INDIO  – The coronavirus pandemic has claimed another victim in the food and entertainment industry — at least temporarily. This time it’s the Indio International Tamale Festival.

With the California Department of Health still assigning Riverside County in the “Widespread” tier for COVID-19 risk, Indio leaders decided to delay the upcoming Tamale Festival to 2021.

The annual festival, originally scheduled for Dec. 8 and 9, 2020, typically welcomes nearly 100,000 people to Downtown Indio for a weekend of entertainment, food and games.

Tamale Festival in Indio Placed on Hold

Amigo stage crowd

“The Tamale Festival is an extremely important part of what makes Indio so special,” Indio Mayor Glenn Miller said in a prepared statement.  “There is nothing we’d like more than to end 2020 with such a positive celebration of our culture and history.  However, we can’t risk people’s safety by bringing together such a large number of people when metrics in Riverside County have not been met.”

Indio’s 29th annual Tamale Festival is currently rescheduled for Dec. 4 and 5, 2021.  However, the city continues to recognize its 90th Anniversary this year, and alternate dates and locations are being considered for a creative way to celebrate these two important events together before next winter.

It all started in 1992 with an idea by Dave Hernandez, a member of the Downtown Indio Merchants Association. The rich heritage of the tamale, consistent community support and hard working tamale makers have created the festival’s tremendous success.

Recently, the Food Network-TV ranked the Indio International Tamale Festival® in the top 10 “All-American Food Festivals” in the nation!

Festival’s Guinness World Records:

  • The World’s largest Tamale-over 1 foot in diameter and 40 feet in length,
  • Dec. 4, 1999. The World’s largest tamale festival-with 120,000 in attendance, Dec. 2-3, 2000.

Image Sources

  • Amigo stage crowd: City of Indio