Featured Food, Restaurants & Dining Music & Events Travel, Shopping & Leisure Fara Illich December 10, 2009

Tequila and mariachi pair up like black beans and enchiladas, Bert and Ernie, or starlets and tiny dogs. They were made for each other. Happily, the two are finally featured together at one venue. This Saturday, from noon to 5 p.m., the 1st Annual Phoenix Tequila Fest takes place at the US Airways Center, followed at 7 p.m. by the Christmas Mariachi Festival.
margarita1I’m trying to picture the results, as partiers from the Tequila Fest walk – or maybe zig-zag – into the concert arena. However people get to their seats, it should amount to some serious fun. The Mariachi Festival, now in its 18th year, usually runs long, with audience members dancing up and down the aisles.
The Festival will include more than 700 dancers and musicians, including the amazing Ballet Folklorico San Juan, singer Vicki Carr and the premier mariachi musicians in the world. Tickets range from $45 to $80, but this event is so family-friendly that children 2 and under are free if they sit on an adult’s lap.
Naturally, attendees at the Tequila Fest will be a bit older. You must be 21 and up to purchase a ticket, priced at $35 per person. The Tequila Fest includes live entertainment, samples of premium, ultra premium and flavored tequilas and the chance to mingle with other tequila aficionados from around the world.
Last year, hundreds of people crowded the lobby of the US Airways Center to sample their favorite blancos (unaged), reposados (aged less than a year) and anejos (aged from one to three years).
And now, it’s confession time. I’m afraid my knowledge of premium tequila brands is limited to a scene from an old Mel Gibson movie, Tequila Sunrise, where Mel and the late, great Raul Julia are knocking back shots of Herradura. (I know it’s Herradura because Mel’s character says so). But never fear: I know how to Google and can tell you that other featured brands will include El Caudillo, Patron and Corazon Azul.
If five hours of tequila tasting on Saturday doesn’t quite hit the spot, there’s a second event on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. As a bonus, you can ride the METRO Light Rail free for up to four hours prior to any US Airways event.