2017 Agave Heritage Festival

April 23, 2017


The 9th Annual Agave Heritage Festival will take place April 28-May 7 featuring an event filled week celebrating Agave.


Tucson, Arizona, April 10, 2017 – Hotel Congress, Visit Tucson and The Mexican Consulate presents the 9th annual Agave Heritage Festival, Tucson’s first officially UNESCO endorsed City of Gastronomy event. Nationally acclaimed as a “Top 10 Festival In The World” by Bravo TV, this year’s event explores and celebrates the culinary, cultural and commercial significance of agave on the border region.

The week features seminars spearheaded by industry giants like renowned nature activist and co-founder of Native Seeds/ SEARCH Gary Nabhan, famed author and Agave aficionado Ana Valenzuela-Zapata, Mexico City’s Master Mezcalier Sergio Inurrigaro and Wendy Hodgson of Desert Botanical Gardens and author of Food Plants of the Sonoran Desert. 

The world-class culinary events featured during this festival shine a light on Tucson heritage food and the brilliance of the Agave plant with James Beard awarded Chef Janos Wilder and mezcal chocolatier Anayency Gomez.

The Tucson community has embraced this celebratory festival and created events to help support the diversity of the week. Partners like The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, The University of Arizona, Tucson Botanical Garden, Tohono Chul and Mission Garden have added educational exhibits that share insight on how connected agave is to our Sonoran traditions and our modern exploration of the past.

Answering to it’s community based mission, the Agave Heritage Festival will be contributing proceeds to both Native Seeds/SEARCH and Mission Garden as well as hosting the inaugural Agave Spirit Industry Trade show featuring agave spirits not yet distributed in the United States as well as four of Tucson’s top agave spirit wholesale distribution companies.


Calendar of Events:

April 28th

  • Mission Garden Presentation with Jesus Garcia – 4pm | $25, ages 21+/$5, ages 20-6/free for ages under 6 | Mission Garden – We will be firing up the roasting pit while learning more about agave preparation and tasting the best in agave spirits

April 29th

  • Ancient Agave Garden Tour – 8:30-10am | $25 | U of A Desert Laboratory Tumamoc Hill – Agave Scholars Suzanne and Paul Fish take you on a fascinating tour of ancient agave roasting sites, right in our backyard
  • Mission Garden Presents The Opening Of The Fire Pit – 4:30-7:30pm | $25, ages 21+/$5, ages 20-6/free for ages under 6 | Mission Garden – Jesus Garcia is joined by Suzanne and Paul Fish and Carolyn Niethammer, to share tastes of roasted agave, how to cook it at home, make agave rope and more…and spirit tastings of course!

Tickets for Mission Garden Events can be purchases at: http://www.tucsonsbirthplace.org/news-events/#agaveweek

May 3rd

  • Gentry Award Lecture on Mezcal Origins & Future – 12pm | Free | Haury Auditorium at University of Arizona – Ana Valenzuela presents an overview of mezcal research & conservation in Mexico, sponsored by Southwest Center

May 4th

  • MEZcrawl – 7-9pm | $25/$40 (take home a commemorative t-shirt) | Check in at Hydra -Explore the agave spirits and cocktails from Rbar, Penca, Charro Steak,The Good Oak Bar and Borderlands Brewery
  • Tucson City of Gastronomy Seminar – 6pm | $15 | Maynards Market & Kitchen Drawing Room – Natives Seeds/Search co-founder Gary Nabhan and President of United States Bartender Guild Tucson offer insight into the Agave plant and our Tucson City of Gastronomy distinction
  • Mezcal and Chocolate Pairing Seminar featuring artisanal mezcal chocolatier Anayency Gomez – 7pm | $15 | Maynards Market & Kitchen Drawing Room
  • Art In The Lobby featuring Diane Bombeshelter and Paul Mircocha – 6pm | FREE | Hotel Congress Lobby

May 5th

  • Agave Heritage Dinner – 6:30-10pm | $110 (plus tax & gratuity) | Maynards Market & Kitchen Patio – Chef Janos Wilder and Chef Brian Smith of Maynards Market & Kitchen create a Sonoran inspired four-course dinner paired perfectly with agave-based cocktails including presentations by Ana Valenzuela-Zapata and Sergio Inurrigaro. Proceeds benefit Native Seeds/SEARCH
  • Cinco De Mayo Concert – 9pm | FREE | Club Congress and El Tambo
  • Fibers, Tequila and Fun – 10am & 1pm | Free with admission | Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum – This program explores local resources, with a special focus on Agave that the indigenous people of the Sonoran Desert region have traditionally used for food, beverage, medicines, fibers, and more
  • Agave Garden Tours – 10am-1pm | Free with admission | Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum – Enjoy a tour of the Agave Garden from Desert Museum horticulturist, Jason Wiley
  • Cryptic Gardens and Cryptic Agaves – 1:30pm | Free with admission | Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum – Learn how Pre-Columbian agave clones persisted in our Sonoran landscape from A.D. 600 to the present with Wendy Hodgson & Andrew Salywon

May 6th

  • Agave Heritage Fest – 6-9pm | $30/$35 (at the door) | Hotel Congress – The Agave Party of the year offering 40+ agave-based spirits, an agave cocktail competition, live music from Vox Urbana, Agave 101 Seminar by Master Mezalier Sergio Inurrigario, light bites featuring Sonoran sopes,vegetarian Nopalitos ceviche, savory mushroom flautas and Borderlands Beer
  • Fibers, Tequila and Fun – 10am & 1pm | Free with admission | Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
  • Agave Garden Tours – 10am-1pm | Free with admission | Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

May 7th

  • Agave Heritage Brunch – 11am-1pm | $55 (plus tax & gratuity) | The Carriage House – End this year’s celebration with a culinary fusion 4-course brunch. Chef Janos Wilder and Chef Anthony Coluci of the Cup Café will create a dining sensation paired with agave-inspired mimosa flights featuring an array of local products to amaze all you brunch aficionados. Proceeds from this brunch help benefit Mission Garden
  • Fibers, Tequila and Fun – 10am & 1pm | Free with admission | Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
  • Agave Garden Tours – 10am-1pm | Free with admission | Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum


Tickets for events can be purchased here.

Stay connected with the event and all things agave at our Facebook page.

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