Photo courtesy Arizona Hemophilia Association

They may be so commonplace they’re unappreciated, so simple they fail to activate the saliva glands at first sight, but in our book it’s hard to go wrong with chips and salsa.

The humble appetizer standard to Arizona tables will be glorified Saturday, April 27, at My Nana’s Best-Tasting Salsa Challenge at Tempe Beach Park. An annual event that draws thousands, it’s a giant gorge-fest of more than 100 salsas created by restaurants and home cooks, all competing for titles and prizes. About 3,000 pounds of tortilla chips will also be served.

Though the main attraction is shoveling in crispy corn triangles loaded high with tomatoes, onions, cilantro and peppers — and voting for the best — there are other things to see and do. Local bands The Chadwicks and Champagne Tap will perform, and an SRP Funzone for kids will feature all-day access to bounce houses and interactive games for $2. Local bartenders will compete 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in a fun-to-watch contest to make the best margarita.

A food court sponsored by Macayo’s restaurants dishes out Mexican fare to round out your salsa sampling. And if you find a salsa you really love, stay on the lookout; for the first time in the challenge’s 29-year-history, the Grand Champion winner will have their salsa manufactured, packaged and distributed in stores by El Sol Foods.

The entire event is a fundraiser for the Arizona Hemophilia Association, which supports Grand Canyon State residents who suffer from inherited bleeding disorders.

DETAILS >> 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 27. Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway. $15 at the gate, free for children 11 and younger. Discounted tickets ($10) are available in advance at Fry’s or Fry’s Marketplace, and online. Parking is available for $10 at Rio Salado Parkway and Mill Avenue or in the US Airways Garage on Ash Avenue. (602) 955-3947 or

Contact writer: (480) 898-6818 or

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