/ Modified apr 10, 2014 12:03 p.m.

Local Food Festival First of Its Kind in Tucson

Organizer of Viva La Local says event is an opportunity to celebrate locally-produced foods.; he's impressed by positive reaction.

Organizers of the Viva La Local food festival say interest in local, organic foods is on the rise.

Manish Shah, co-executive director of Heirloom Farmers Markets, coordinated the festival which took place last weekend, and it was the first of its kind in the Tucson area.

He said the event was an opportunity to celebrate locally-produced foods, and he’s impressed by the positive reception.

“I feel anytime you have great vendors, lot of good food, great music, great wine and beer –all of it local- then there’s an attraction there,” Shah said.

Shah said the festival came about when the popular St. Philip's Plaza farmers market was bumped due to a special event.

“We were going to have to move our farmers market because of a festival where we normally reside at,” he said. “So, we decided to throw a festival of our own.”

The event featured more than 60 different vendors, restaurants, and nonprofits.

Shah said he’s received many inquiries about when the next Viva La Local festival will take place.

“I would like to let this one settle in before I decide,” he said. “At the early part of the day I said, 'I would never do this again,' but now with everything settling in I think we'll look at doing another one every six months, or certainly every year."

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