Food, wine, food and then more food will take center stage at the eighth annual Tucson Culinary Festival.

It kicks off tonight with the World Margarita Championship on the patio of Maynards Market and Kitchen, 400 N. Toole Ave. Tickets are $35.

Friday night is the tony Reserve Tasting, with wines matched to cuisine. It's at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Drive. Tickets are $100 in advance and $125 at the door.

Master mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim leads a program at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St. The hands-on seminar on learning the secrets of classic cocktails costs $50 and is limited to 25 people.

The Grand Tasting starts at 6 p.m. Saturday in Loews' Grand Ballroom with signature dishes from more than 40 local chefs and more than 100 wines and spirits. Tickets are $65 in advance and $75 at the door.

Wrap up the weekend with your family at the Copper Chef Challenge and Barbecue. Tickets cost $25, and it's $10 for kids age 12 and under.

Yes, yes, we know it's Halloween weekend - you can even wear your costume if you'd like.

The four-day event is presented by the Tucson Originals.

For more information, call 954-8803 or go online to

For tickets, call 334-1112.

Jackie Tran is a University of Arizona student who is apprenticing at the Star. Contact him at 573-4128 or at