With dozens of foods competing for attention at the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, the real challenge for Dottie Goodman was picking just a few to sample.
She had only tried a rice dish and Krispy Kreme doughnuts when she sat on a shaded lawn to ponder what she’d eat during the next five hours she planned to spend at the festival.
The vendor booths were an important part of her decision.
"The way which the display is and the behavior of the way they serve the food and their cleanliness, all of that comes into play," Goodman said.
The festival was expected to draw 23,000 a day, said Susan Crawford, promotions manager for the Scottsdale League of the Arts.
The Great Arizona Picnic, one of several events that make up the festival, featured more than 50 vendors and offered numerous samplings to warm or cool the palate. From sugary wonton s’mores and greasy sliders to mango margaritas, there was no lack of variety.
Goodman hoped to hit the Red Fish booth for some halibut and get some ice cream from the Spirit Ice Cream Company before the evening ended.
This was her seventh festival, and she planned to attend again today, she said.
"I get to know pretty much who is in and who is not," the 64-year-old retired nanny said.
Nearby sitting on a bench, Glendale residents Jessica Poirier and Lindsey Obradovich dug into take-out boxes of fried rice and Mandarin orange chicken from the Bamboo Club.
The 22-year-olds were looking to polish off their meals with dessert afterward — chocolate fondue with strawberries and make-your-own sundaes were possibilities.
"The snow cones sound good," Obradovich added.
Cameron Artigue, 42, of Scottsdale, worked on a small plate of rum cake after already trying tacos and a pork sandwich. "I have no complaints about the food," he said. But he did have one qualm. "I wish it was 10 degrees cooler."