As Parada del Sol celebrates its 66th anniversary, Wasted Grain has stepped in as both a participating venue and hometown sponsor to host a slew of pre- and post-parade events, including a pub crawl
“It has been fantastic to work with them as they have come up with creative new ideas, like the pub crawl, as the last entry in the parade,” said Parada President Wendy Springborn.
Called the Scottsdale Stampede, the pub crawl will start at Wasted Grain for a morning of breakfast and beers. Attendees – who are encouraged to dress in their best, family appropriate Western garb – will then line up to walk as official participants in the Parada del Sol parade down Scottsdale Road to Trail’s End Festival.
The four-hour Trail’s End Festival includes three stages for live music, a tailgate area, a kids corral and a Western village. Scottsdale Stampede participants can redeem beer tickets here, as well.
Participants then head to Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers and back to Wasted Grain for the official after party, a parade dance, where Georgia Chrome and Rock Lobster will perform.
Stops on the crawl include a mimosa tent at the Bubble Room, located just above Wasted Grain, a beer tent and a Chaco Flaco-sponsored cocktail tent.
For Johnson, the pub crawl serves two functions: It attracts a younger demographic to the parade and bolsters attendance to Parada.
“It puts it in front of some younger people and gets them to appreciate the value of not only the [Parada] itself, but the party that goes along with it,” he said.
Tickets to Scottsdale Stampede are $25 and include a commemorative boot beer mug, four beer tickets, admission to the Trail’s End Festival and the pre- and post-party event at Wasted Grain.
A portion of the tickets sold will benefit the Parada Del Sol, Inc., the nonprofit organization that currently operates the parade and Trail’s End Festival.
Parada Del Sol, Inc. was formed in 2008 by several members of the Scottsdale Jaycees, the organization that previously operated the festival until the event became too large for them to manage.
“Wasted Grain is the perfect fit for the Scottsdale Parada because the owner, Jason [Johnson], is enthusiastic and creative in creating events that will help us develop some new revenue for this event,” Springborn said.
Wasted Grain will also donate 5 percent of its sales throughout the week back to Parada Del Sol, Inc.
Drink specials include $3 Dos Equis on Feb. 6, $4 Deep Eddy’s cocktails on Feb. 7, $5 margaritas on Feb. 8, $6 mules and Parada punch on Feb. 9, and $3 mimosas and $20 bottles of champagne on Feb. 10.
Wasted Grain will also extend its happy hour and all food and drink specials associated with it to 9 p.m. from Feb. 6-8.
“We’re hoping to give this whole thing a new facet and build off of it and be part of it for years to come,” Johnson said.
Leading up to the parade, Wasted Grain will host themed nights – like “Wild West Wednesday” and “Denim and Diamonds Dance” on Friday – with live performances by local musicians, including Mogollon, the Raun Alosi Band and Plush.
“We wanted to keep it consistent with the theme of the Parada,” Johnson said. “Everything we do is geared toward the history of the event. It’s all fun – a little bit rock, a little bit Western.”
Wasted Grain’s location was prime real estate, as well, as the restaurant and bar is located at the beginning of the parade, making it an ideal place for announcers, judges and VIPs to gather the morning of.
“Parada has never really had a ground zero before, so we’re trying to give it a staging area, starting point and finish point and give it a new look,” Johnson said.
For Johnson, Wasted Grain’s involvement in the Parada del Sol is a personal one.
Johnson grew up in Scottsdale and has lived here since 1997.
He worked his way up from bar back to manager in multiple bars, and when it came time to open Wasted Grain, his business partner and friend, Michael Stravers, was killed in an auto accident in 2017.
Johnson re-opened Wasted Grain in September 2018, after a $500K renovation, in Stravers’ honor.
Wasted Grain’s involvement in Parada is another way for Johnson to commemorate his friend.
“The Parada del Sol was something we always went to,” Johnson said. “We always took time off to go be a part of it and see all the people and have a good time with it. It was always a good time as far as seeing everybody come together to support the community.”