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Arizona Taco Festival: a Recap of Saturday, a Preview for Sunday

Chicken tacos from La Hacienda at the Arizona Taco Festival
Chicken tacos from La Hacienda at the Arizona Taco Festival
Katie Johnson

Take note taco-lovers - the Third Annual Arizona Taco Festival is happening this weekend at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and for those of you that missed the opening day on Saturday, here's a recap of what you missed and what to expect if you make it out on Sunday.

See Also: -Third Annual Arizona Taco Festival at Salt River Fields (Slideshow) -Wait 'Til You See the Final Celebrity Baker Lineup for Pie Social 2012! -Eating the Arizona State Fair: Red Velvet Funnel Cake, Gigantic Ribs, Pineapple Lemonade -- and the Hunt for the Cap'n Crunch Hamburger

Since the Arizona Taco Festival started in 2010 (originally taking place at a dirt lot outside Fashion Square mall) it has grown exponentially, requiring a larger venue to accommodate a much larger crowd. Festival planners as well as 50 plus vendors did their damnedest to keep lines at a minimum, and to their credit, they were pretty successful - minus a few exceptions.

Arizona Taco Festival October 20-21 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
Arizona Taco Festival October 20-21 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
Katie Johnson

Despite having multiple tents for booze, (they offer a selection of domestic and import beers as well as Jose Cuervo margaritas that do not mess around) it seems that people should never underestimate festival-goers' undying love for getting their drink on.

There were also two distinct lines forming in the food arena, one for The Mission and one for Distrito- but those two poster children aside, all food vendors were fair and easy game.

In fact there were quite a few gems with absolutely no wait whatsoever: La Hacienda, Chelsea's Kitchen, and El Santo (the masterminds who had girls serving tacos in bikinis- well played El Santo, well played).

Another thing that kept the lines running smoothly -- tickets. After paying the $12 entrance fee ($100 if you prefer the VIP treatment) tickets are the main form of currency and can be purchased with cash only (the event is well stocked with ATMs).

Tickets are $2 a piece with one ticket getting you a taco, two tickets getting you menu items that are slightly more substantial, and three tickets getting you the booze of your choice.

 

Lucha libre wrestling at the Arizona Taco Festival
Lucha libre wrestling at the Arizona Taco Festival
Katie Johnson

They also have a booth inside the venue for purchasing souvenirs and novelty items such as oversized/undersized sombreros, and fake mustaches that stick to your face. Everyone and their Caucasian cousin were wearing them, along with a number of ponchos. Take away what you will with that one.

A nice bonus to the event is the entertainment, which is absolutely free; and while live music has become a staple at any outdoor festival, lucha libre wrestling with little people is not something you see everyday. In the center of the venue a few modest bleachers surround a ring where masked Mexican wrestlers, big and small, back-flip, body slam, and occasionally shimmy for the crowd at various intervals throughout the day, making that initial $12 entrance feel totally worth it.

So if $2 tacos, Jose Cuervo margaritas, and little people clad in colorful bodysuits appeal to you, then you best get over to Talking Stick Fields on Sunday between 11am and 7pm for the final day of the 3rd annual Arizona Taco Festival. Parking is free, and bringing a water bottle from home is advised (we didn't see too many being passed around).

Purchase tickets at the door or in advance by visiting the Arizona Taco Festival online.

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