My taco work involves more than reviewing tacos and taquerias. It’s more than documenting history and diversity. My work includes championing the taco operations that deserve support. This is has largely taken the form of co-hosting or curating taco festivals. It began with 2013’s North Texas Taco Festival in Deep Ellum and the taco truck and beer fiesta TacoCon Cerveza at Four Corners Brewing Company. I have since been involved in more events at Four Corners, including Taco Night and a Taco Talk presented by Slow Food Dallas. Most importantly I partnered with Sonar Management/Kirtland Records to curate the taco and music festival ¡Taco Libre Dallas!
Now in its third year, ¡Taco Libre!, has set to expand to Austin, Sunday, May 14. That’s Mother’s Day—and what better way to celebrate mama than with tacos, tacos, tacos? More about Taco Libre Austin later.
Taco Libre joins a series of taco parties from South Carolina to New Orleans, and beyond. Here’s a bunch.
Arizona Taco Festival
Perhaps the largest and most important celebration of tacos nationwide, this annual Scottsdale happening welcomes more than 40 taco vendors slanging two-dollar parcels for all taco lovers—with plenty of tequila, luchadores, eating contests and Chihuahuas to boot. www.aztacofestival.com
Taco Libre Dallas
Although there are older and bigger taco festivals, none is more important to me than Taco Libre Dallas. It should be; since 2015 I have curated the taco vendor lineup that has brought the finest taquerias to thousands of festival attendees. Tortilla-slinging vendors have included the Fort Worth standard-bearer Revolver Taco Lounge, nationally renowned Trompo, breakfast taco king Tacodeli, neighborhood linchpin El Padrino, and so many more. This year, the festival is going down, Saturday, April 29, at the Shed at the Dallas Farmers Market. Partially covered, the event will have protection from the elements, space for taco trucks, and more vendors. Several new taquerias have joined the lineup too. OMG Tacos, Maskaras Mexican Grill, and Tacos La Vecindad are just a few of them. And then of course there are the luchadores! Get your tickets now. They are bound to sell out as they do every year. www.tacolibrefest.com
Taco Libre Austin
Two weeks after Taco Libre Dallas, the festival will holds its first edition is Austin. Expect luchadores, Papalote Taco House, Vaquero Taquero, Dallas’ Trompo, and more, Sunday, May 14. Can you think of a better way to celebrate Mother’s Day that at an Austin taco fiesta? www.tacolibrefest.com
Top Taco Nola
The last several years have seen a spike in taco options in New Orleans, and the Crescent City is finally ready for a taco festival of its own. Top Taco Nola will feature tacos from an incredible range of NOLA taco and non-taco shops, including Johnny Sanchez, Araña, Cochon Butcher, Del Fuego, Jacques Imo’s, and Los Jefes. There’s a killer VIP package, with a couple of contests too. I’ll be one of the judges. So snatch up a ticket, and come say hi. www.toptaconola.com
Tacos N Tequila
Greenville, South Carolina, is developing into a small but impressive taco town, joining other Southern cities in the status of minor taco destination. This is a good thing. I want to see more of this. You can see more of it at the Tacos N Tequila, going down April 9. Local favorites, Willy Taco, Papi’s Tacos, and Tipsy Taco will be among the participating restaurants. Word is tickets are going fast. Go get yours. www.tacotequilafiesta.com
Twisted Taco Truck Throwdown
Quixotically, San Antonio doesn’t have its own full-blown taco festival. What it does have is a tournament for dozens of taco trucks rolling since 2011. www.facebook.com/TwistedTacoTruckThrowdown