25,000 Tacos Later, Was Taco Fest a Success?
Taco fest descended upon Union Station this weekend. It was full of tacos, margaritas, live music and fun for the whole family. 19 restaurant vendors provided tacos and chips and salsa for the public to try, and it was all topped off with a tequila bar and music by DJ Carbon and Marcobiotics. Wichita Taco Fest’s goal was to provide a fun and safe environment for families and taco lovers of Wichita, all while supporting local businesses.
Due to an enormous response from the community, over 25,000 fresh tacos were served throughout the day. With over 6,500 attendees, Taco Fest was filled with an abundance of eating, drinking and dancing, as well as friendly games, competitions and thousands of free giveaways.
There were several contests such as Best Taco, Best Margarita and Best Salsa where the crowd could participate in the voting. The Best Taco competition featured some of Wichita’s best restaurants, taquerias and food trucks competing amongst each other for a chance to be named Wichita’s Best Taco. Special guests and event attendees were able to select their favorite tacos, and the vendor who received the most votes was Casa Del Charro.
The Best Margarita competition featured some of Wichita’s top restaurants who used their own unique recipes. The winner of the contest was District Taqueria.
Big Lou's Best Salsa competition had food vendors competing amongst each other for a chance to be named Wichita’s Best Salsa. The vendor who received the most votes was 37 West.
Taco Fest received a lot of backlash for the long lines, overcrowdedness and general disorganization. Most people who purchased tickets in advance waited in the same line as everyone else due to poor signage toward the dedicated line for pre-purchased ticket holders. Some decided against waiting and left the event before getting in. Others complained of the food running out before they even made it to the front of the line at the food trucks. It was hot, it was crowded and they were unprepared for such a big turnout. There was also a slight hiccup with health inspectors taking longer than anticipated, causing congestion at the entrance for a short time. However, some people only waited in line for five minutes, the food was replenished after a short wait and tacos were being slung until after 7 p.m.
The organizers of Taco Fest are well aware of what they can do next year to make the event even better, and the planning has already begun. As a first year event, there will be a learning curve and the kinks will need to be worked out. Events like this are great for Wichita as they support local businesses and they provide fun for the whole family. Their vendors, sponsors, volunteers and team made this idea a reality for the community, and with these collaborative efforts, we are transforming our city into a place that welcomes fun events for everyone to enjoy. All in all, the event was a success with an overwhelming turnout. We say Taco Fest 2018 can’t come soon enough!