Tamale and festival lovers everywhere are counting the days before the World’s Largest Tamale Festival once again will bring tasty tamales and family fun to Indio! The Indio International Tamale Festival is coming to Indio in just a few short weeks, and will be held December 2nd and 3rd.
This extravaganza of food and entertainment is held on the streets of Downtown Indio. The Indio International Tamale Festival has grown from a half-day event that drew 2,500 people to an event that now attracts over 125,000 indulging in more than 300,000 tamales! Many of the vendors are local non-profit organizations that represent churches and school groups as well as restaurants and renowned chefs.
Approximately 80 tamale vendors sell all types of tamales – from traditional and gourmet to dessert tamales such as strawberry, chocolate, date and raisin. There are another 150 vendors selling a variety of arts, crafts, and other holiday merchandise. The event kicks off Saturday with a festive parade at 10:00 a.m.
Activities and entertainment include a carnival, a car show, rides, rock climbing, a ‘Best Tamales’ Competition with trophies in several categories, a salsa dancing contest and a tamale-eating contest. There is continuous music and dance throughout the festival on four different stages. A variety of acts are featured that include local and professional dancers, singers, and musicians.
The festival holds two Guinness World Records. In 1999, Chef John Sedlar prepared the World’s Largest Tamale – which measured one foot in diameter and 40 feet in length. In 2000, a second record was set when Guinness recognized the festival as the World’s Largest Tamale Festival. The Food Network’s “All American Food Festivals” also selected the Tamale Festival as one of the top 10 food festivals in the nation.
Admission, parking and entertainment are all free! Parking is available on streets surrounding downtown, various lots in the area and also at the Larson Justice Center where a free shuttle is available. For more information on the festival and all it has to offer, go to http://www.tamalefestival.net/