Was Taco Fest A "Taco Fail" The Second Time Around?
Taco Fest made it's debut last year, in June of 2017. Long wait times, food shortages and inadequate venue space plagued the festivals first showing.
How did Taco Fest do the second time around? Let me tell you about my experience at the event.
I arrived and found parking by 3:05 p.m. The line to get in wrapped around the front of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium and into the parking lot of the Metropolitan Baptist Church behind the outfield. Despite the length of the line, entrance appeared to go smoothly. The line was usually moving forward and I was in the actual event by a little after 3:30.
I didn’t go to Taco Fest last year, but I heard about the problems the event experienced in its inaugural year. Event organizers learned from last year’s overcrowded event and changed venues. Lawrence-Dumont Stadium provided much more space than Union Station did in 2017. This year there was plenty of room to walk around and for lines to form without bumping into other vendors.
What was really cool about the event is that all the vendors are local. And the Wichita area offers every type of taco, from the completely authentic and traditional to some crazy combinations, like Philly cheesesteak and hot dog tacos. Plus there were also chips with every kind of salsa, taquitos and other Mexican food favorites. Additionally, some vendors sold shaved ice and other treats that offered a nice variety.
While the lines at vendors may have been long at times, the wait was worth it. The lines were particularly long for beverages, but if you just wanted water or soft drinks, carts were available towards the center of the field. I think this is a great idea that certainly helped line congestion.
With all that being said, I still think that Taco Fest can do better next year. Here are my suggestions:
Have more areas of shade. The event took place in an open area where the heat from the sun was further reflected by the artificial turf. People resorted to going up into the stadium seating, away from all the vendors and activities, to get out of the heat. A larger tent with some tables and chairs underneath towards the center of the field would have worked great.
Have more tables or places to sit and eat. There weren’t enough for the number of people who attended Taco Fest.
Have more misters, or at least a bigger one. Misters are an amazing way to cool off at outdoor events and there was only a small one.
Make your event map more specific. Let the people know which vendors are where so that they can be sure to stop by their favorites.
Go green if you can. It would be nice to have some kind of recycling or composting option so that the event does not create so much waste.
It may sound like a long list of improvements, but overall, the organizers at FestiveICT are on to something here. Taco Fest was a well-rounded event with amazing food, great drinks, live music from Making Movies, competitions, lawn games and activities for kids like face painting and caricature drawings. I enjoyed attending it and, from my observation, almost everyone else did, too.