INDIO - Carnival sounds and the faint smell of tamales in the air. It could only mean one thing-- it's the annual Tamale Festival in Indio. It officially starts Saturday but the carnival Friday night is the kick-off.
The festival turns 22 this year and the temperature outside feels about the same. "We're a little scared of the rain but we're not made of sugar. We won't melt,” says Barret’s Lemonade vendor Matthew Doss.
The threat of rain and chilly conditions won't keep ten-year old Brian Barraza from chowing down. He even came to carnival in hopes of snagging a tamale before anyone else. "I love tamales. They come from my culture because I’m Mexican,” says Barraza.
Barret’s Lemonade came from Huntington Beach to an event, they say, is one of their most profitable. "We do have all gourmet tamales; everything from your traditional pork and asada to your turkey and cranberry tamale; even our award winning strawberry and lemonade tamale,” says Doss.
Other vendors share their recipes for success. "A lot of love baby. A lot of love to the community, that's about it,” says vendor Rosa Flores.
"All the love we put into the tamales. These girls-- they're day and night before this festival making the tamales and they put a lot of love into it,” says Doss.
The food network ranked the festival in the "Top Ten All-American Food Festivals". More than 70 vendors were on deck for a tradition that started because of a struggling Indio. "It started with a group of the local merchants-- because we weren't having a lot of business down here,” says Flores.
From no business to becoming one of the most sought out festivals in the nation, the Tamale Festival brings together the masses for a weekend of flavor, fun and family. "Enjoy some food, relax, hang out with their friends and this is just a great place to be,” says Barraza.
The Larson Justice Center off Highway 111 is providing free parking and shuttle service to the festival.