Phoenix Chili Bourbon Festival Dec 15th-16th

What: Chili Bourbon Festival
Where: Margaret T. Hance Park, 200 E. Moreland St, Phoenix, 85004
When: December 15-16, 2017
Tickets: Click Here
By: Laura Stoddard

Phoenix temperatures are finally starting to dip into what we locals consider “cold weather” territory, and the idea of venturing outside at this time of year may give us pause; however, the Chili Bourbon Festival’s inaugural event promises hot eats and entertainment, and an abundance of bourbon selections to warm you up from the inside out.

The event’s founder Brian Ellsworth, President of Reverie Entertainment Management, is no stranger to managing festivals. “I was one of the guys behind the Ostrich Festival for seven years,” says Brian, “And I also started an event in Glendale three years ago called the West Valley Fair and Music Festival.”

Festival season in Phoenix generally seems to stretch from spring to fall, but Brian wanted to bring something new to the valley. “From that want, I started brainstorming with my friends over at Pride Group about bringing a winter event concept to Margaret T. Hance Park. Something about the idea of chili and bourbon sounded like the perfect wintertime combo.”

And with the help of Pride Group and Prime Time Grill Rojo Hospitality, says Brian, “We have been fortunate enough to make this idea a reality.”

The festival will have a plentiful selection of chili, bourbon, and music. Chef Michael Cansler, of Rojo Hospitality, and his team came up with six unique chili recipes to sample, including traditional cornbread chili, southwestern chicken chili, vegan magic chili and cilantro green pork chili. “The goal for following years,” says Brian, “will be to give local restaurants and caterers the opportunity to showcase their chilis too.”

Bourbon lovers will rejoice at the chance to sample fifteen different varieties, including American traditional bourbons and eclectic brands like Maker’s 46, Adirondack and Larceny Bourbon. If bourbon isn’t your thing, fear not—for beer and craft cocktails will also be on hand.

If you’re still chilly, it’s definitely time to head to the main stage to get your groove on. Rock out to the tunes of local bands like Desert Dixie Trio and Band Wagon, and prepare for things to amp up on Saturday, when country music stars Waterloo Revival and Colt Ford take the stage.

Like any good festival, the Chili Bourbon Festival will have a little something for everyone. Kids can keep warm by engaging in the many games set up around the park; activities such as corn hole, giant soccer pool tables, ladder golf, yard twister, and many more.

VIP tickets are available both days, offering perks like three premium drinks, free food and soft drinks, preferred seating areas, a $10 sampler card, and (possibly the best part), private restroom suites.

Chili. Bourbon. Music. Games. What more could you want? Pull out your scarves, boots and appetite and head to this unique, fun and delicious new event. “This is year one of the festival,” says Brian. “If we are fortunate enough for the public to check out what we are doing and like the event and concept, we will look to do the event in a few more cities in 2018 and make our Phoenix event a mainstay for years to come!”

For tickets and additional info, please visit

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Erik Merkow
Founder and CEO at Az Food & Wine
Erik: a father, writer, entrepreneur, son, photographer, corporate guy, friend, brother, and foodie wine guy

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