Get your munchies on at upcoming french fry festival in Phoenix

The first Fried French Fry and Music Festival was organized by an ASU alumnus

While french fries are often served as a side dish, they will be front and center at the first Fried French Fry and Music Festival held near ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus.

David Tyda, the organizer of the festival and an ASU alumnus, said that the festival at Margaret T. Hance Park on April 20 offers a fun way to experience "our awesome food scene here in the Valley" through a popular dish that many people enjoy.

"Everybody loves french fries, and this festival will feature some of the most mind-blowing french fry dishes ever created," Tyda said. 

While this is the first year the event will be held, he said he has plenty of experience planning food festivals. Tyda organized the Arizona Taco Festival, Phoenix Pizza Festival and Downtown Donut Festival.

Tyda graduated from ASU in 1998 with a degree in interdisciplinary humanities, and he said his education contributed greatly to his ability to successfully organize popular festivals.

“I use that degree every day because throwing festivals requires me to work with all types of people and businesses and then bring them together for one big idea," he said. "In this case, it’s a french fry festival."

When planning a food festival for the month of April, Tyda said setting the date for April 20 was not random. 

In cannabis culture, 420 references smoking marijuana, and Tyda said he believes holding the event on this day will draw those who crave fried foods while offering a relaxing, family-friendly setting.

"(Fries) being the world’s greatest munchie, in my opinion, it’s sort of a way for us to nod to the date without throwing an all-out 420 festival," he said.

Guests of the festival are encouraged to enjoy their food and drinks on the lawn in a picnic-style setting while listening to an array of music performances.

Alicia Cantrell is the founder and owner of French Me LLC, a french fry food truck that will serve up a comfort-food-styled approach to french fries at the festival.

The food truck's zombie-themed menu includes classic french fries, but also heftier gourmet options like the Zombie Mac and Cheese, which is tater tots covered in macaroni and cheese and sprinkled with optional bacon.

“These festivals really give an opportunity for people that are coming to the event to kind of see all the different food truck varieties that are out there,” Cantrell said.

Tyda said that providing a space for food businesses to reach new audiences is one of his favorite reasons for organizing food festivals. 

With so many variations of loaded fries, he said he believes there will be plenty of options for everyone to try.

"It’s not like you’re just going in and you’re just eating as many french fries as you can, it’s more about the toppings, the dips and the seasoning," he said. "Fries are really the base of all of these different recipes."

For attendees craving something on the sweeter side, Churro Gonutz will be another vendor at the festival, serving crispy customizable churro donuts with toppings to satisfy all tastes, including Oreos, bacon, chocolate and its most popular offering, horchata ice cream with dulce de leche drizzling. 

Christina Zelaya, the owner of Churro Gonutz, said that its food truck doesn't serve plain churros so that it can encourage customers to try different foods.

Zelaya said that the festival will draw a lot of different local food businesses to one place, allowing attendees to get a good survey of the food options around the Valley.

"The culture in Phoenix is so spread out, and so when they are able to come to one spot and try different things all in one location, it just kind of exposes them to what's out there in Phoenix," she said.


Reach the reporter at vahill1@asu.edu or follow @victoriaahill99 on Twitter. 

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