A magnificent sunset was the backdrop as a gentle breeze kept thousands of visitors comfortable Saturday night at Maricopa’s annual Salsa Night Market.

The festival combined two of the city’s signature events: the Salsa Festival and the Copa Night Market series, making it one of the largest gatherings in town each year.

Dozens of kiosks of businesses of all descriptions dotted the midway at Copper Sky Park and an array of food trucks kept the large crowd fueled during the festivities.

The highlight, of course, was the signature salsa-making competition. Brian Hay took home the $2,500 top prize as overall winner.

Other winners included:

AMATEUR-MILD — 1, Jeff Smith, $100; 2, Pilar Polanco, $50; 3, Brian Hay, $25.

AMATEUR-HOT — 1, Brian Hay, $100; 2, Xavier Rojas, $50; 3, Jeff Smith, $25.


CITY EMPLOYEE CONTEST — Matt Martinez, $250.

ULTIMATE-MILD — 1, Helen Ford, $1,000; 2, Dylan Lairmore, $500; 3, Lloyda Sarmiento, $250.

ULTIMATE-HOT — 1, Brian Hay, $1,000; 2, Amber Rogalla, $500; 3, Dylan Lairmore, $250.

Families with kids and pets strolled the grounds on a pleasant fall evening that included more than 100 vendors and 14 food trucks.

Musical entertainment was provided by the Santa Cruz Valley Union High School Mariachi, Cuacualti Ballet Folklorico, Ollin Yolitzli Mariachi and Ballet Folklorico, and Zona Libre Band.






  1. I see a lot of kids attended the salsa festival from the pictures. I was planning on attending but the InMaricopa article promoting the Salsa Festival discouraged my family when we read …. “While everyone is welcome. The city is advising that the celebration is geared toward adults. There are no children’s activities. ”

    Bad messaging, poor leadership

    • Many families did bring children — and dogs — but the city was correct: There were no activities geared toward children. It appeared that most of the parents who brought their kids mollified them with snacks and treats. This is something for the city to look at next year. And, yes, clearer messaging would be helpful, too.