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Scottsdale Culinary Festival takes tasting to another level this weekend

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PHOENIX –One of the longest-running fests of its kind in the country, the popular Scottsdale Culinary Festival returns for its 39th anniversary this weekend.

The festival serves as a fundraiser for the Scottsdale League of Arts and local culinary interests.

The event runs Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

The festival made a notable change this year, opening up a spot on the judges’ panel to an Arizona foodie.

A woman named Sandra came away with the prize. The self-professed “extreme foodie” has tried things such tidbits as kangaroo and rattlesnake. She was one of three to make the final round.

Sandra will also receive a prize package valued at $1,000 with two VIP passes to the festival Saturday, a one-night stay at the Saguaro Hotel and a chance to tour some of the state’s best restaurants and taste every dish.

Some of the restaurants that will be featured are Spinato’s Pizzeria, Garcia’s, Lulu’s Sorbetto and Squid Ink.

The festival website lists all of the restaurants that will be represented and those that will serve vegan and gluten-free options.

General admission for the Scottsdale Culinary Festival is $12 if purchased online and $15 at the door.