TUCSON, AZ – A new world class culinary event will take place in Tucson in May. The Pueblos Del Maiz (PDM) festival kicks off a month-long celebration of the gastronomies, histories, and culinary cultures of Tucson and three other North American UNESCO Cities of Gastronomy, including San Antonio, and Meridia and Puebla both in Mexico. Pueblos del Maíz pays tribute to the major role that Maize (corn) has played in Southern Arizona's food heritage for thousands of years.
Produced by the nonprofit Tucson City of Gastronomy (TCoG) with support from Pima County’s American Rescue Plan for funding tourism recovery, the Tucson festival runs from May 5th through May 8th extending from Hotel Congress and Fox Theatre to Mission Garden and San Xavier Co-op Farm. The program will feature a block party with street food, cooking demonstrations, chef showcase dinner, musical performances, a film screening, a photographic exhibit, and educational activities.
Tucson Pueblos Del Maiz Schedule of Events
Thursday, May 5, 5-6pm –The Citizen Hotel, 82 S Stone: Photography Exhibit: “Maize Traditions in Puebla” by Andres Lobato.
Andres Lobato is an accomplished photographer, influencer and journalist from Puebla, MX. He has dedicated himself to portraying different corners of the world, mainly Mexico where he finds his greatest source of inspiration in the identity that is shaped through landscape and culture.
Thursday, May 5, 6:30-9:30pm – Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W Congress: Movie Screening: “Maize in the Times of War”, by Alberto Cortés.
Summary: An indigenous Wixárika (Huichol) family in northern Jalisco, an Ayuuk (Mixe) family in Oaxaca, and two Tzeltal families in the jungles of Chiapas discuss their cornfields, their roads, and their homes. They reflect on the importance of their crops, and the practical knowhow that enables the everyday epic tale of corn, as well as the dangers faced by this crop and the need to preserve the land used by countless indigenous Mexican communities and farmers to grow their cornfields. Immediately following the film, there will be a live Q & A with film producer Carlos Rossini and Carlos Figueroa, director of Cinema Tropical. Free Event
Friday, May 6 – Hotel Congress, 311 E Congress: A Maíz Showcase Bocadito Dinner Experience
Tucson City of Gastronomy presents the Maiz Showcase, a bocadito dinner experience featuring some of Tucson’s finest chefs at downtown’s most iconic venue, Hotel Congress. The dinner will feature 10 small plates, Pueblo del Maiz signature beer from Borderlands Brewery and more. A collaborative Maiz-themed menu by local award-winning chefs, restaurateurs, and food artisans, including Carlotta Flores & the Si Charro! Chefs, John Martinez (Tito & Pep), Don Guerra (Barrio Bread), Janos Wilder, Mateo Otero (Rollies Mexican Patio), Erika Muñoz (Seis Kitchen), Ayla Kapahi (Borderlands Brewery), Kristel Johnson (HUB Creamery), and Adam Krantz (Monsoon Chocolate). $50pp (ticket holders will gain automatic entry to El Tambo Fest following the dinner).
Friday, May 6, 9:30pm -2am (May 7) – Hotel Congress, 311 E Congress: El Tambo Fest (weekend 2)
Featuring music by: Vox Urbana, El Santo Golpe, & El Tambó DJs. Since 2013, Tucson's legendary dance party without borders, every Friday night at the Historic Hotel Congress. El Tambó, loosely, “The Drum,” celebrates the cultural remixing that has always taken place here in the borderlands. Consciousness and context come together on the dance floor. $15pp
Saturday, May 7, 5-10pm – Hotel Congress- 311 E Congress:
Tucson City of Gastronomy presents the first annual "Pueblos del Maíz Fiesta," a FREE block party at Hotel Congress and 5th Avenue. Starting at 5pm, Hotel Congress will transform into a family friendly, maiz themed fiesta with plaza music from Gertie & the T.O. Boyz, Los Hermanos Cuatro, Las Trillizas y Dulce, and Native Creed. Juan Wauters of Uruguay and Los Velvets of Nogales will provide live entertainment in the club. The party will also feature over 15 local food and artisan vendors and a panel conversation organized by the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area, all celebrating the cultural and agricultural significance of Maiz in the Sonoran Desert. Free Event
The Pueblos Del Maiz event closely follows and connects with the annual Agave Heritage Festival as co-presenters along with Arizona Arts Live of the Lila Downs Concert on April 28 at Centennial Hall. Other PDM crossover events include a free film screening in conjunction with the Cinema Tucsón film festival, and a co-promotion with El Tambó Fest to host the official afterparty for the Tucson International Mariachi Conference's La Santa Cecilia show at Rialto Theatre on April 29th.
After the PDM celebration in Tucson, the event will move through the three other cities on a rolling schedule through the month of May. The four PDM cities will exchange chefs, share live streams of cooking challenges, and craft brewers in each city will offer a special Maíze beer under the same PDM label. The Tucson version of the beer will be brewed by Borderlands Brewing Co. using traditional 60-day Tohono O’odham Maíze grown at the San Xavier Co-operative Farm.
About the Tucson City of Gastronomy
The non-profit Tucson City of Gastronomy was formed in 2016 to manage the 2015 UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy designation for metro Tucson and Southern Arizona. It 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. To manage the event in Tucson, TCoG has hired local media and production companies, Ranch House Media & Best Life Presents, who have directed and successfully grown the last several editions of HOCO Fest, and more recently helped produce the Agave Heritage Festival. To purchase tickets and for additional information visit www.PueblosDelMaiz.com . To learn more about Tucson City of Gastronomy at tucson.cityofgastronomy.org.