Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Agave Heritage Festival

Agave Festival Logo
All activities are free with Museum admission
Sunday, May 6, 2018

Fibers, Tequila and Fun —
All about Agaves!

Activities will be conducted by Jesús García
Sunday, May 6 at 10:00 a.m. in the People & Pollinator Garden

Today, basic survival for most of us means regular trips to the supermarket. But imagine living in the Sonoran Desert five hundred years ago. Everything you needed came from right here. This program explores local resources, with a special focus on Agaves that native peoples of the Sonoran Desert region have traditionally used for food, beverage, medicines, fibers, and more. Visitors will experiment with ethnobotanical materials to make their own cordage, learn about agave beverages and so much more!

Making rope from agave fibers
Photo: Dena Cowan

Agave Garden Tours

Sunday, May 6 at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

Enjoy a tour of the Agave Garden from Desert Museum horticulturist Jason Wiley, and learn what it took to create one of the best agave gardens in the country and the care it needs to keep it thriving. The Museum’s Agave Garden collection is nationally accredited by the American Public Gardens Association and showcased in an all new setting. Docents will also have a kit interpreting the different ethnobotanical uses of this amazing multi-use plant.

View of Agave Garden
Photo: ASDM/Jason Wiley
View of Agave Garden
Photo: ASDM/Jason Wiley

Rare Collectable Agaves for Southwest Landscape & Container Gardners

Rare and collectable agaves will be for sale
from Greg Starr at the Desert Garden
Sunday, May 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Interest in Agaves is surging for many reasons, not the least of which is their use in landscape gardening. These plants are big, bold, architectural and charismatic. Their form is evergreen and the range of shape and habit is intriguing. The interest they add to the garden is year round. Their flower stalks are majestic and the blooming periods prolonged. Plenty of agaves are cold hardy and can survive wet conditions if the drainage is good, but all are drought tolerant. These native plants offer a strong regional look when used in western gardens. The resurgence in Agave interest has resulted in many previously unavailable species making it into horticultural circles, and into the market.

Book cover: Agaves Living sculptures for landscapes and containers, by Greg Starr

Container Gardening with Succulents, including Agaves

Sunday, May 6 from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m.
Warden Oasis Theater

Greg Starr will provide an introductory presentation focused on the magnificent Agave with a special focus on gardening. You will learn basic botany 101, landscape and cultural tips to help you identify and choose plants for both decorative containers to your complete backyard landscape. Greg's many years of experience will guide you with finding the agave that is right for you!


Magueyes y Mezcales of the Sonoran Desert--A Hands-on Approach to the Revival of Agave Heritage in the Tucson Basin

Sunday, May 6 from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m.
With Jesús García in the Warden Oasis Theater

For centuries many types of agaves have been used by the peoples of the Americas. In southern Mexico they call it "El Árbol de las Maravillas," the Tree of Wonders. In this presentation we will cover the basics of agave uses, from food, fiber, and fermented drinks, to fashion and fabulous spirits! Mezcal, Tequila, Raicilla, Bacanora, Sotol? Which is which?

The multiple uses of agave in the Sonoran Desert are no exception. Starting with a personal perspective, we will explore the history and importance of agaves in Sonora and Arizona. This will also serve as an introduction to the revival of agave use and its heritage in the Tucson area. How does the Sonoran Desert measure up with Jalisco and Oaxaca, the major producers of Mezcal in Mexico?

¡Para todo mal mezcal, y para todo bien también!