With moderate year-round temperatures, miles of beaches, and world class attractions like Legoland and Balboa Park, San Diego is one of the top travel destinations on the West Coast. The city is a haven for food lovers with cutting-edge restaurants like El Chingon and Lionfish Modern Coastal Cuisine. An emerging craft brewing scene has recently erupted, and craft beer fans will love locations like Stone Brewing Company and Mission Brewery. Make the journey to Southern California and find out why San Diego is referred to as America's Finest City.
The San Diego Taco Festival has established itself as one of San Diego’s major culinary events in only two years. It will take place May 20 at Waterfront Park, located on San Diego Bay in the Little Italy Neighborhood. The event is a celebration of San Diego’s food and music, featuring 30 different restaurants specializing in tacos and six major music acts. Notable performers at the event include Vanilla Ice, Mix Master Mike, and Vokab Kompany. Patrons will also be able to watch live wrestling performed by Baja Stars, and a Chihuahua Beauty Pageant and Race. The event donates entry fees from the Chihuahua Beauty Pageant and Race to the Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego, which cares for homeless, abandoned, and injured chihuahuas. We got the chance to interview Tim Young, a representative of the event, to learn more about the festival.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
TY: This is our second San Diego Taco Fest. We built the event from the ground up. We created a partnership between Southport Marketing (my business), Westward Entertainment, and Local Media San Diego. We designed the first Taco Fest with consumers and sponsors in mind.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
TY: We had more than 7,000 people attend in our first year. This year we expect more than 10,000 attendees. The growth has been fun to watch, and we love seeing how many people like our event.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
TY: San Diego Taco Fest is a 21-and-over event due to regulations at the county-owned Waterfront Park. We learned last year that we had a broad range of attendees early in the day (the event is open from 11 am to 10 pm) and then the younger crowd enjoyed the late-night entertainment.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
TY: The variety of entertainment. There are plenty of other Taco Fests in San Diego – mostly three or four-hour events where you pay an entry and tacos are free while they last. These are only about the tacos and lines are very long. We knew this wasn’t the way to go. San Diego Taco Fest is about so much more. We have a great music headliner in Vanilla Ice, and exciting Lucha Libre Wrestling that fans go crazy for. We’ve added Chihuahua Dog Races and a Beauty Pageant this year for some additional entertainment. We also have quarter pipe Pro Skate Demos. And the kicker…30 of San Diego’s best taco restaurants serving up more than 30,000 tacos. We are San Diego’s largest Taco Fest.
RAL: What activities will attendees encounter?
RAL: What will patrons find for dining options?
TY: They’ll find 30 of the best Taco Restaurants in all of San Diego. All will serve a $2 taco and then other special tacos that are served at their restaurants. We also have a VIP area ($125) where you can enjoy complimentary tacos and four drink tickets.
RAL: What is the environment like?
TY: Nothing but fun for everyone! We pride ourselves in a clean environment where people have a good time. Tickets are $25 until April 20; $30 from April 21 to May 19; and $35 at the door on May 20 at Waterfront Park.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
TY: San Diego Taco Fest takes place in Downtown San Diego right on the harbor. There are tons of hotel options within a mile or two including Little Italy, The Gaslamp Quarter, Liberty Station, and of course on the beach if you prefer.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
TY: Yes, but the best part is the benefit for our participating restaurants. They have 10,000 people all in one place, and they keep 100% of their sales. We felt this was important to do while most other taco events keep a cut of their profits. Without the best restaurants participating, you have no event.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
TY: Yes, we have a partnership with the Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego and 100% of the entry fees for the races and beauty pageant go to the charity.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
TY: If you are someone who's interested in seeing what San Diego is all about, we have it all wrapped up in one day. San Diego is world famous for its tacos, and we’re showcasing the best taco restaurants in the city.
For more information about the San Diego Taco Festival, please visit the event website.