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A slice of life: Festival at balloon museum will feature 25 pizza vendors, beer and wine

Stephen Segura’s love of pizza inspired him to create Viva Pizza Fest.

“I’ve had the idea brewing for a few years, where you see the Macaroni and Cheese Festival, which is so great, and a lot of these taco and beer festivals, and I love tacos, but you know what? My first love is pizza. I’ve done the taco fest in a few different markets, and it was a lot of fun doing it, but I’m just like there has never been a pizza fest in Albuquerque, but I am also very involved in the music scene so more so than just a pizza fest, I really want a genuine cool concert with first-class sound that will really rock the party, and also let’s keep this thing family-friendly, and I think with those ingredients, we have just a cool concept.”

Viva Pizza Fest on May 19 at the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum will feature about 25 pizza vendors, including da Vinci’s Gourmet Pizza, Richie B’s Pizza, Pizzeria Luca, Adoughbe Pizza and Pizza 9.

“What we’re trying to do is bring out a lot of these local guys that don’t have multiple locations and might not have that exposure like a Dion’s,” Segura said. “Like if I went, I would be gunning for the places that I am not eating out at once a week, and it would just be trying out five to six different places that I’ve never heard of.”

The ticket price will get guests into the event. Patrons can then purchase sample tickets, which will be exchanged at each vendor for pizza samples.

“Our samples are going to be a decent portion,” Segura said. “They’re going to be a half slice of a pizza, so they’re not going to be super-small. We really wanted to give everybody a good flavor and let them get a chance to have a good portion of the crust, so we didn’t want to chop them up too small.”

Several local breweries and wineries will have their craft beer and wines available for purchase, including Bosque Brewing Co., Marble Brewery, Tractor Brewing Co., Santa Fe Brewing Co., Casa Rondeña Winery, Gruet Winery, Sheehan Winery, Vara Wines, and Vivác Winery.

The event also will feature performances by local bands including cover band Yacht Rock Hustle. There also will be art-making activities and outdoor games such as giant bowling, giant chess, and a sandbag toss.

“(Yacht Rock Hustle has) really been coming up in the Albuquerque scene, Segura said. “It’s just the kind of energy we want to for an outdoor summer-like atmosphere where you can from the teenager all the way up to the grandmother everybody shaking their hips, and there’s also a comedic element too.”