For more than 15 years, Local First Arizona has been dedicated to supporting locally owned businesses across the state. The organization’s latest venture is FLAVOR, a food and wine festival in Flagstaff; the inaugural edition of the festival is Saturday, September 14, from 1 to 7 p.m. Kendall Jones, Local First Arizona’s business and media relations manager, talked with us about the organization and this exciting new event.

Since some of our readers may not be familiar with it, tell us a little about Local First Arizona.
We’ve been around since 2003, and our mission is to support local economies across the state. We believe in vibrant communities, and we work with local businesses and local communities to help them come together and support each other. The organization was founded by Kimber Lanning, who owns the Modified Arts gallery and Stinkweeds record store in Phoenix. She was seeing a lot of young, talented people leaving the state because of a lack of opportunity, and she wanted to help connect more people to their home in Arizona. Local First Arizona started with a few dozen local businesses, and it’s now the largest coalition of those businesses in the state, with offices in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff.

How did FLAVOR come together?
One of our newest staff members came from the Arboretum at Flagstaff, and she had a wine festival that she did there. We realized we had an opportunity to add to the food and wine festivals we already do, which are DEVOUR, in Phoenix, and SAVOR, in Tucson. We want FLAVOR to be a showcase of local vintners, chefs and restaurants. We’re co-hosting the event with Over the Rainbow Butterfly Garden, and the location is Warner’s Nursery in Flagstaff. The event is sponsored by AZ Central Credit Union, with additional support from Melissa Cripps State Farm, Majestic Mobil, and Renewal by Andersen.

What can attendees do at the festival?
In addition to trying food and wines from local restaurants and wineries, they can wander through the wonderful nursery and just enjoy this beautiful setting. We’ll have live music and entertainment throughout the day, so people can enjoy this sensory experience. Everyone gets a commemorative wine glass and a water bottle as keepsakes, and we also are partnering with Mountain Line to offer free bus rides for each of our guests, so they can enjoy the event responsibly.

Where can people get tickets?
They can visit to buy general admission tickets, and they'll also be available at the festival.

To learn more about Local First Arizona, visit the group’s website.