Click here for updates on the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation at the University of Arizona


Tucson Festival of Books offers smorgasbord of eats

Rebecca Noble | The Daily Wildcat

Kate Keelen and Nick Breckenfeld prepare cotton candy at Fluff it Up, an organic cotton candy stand at the Tucson Festival of Books on the UA mall in 2014. The festival generates millions of dollars for the local Tucson economy.

The Tucson Festival of Books, which will be March 2-3 on the University of Arizona Mall, has more to offer than just authors and books. There will be 24 different food vendors not affiliated with the UA at the festival, offering food from all ends of the spectrum, including BBQ, sandwiches, gelato, kettle corn and tamales.

According to April Ramos, one of the food and beverage co-chairs for the Festival of Books, there will also be other vendors that are UA food vendors. 

“I think there’s four U of A vendors,” Ramos said.

The Festival of Books has been going on since 2009, and most of the food vendors that will be attending the festival this year have been part of the festival since then. 


“Almost every single vendor has been an original," Ramos said. "This will be their 11th year back."

The vendors become a part of the festival by filling out an application that is made available to them by August.  

"It is such a popular event that there’s a waiting list for food vendors to get in," Ramos said.

          RELATED: The Tucson Festival of Books: Brought to you by thousands

Ramos said that the selection for who will present their wares at the Festival of Books is based off of the menu that the vendors submit in their application.

The food vendors submit their applications through the Festival of Books website, which includes sending their potential menu for the event, and they find out in September whether or not they were been accepted to vend food at the festival.

Ramos said that they lost one of their original vendors for this year, a kettle corn company.

“Even though we lost kettle corn, we didn’t replace that person with another kettle corn vendor,” Ramos said, “We replaced that person with a company called Hot Bamboo, which makes Hawaiian dough balls or something that sounded really unique, and so we’re giving them a try.”

Joe Speers, the general manager of Beyond Bread, said Beyond Bread began serving at the Festival of Books from the very beginning. 

“For me, what I would get, since it has the most going on is the chicken pesto.” Speers said about what item on the Festival of Books menu he would get. 

With 28 food vendors, no one attending the Festival of Books should be going home hungry.

The vendors present at the Festival of Books will be: 

Follow Shannon Sneath on Twitter

Share this article

UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (11/24)
1,344 22 1.6%
Total (8/2)
60,367 957 1.6%
Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from
Updated November 24, 2021