Dining With Denise Neil

Public taco eating, tequila shooting: Taco Fest is Saturday

Los Compadres will be among the vendors slinging tacos at Saturday’s new Wichita Taco Fest.
Los Compadres will be among the vendors slinging tacos at Saturday’s new Wichita Taco Fest. The Wichita Eagle

You love tacos. But when the craving hits, it’s hard to decide where to satisfy it.

Street tacos at Molino’s? Fish tacos at District Taqueria? The crunchy shredded beef ones at Carlos O’Kelly’s? Big Lou’s fried tacos at Emerson Biggin’s?

On Saturday, Wichita taco fans won’t have to make that tough decision. The first Wichita Taco Fest will fill the plaza at Union Station, 701 E. Douglas, not only with 19 different restaurants serving up mini-versions of their best tacos but also with margaritas, tequila shots, games and music.

The event, which will last from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday, is being put together by a group called Festive ICT, led by I Got Sole sneaker festival founder Nnanna Okpara.

The group has recruited restaurants and food trucks to serve bite-sized tacos plus servings of chips and salsa. The list of restaurants participating includes Mexican favorites like Molino’s, District Taqueria, Carlos O’Kelly’s, On the Border, Los Compadres and Casa Del Charro, as well as several that don’t usually serve Mexican food, including The Kitchen, Blue Fin Sake Bar and Hot 2 Trot Gourmet Hot Dogs.

Those who attend the festival will pay a $5 entry fee, then they’ll pay $1 apiece for tacos, made on 4 1/2-inch tortillas. For $2, vendors will sell them a taco and a sample of chips and salsa.

District Taqueria is a welcome addition to downtown Wichita. (Denise Neil/The Wichita Eagle)

Several of the restaurants also will be serving margaritas for an extra price. People also can visit a tequila tent, where they can pay to sample different types of tequila.

Attendees also can play life-sized board games and listen to music by DJ Carbon. The event is family-friendly and will have face painters and activities like word searches and taco coloring for kids.

Judges will choose who made the best tacos, salsa and margaritas, and three will also be a people’s choice winner.

People can bring $20 and probably get their fill of food and beverages, said Naquela Pack, who works with Festive ICT. Organizers have been surprised by the amount of advance interest and say it’s possible that as many as 4,000 could attend on Saturday. To be safe, they’ve asked all the vendors to increase the number of tacos they’ll bring.

“I think really every one does like tacos, and this is just kind of the cohesion of community and food and family fun,” Pack said. “It’s just an event that Wichita can get together and just enjoy.”

Wichita Taco Fest

When: Noon-7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Union Station Plaza, 701 E. Douglas

Admission: $5 at the door or at https://wichitatacofest.com. Tacos are $1 apiece or $2 with chips and salsa. Margaritas, tequila shots and face painting also cost extra.

Participating food vendors: Molino’s, Funky Monkey Munchies, Tacos El Torito, Angry Elephant, Hot 2 Trot, The Kitchen, Mumbai Rail, Emerson Biggin’s, On the Border, Las Dos Costas, 37 West, Blue Fin Sake Bar, Casa Del Charro, District Taqueria, Las Palmas, Los Compadres, Carlos O’Kelly’s, Chase Branscum, La Hacienda

Information: https://wichitatacofest.com

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