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.
By 2015 — the same year that Tucson was the first U.S. city to receive the UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation — Agave Fest had gone from a tequila-lover’s Cinco de Mayo celebration to an event rooted in the historical and cultural significance of the agave plant. With seminars, a fundraising Agave Dinner, tastings of spirits unavailable in the United States, and a cultural and historical art exhibit, Agave Fest had begun to realize its true potential.
The agave plant’s inextricable role in the culture and history of the Arizona-Mexco borderlands region became a central focus of Agave Fest, leading to the creation of Agave Heritage Week in 2016 and the expansion into Agave Heritage Festival in 2017.
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.
The agave, in short, was meat, drink, clothing, and writing materials for the Aztec! Surely, never did Nature enclose in so compact a form so many of the elements of human comfort and civilization! - William H. Prescott