Richard Noel of Sticks & Fingers; The Bennu; the Circus Electric  by Professor Carlos Nagual (Tesla Coil show/exhibition/stunts); Tygel Pinto -BeatBox/Aboriginal-Flute Hip-Hop, Oud w/ Michael Henderson, Phaebulous Phoebulous, Moisafari Shadow Box Theater, and DJs Carl Hanni, Joshua Pocolips, Matthew Cassidy & Adam Gilliland, with quite possibly MORE to be announced.

Are you an aspiring fire-dancer or performer? There will be an Open Spin Fire Jam, with members of Flam-Chen and some of the best fire dancers in Arizona sharing their tricks and tips. People are encouraged to bring their fire gear to experiment with. Of course, for these individuals, and anyone else under 21, a strict ban on alcohol consumption with be enforced. (Fire-dancing and booze = no bueno. Trust me.)

In other words… this is really big deal, a gargantuan undertaking that will provide a rip-roaring day and night at the Mercado for all involved. And as with many of the best events that happen in the Old Pueblo, how much fun you have will really depend on how far you’re willing to take your own participation!

Of course, a carnival this size thrown on behalf of such an excellent local nonprofit cannot happen without a whole lot of dedicated volunteers, something Moctoberfest is still very much in need of. For more information on how to get involved, or for more updates on that explosive lineup of scheduled performers, please check out Moctoberfest here.