David Tyda contends that Phoenix is a top city for pizza.
“I say to people that I believe Phoenix is the pizza capital of the U.S. and I wait for them to slap me across the face,” says Tyda, the co-manager of Phoenix Festivals.
“But it’s so crazy how many different styles of pizza are represented here, and the people doing those styles are masters at it. We have such good pizza here in town, so we should celebrate it.”
Tyda is bringing the family-friendly Phoenix Pizza Festival back to Downtown Phoenix’s Margaret T. Hance Park Saturday, November 12, and Sunday, November 13.
About 20 pizza vendors are expected. They include Bored Baker Pizza Maker, Copper State Pizza, Fabio, Floridino’s Pizza Muffins, Hot Daisy Pizza, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Road Running Wood Fired Pizza and Zombie Bones.
Last year, the pizza festival had a record-setting 8,000 attendees, and this year they are hoping to see returning and new faces in the crowd. Tickets for the event are $16 and must be purchased in advance.
Pizza slices are $3 to $6, and vendors keep that. The event benefits Downtown Phoenix Inc.
“The festival is a great way to support small, local businesses,” Tyda says. “They set their own prices and try to keep them competitive as possible. So, you’ll see slices as low as $3. Then you’ll get a big New York slice that might be loaded up for $6.
“It’s pretty affordable because you pay as you go. Some of these other festivals that are all-inclusive are at a higher-priced ticket. Our festival puts the spending in the attendee’s hand. So, if somebody doesn’t want to spend much and just have a day at the park, then they can do that. But somebody who wants to gorge themselves on pizza and have a bunch of drinks and then Uber home, they can do that, too.”
In addition to having the pizza vendors, there will be dessert booths from the likes of Cactus Corn, Phoenix Phreeze Hawaiian Shave Ice, Berry Kabobs and Udder Delights Ice Cream.
Huss Brewing, New Belgium beer, Bogle wines and Mule 2.0 cocktails in a can will offer their beverages.
Musicians will provide the soundtrack. Tyda’s partner in Phoenix Festivals, Lisa Duffield, curated the lineup, which includes Mississippi Nova, Jane N’ The Jungle, Gus D’ Wynns & the Breakers, and The Lonesome Wilderness.
“Lisa is a local music scene fan, and she really keeps tabs on who’s hot and she pays attention to putting together a really good music lineup for our live music stage,” Tyda says. “I wouldn’t call it a local music festival, but we pay a lot of attention to the lineup and make sure that we’ve highlighted up-and-coming local talent.”
There will also be plenty of lawn games for kids and adults to play while eating pizza.
“We have large-scale lawn games that are produced by this company called AZ Board Source, and they bring out cornhole sets and giant Jenga and giant Connect Four,” Tyda says.
Phoenix Pizza Festival
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, November 12, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, November 13
WHERE: Margaret T. Hance Park, 1202 N. Third Street, Phoenix
COST: $16 in advance only
INFO: 480-442-9176, phoenix.pizza