Food events, including Wichita Taco Fest, fill the calendar

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Spring is here, and once the weather warms up, big foodie events in Wichita start popping up on the calendar.

It all starts this weekend with the return of Tacos & Tequila, a new event launched by Xclusive Events last year, and the long-running Mediterranean Festival at St. Mary’s Orthodox Christian Church.

Several big events are also planned for June and July, including the return of Festive ICT’s Wichita Taco Fest, which has been on COVID break for two years.

Use this guide to mark your calendars:

May

Tacos and tequila, noon-9 p.m. Saturday, Wichita Boathouse, 515 S. Wichita: This event, which debuted last year, returns for 2022. Hosted by Xclusive Event Services, a company owned and operated by brother and sister Crystal McDonald’s and Cody Lathrop, the event will feature tacos from more than 20 local restaurants and food trucks as well as tequila served by Xclusive’s liquor truck. Live entertainment and garden games will also be part of the fun, which will take over both inside and outside the Boathouse. Admission is free, although a $30 ticket is required for a separate tequila tasting that will last from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Advance tickets are available at tacosandtequilawichita.com

Mediterranean Festival, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. May 14, St. Mary’s Orthodox Christian Church, 344 S. Martinson: This annual Mediterranean dinner, which returned last year after a year-long hiatus from COVID-19, will again offer dinners take-out and drive-thru, which cost $16 each. People have a choice of a meal of green beans and rice, a kibbee, two stuffed cabbage rolls and a Greek salad or a meal consisting of grilled kafta, a Lebanese chicken kebab and a Greek salad. There’s also a $5 dessert plate option that includes a piece of baklawa, a chocolate baklawa stick, and a Greek cookie. Attendees can also enter the church and place take-out orders and shop at the Mediterranean Market, which will include a selection of pastries, breads, desserts and other items. The church will donate 10% of its net proceeds to the Littlest Heroes of Wichita. For more information, visit facebook.com/medfestict.

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Amber Waves, a Starkey fundraiser in the Delano District, will return to its in-person format this year. T&J Studios

Amber Waves, 6-9 p.m. May 20, West Douglas to Delano: This beer, wine and food tasting event, benefiting Starkey, is back this year and will resume the walking tour format it had before the pandemic. Attendees will be invited to stop at various West Douglas businesses to sample craft beers, wine and food from local restaurants including Carrabba’s, Doma, Freddy’s, The Monarch, 6S Steakhouse and more. Tickets are $60 and are available at AmberWavesICT.com.

Margaritas & Mojitos, 6-10 p.m. May 20, Exploration Place Festival Plaza: FestiveICT, the group responsible for Wichita Taco Fest, is bringing back this event, which it first hosted in 2019. It’s open to ages 21 and older only, and it will feature samples of margaritas and mojitos provided by competing restaurants and bars. Tickets cost $50 in advance and are available at ritasandmojitos.com. They will be $60 on the day of the event.

Asian night market, 6-9 p.m. May 28, Naftzger Park, 601 E. Douglas: The Wichita Asian Association and NAACP Wichita are among the organizations teaming up to host this new event, which will feature food and drink from local restaurants and purchases from Asian sellers. . Games and activities for children will also be set up. Free entry.

June

Decant ICT, 2-5 p.m. June 5, Prairie Hill Vineyard, 3550 N. 215th St. West, Colwich: The Wichita Chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food turns 30 this year, and it will celebrate with this special event. It will include a wine tasting with light appetizers and vendors will also be set up. The event will include a special tasting with wines poured by former AIWF presidents. Tickets are $45 for members, $50 for the public, and an additional $25 for the President’s Room. They are available on aiwfwichita.org.

Fair food and tunes11 a.m. to 10 p.m., June 25, Kansas State Fairgrounds, Hutchinson: This event will feature Kansas State Fair favorites, plus rides on the fairgrounds big slide, a jigsaw puzzle contest and live music, including the semi-finals of a battle of the bands competition called Rock the Fair.

Wichita Taco Festival, 3-9 p.m., June 25, Capital Federal Amphitheater, Andover: Prior to the pandemic, FestiveICT’s Wichita Taco Fest was one of the busiest summer food events in the city. It was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns in 2020, and the organizers also decided to suspend last year as well. But it will return for the first time since 2019, when it happened at the Old Cowtown Museum. This time it’s moving to Andover, and it’ll feature more than 25 local taco vendors serving $2 tacos, fries, salsa and elote. Craft margaritas and beer will also be on sale, and the event will include “Lucha Libre” wrestling and taco, salsa and jalapeno contests. Tickets, available at www.festiveict.com, are $14 in advance, $20 on festival day. A VIP ticket is $40 in advance, $50 at the door. Children 5 and under will be admitted free.

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The Air Capital Bacon, Bourbon & Brews Festival always draws hungry crowds to Park City’s Hartman Arena. Courtesy picture

July

Air Capital Bacon, bourbon and beers, 4-6:30 p.m. July 9, Hartman Arena, 8151 N. Hartman Arena Drive: This annual event for ages 21 and up is back in the books at Hartman Arena and will once again include tastings of over 75 beers, bacon samples prepared by 14 local restaurants and vendors, a bacon eating contest and live entertainment. With a ticket upgrade, people can also attend a bourbon tasting. VIP tickets, which include bourbon tasting, a private BLT bar, and early entry, are $68. General admission tickets are $35. And designated driver tickets, which include bacon samples but no beer, are $20. Get tickets at www.hartmanarena.com

Mimosa Festival, noon, July 24, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., TempleLive, 333 E. First St.: This 21-plus event will feature six flavors of mimosas, food and a DJ spinning tunes. Tickets are $15-$20 in advance at ticketmaster.com or $20 to $50 at the door.

This story was originally published May 9, 2022 10:29 a.m.

Denise Neil has been covering restaurants and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is where diners can get local restaurant information. She is a regular judge at local cooking competitions and speaks to groups all over Wichita about the restaurant business.

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