Tamale Festival cookin’ up this weekend

I love tamales.

And yet, I’ve never been to Indio’s International Tamale Festival.

The free festival, which began in 1992, celebrates all things tamale. There’s a tamale eating contest, a “best tamale” competition, entertainment on four stages, a holiday parade, carnival rides and games, and best of all…thousands of delicious tamales in every flavor imaginable!

They’ve even set a couple of Guinness World Records at the festival. In 1999, the world’s largest tamale — over a foot in diameter and 40 feet in length — was constructed. In 2000, they set the record for the world’s largest tamale festival, with 120,000 in attendance.

The 2006 Guinness book declared the event to be “the world’s largest cooking and culinary festival.”

The Food Network has included the event in its list of top 10 “All-American Food Festivals.”

This year, I’ve finally decided to take the drive out to the desert to take part in the festivities.

If you would like to also join in the fun, the festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow (December 5) and Sunday (December 6). It all takes place in downtown Indio, between Highway 111 and Indio Boulevard, along Miles Avenue, Towne Street, Smurr Street and Requa Avenue.

Free parking (with a free shuttle to the festival) is available at the Larson Justice Center on the corner of Highway 111 and Oasis Street.

Hope to see you there!

Visit the festival’s Web site for more information.