Sunday, June 10, 2012

Indio, CA: Indio International Tamale Festival

indio tamale festival
If you like spicy food, passionate dancing, and friendly people consider taking in the annual Indio International Tamale Festival on your next trip to Palm Springs and the California desert resort communities.

This past season when I was visiting the Coachella Valley I took my young bride for an evening of food and salsa dancing at the most recent version of the Tamale Festival. This is a fantastic enjoyable event that is held in December each year. Not only does the festival kick off the holiday season, it also brings an entire community together which include the 'snowbirds who come down to the desert to escape the bitter cold.

Started in 1992, the Tamale Festival is a celebration of the rich history and the spicy legacy of the tamale. It combines a host of activities that are presented to go along with a variety of food options centered around the tamale. The popularity of the Indio International Tamale Festival continues to rise year after year and has gained national attention. Just recently the Food Network-TV broadcasted to over 70 million viewers a daily picture of the festival. It even went so far as to rank Indio's International Tamale Festival in the Top 10 of "All American Food Festivals" in the nation. Other recognition includes setting two Guinness World Records - one for the World's largest Tamale and the other for the World's largest tamale festival with 120,000 in attendance back in 2000.

We arrived by car and found the grounds easy to get to as both parking and shuttle service are free, which provides a great help and excellent access to the festival. The gathering took place in downtown Indio, between Highway 111 and Indio Blvd and filled up the streets of Miles, Towne, Smurr & Requa. The weather hovered around the mid to high 70's in the day and then dropped into the 40's when the evening arrived. The festivities always take place in the first weekend of December and begin at 10 a.m. in the morning until 6 p.m.on both Saturday and Sunday.

indio international tamale festival
Along with a number of delicious tamale dishes, the festival also provides shopping at a large selection of vendors who display the Mexican heritage along with the modern items. If shopping wasn't your thing, then the activities are sure to be enjoyed as I did. There are carnival rides and games that allow for prizes to be won. There is a kid's petting zoo that can even bring the child out of the adult with a diverse number of animals to come in contact with. I got my exercise on the Rock Climbing and Inflatable Bounces exhibits that are sure to bring a smile as well as a few gasps.

When it came time to settle in and enjoy the sights, then it was time to take in the parade as well as the all too popular Tamale Eating Contest along with the famous Tamale Judging contest. Festival fans also have the option to relax and watch the diverse entertainment the festival provides that includes traditional Mexican Folklorico Dancing as well as live music on four different stages; the Fiesta Stage, The Amigo Stage, The Mariachi Stage, and the Community Stage.

All - in - all the Tamale Festival is a great way to spend some time on your next trip to Palm Springs and the California desert resort cities.

Indio Tamale Festival
Every December

City of Indio - Special Events Office
Phone: (760) 391-4175

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