Tucson, we've got a problem: Not one person in this tamale-crazy town signed up for the World Tamale Eating Championship in Lewisville, Texas, and some guy from Minnesota won. That's right. Minnesota. Noshing knows the next tamale-eating titleholder is out there, and we'll be looking for him or her at the tamale-eating contest at the Southern Arizona Food, Art and Wine Festival at Rillito Raceway Park (River Road and First Avenue) on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17 and 18. Pizza-crust-tossing, fruit-carving, mixed-drink and pumpkin-carving competitions are also scheduled. Call 797-3959, ext. 8, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to sign up for an event. Visit saaca.org for more info.
Two upcoming events offer opportunities to tip a glass for local animals: The Wines and Felines event from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2, at Pastiche Modern Eatery (3025 N. Campbell Ave.), offers tastings of several wines for $25 to benefit the Hermitage Cat Shelter; 571-7839. The Art and Wine for the Weimaraners event from 3 to 6 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 4, at Gallery 801 (801 N. Main Ave.), features wines from Mutt Lynch Winery, music by Cinder Bridge and Kevin McCalix, and animal-themed art by Carolyn Anne Anderson for a $5 donation to Arizona Weimaraner Rescue; 370-1610.
Bust out the lederhosen and oom-pah-pah down to Tucson Oktoberfest at Hi Corbett Field (3400 E. Camino Campestre, Reid Park) from Thursday, Oct. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 4. Featured beers will be St. Pauli Girl and New Belgium Hoptober Golden Ale; food includes sausages, strudel, corned-beef sandwiches and turkey legs. Admission is $3; 12 and younger get in free; www.tucsonoktoberfest.org.
The new Red Velvet Cupcakery at 943 E. University Blvd., Suite 165, is the sweetest thing to hit Main Gate Square in some time. A sign says each cupcake "seduces you from first bite to last crumb," and after a look at the decadent selections, we don't doubt it one bit; 829-7780.
Next door, on the corner of University Boulevard and Park Avenue, is Wilko, which will open this month after a lengthy renovation. Their former claim to fame was organic and locally roasted espresso, but upon reopening, they'll have a wine bar, beer on tap and a full menu; wilkotucson.com.