A sure sign that life is returning to some semblance of normalcy is the return of the International Tamale Festival in Indio

INDIO —  You can almost savor the taste of a fresh, hot tamale, a steamed bundle of masa and a tasty filling, all wrapped in a corn husk, as preparations get underway for the return of the International Tamale Festival.

The popular festival, which typically attracts 100,000 people, was put on ice last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But make no mistake, it’s back. The City of Indio, in partnership with CUSP Agency, has announced the 29th Annual Indio International Tamale Festival in Downtown Indio. Over the first weekend of December, the reimagined festival, set for 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, will bring in tens of thousands of food lovers, and hundreds of vendors.

New for 2021, the City of Indio has partnered with experiential agency, CUSP, to elevate and enhance Tamale Festival through 2023. This partnership and joint investment into the community experience will bring the festival a fresh creative vision spanning: branding, décor, musical bookings, food and beverage curation, attractions, and more. These booking and production efforts draw on CUSP Agency’s tenured experience producing and contributing to music festivals locally and nationally for over 15 years including: Coachella, Stagecoach, Tachevah, Splash House, and more.

The refreshed Indio International Tamale Festival will continue to feature old favorites such as handmade tamales, competitions for best tamale and tamale eating, carnival rides, and a car show. Fans can also expect new festivities including curated food areas featuring Tamales, Signature Cocktails and Micheladas. Musical bookings will span English and Spanish language performers, featuring both touring favorites and local features.

A new Mercado will bring handcrafts, merchandise, art, and a farmers market to the event. Family-friendly attractions will expand to include luchador wrestlers and “The World’s Biggest Bounce House” by Big Bounce America. The Tamale Festival will continue to provide a rich multicultural and multi-generational experience complemented by holiday shopping for a wonderful day spent amongst family and friends.

All local and regional vendors, returning and new, are encouraged to participate by submitting their applications on the festival website. Applications to participate are due by Friday, Nov. 5 at 5 p.m.

Image Sources

  • Tamales: Shutterstock