What’s the gist?
You sell tacos and make $$$, compete for actual $$$, and drink tequila with your neighbors.
Don’t I have to be a Mexican restaurant?
No! That’s the beauty of the Taco Festival – everyone makes a taco. It’s the most adapted cuisine in America. But you do have to live or work in AZ.
Does it cost to enter?
Yes, it costs $200-$650. Here’s how:
Taco teams $300 single day / $500 weekend
Food trucks with power: $200 single day / $400 weekend
Sidecart competitions of salsa, guacamole, anything goes taco, veggie taco, and best booth design costs a total of $100 single day / $150 weekend
What do I get for that money?
You get a 20’x20’ area. In front, there’s a 10’x20’ tent (with sidewalls), and a 10’x20’ area in back for your cooking equipment. Also, two 8’ tables, 2 chairs, a team sign and menu board, ticket collection box, and power. You are also entered into the taco competition, which means you receive turn-in boxes for your competition tacos to be submitted in. If you don’t need the tents, let us know, we can work on your entry fee.
How much power can I have?
Teams are provided with two 110v outlets. If you need more outlets or heavier power, alert event organizers.
Can I keep a vehicle at my booth?
Only if it is integral to your booths’ operation and/or adds to the overall flair of the event. Vendor parking is available for utility vehicles and is within easy walking distance.
Can I sell food?
Yes! THIS IS NOT A FOOD DONATION, like many events. You can sell any kind of taco, taco sample, salsa, and guacamole to attendees for 1 ticket each (overall value of $2). Collect your tickets in the provided container and count your tickets after the Fest. Then, we reimburse you $1 for every ticket collected (minus sales tax). Sell 1,000 tacos and you get $1,000!
Can I sell things that are NOT tacos?
Generally, only salsa and guacamole. Other items are allowed but only on a case-by-case basis. Elote, churros, nachos, stuff like that, please let us know.
How much should I prep for?
Teams have historically sold between 500 and 3,000 tacos. This number depends on your ability, but 1,000 or more is a safe bet (meaning $1,000 back to you if you sell 1,000 tacos).
Are hand-washing stations provided?
No. Please bring your own continuous-flow hand-washing station. If you do not have one, we can rent them for $25/day.
Are plates or utensils provided?
No. You must provide disposable plates, napkins and utensils as needed. Remember, it’s an outdoor festival, so napkins, foil, and paper towel could act as a plate.
Do I need a health permit?
Yes. Since this event is on the Reservation, it must be acquired through Pima County Health. Organizers will walk you though this process. It’s not complicated or expensive, don’t worry.
How does the competition work?
When you sign up, you receive one sample competition box to practice with. Then, on each day of the event, you receive four boxes, one for each meat category (chicken, pork, beef, and seafood), so everyone has equal time to decorate the actual boxes. Turn-ins take place every hour and are designated by organizers. You are judged on taste, presentation and texture. Winners are named in each category, but the title “Grand Champion” is cumulative from all of your scores. So although you don’t have to enter every single category, you should if you’d like a chance to win “Grand Champion.”
Does the taco I submit to the judges have to be the same one I serve to attendees?
Nope. But remember, you’re representing your business. People want to see you put your best foot forward.
Why do I only get four boxes?
The taco categories are chicken, pork, beef, and seafood. You submit each category in its own box (with six tacos in each box). For the other stuff, like salsa, guac, and anything goes taco, veggie taco, presentation is up to you – but there still should be six samples of each because each team has six judges assigned to it. We will have extra boxes if you’d like to use those.
Is there a prize?
Yes. We pay cash prizes for 1st through 3rd in every category and an Overall 1st and 2nd place. The total prize purse is $10,000 that is divided among the categories.
When do I get my money?
Within 7 days.
Do I have to do both days?
Nope. Choose one or do both. Up to you. Last year’s attendance was around 15,000 on Saturday and 10,000 on Sunday. If you are using the Taco Festival as marketing, we suggest both days, but understand that strains your staff & business. BUT, the people that come to the Taco Fest are YOUR potential customers – so give it all you’ve got!