Indio To Host 30th Annual International Tamale Festival

Kamari Esquerra

Get your wallets and your appetites ready because the 30th Annual Indio International Tamale Festival is just a few short weeks away! And this year event organizers say it’s bigger and better than ever. 

“The exciting part of this year is we have a lot of food trucks participating,” said Juan Carlos Barajas, Culinary Director of Indio Tamale Festival and Food Truck Operator of Outside The Masa. “We have a lot of non-tamale vendors that are also participating, so it’s such a nice diverse mix of vendors for this year’s Tamale Festival.”

Juan Carlos Barrajas’ famous birria inside out tamales won him three 1st place awards at last year’s Tamale Festival. Now this year, he’s taking his culinary skills behind-the-scenes, hand-selecting tamale vendors from near and far. 

“We have vendors from Los Angeles, from Arizona. We do have a lot of local participants,” said Barajas. “We have a lot of new tamale vendors. And also we have the old school tamale vendors that are also participating, so that’s very exciting. It’s going to be an eclectic mix.”

One of the newer changes is that the world-renowned Tamale Festival will be held right here at Miles Avenue Park in Indio with plenty of space to host hundreds of vendors from right here in the Coachella Valley and around the country. 

The festival will also be extended to a 4-day event kicking off with Mercadito de Noche, a festive night market featuring live entertainment from local Coachella Valley artists.

“Israel’s Arcade – they are like an indie rock band from Coachella, CA. I highly recommend checking them out,” said Rene Contreras, an event organizer for the festival. “Then we have Las Tias who is from Cathedral City. It’s a duo. They sing folklore.”

While there may be more attractions and more activities, it’s the unique, yet classic tamales that have kept crowds coming back for thirty years. 

The Indio International Tamale Festival will be held from Dec. 1 to Dec. 4 adding Thursday and Friday to the lineup.

For more information, visit indiotamalefestival.com.

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