Dining With Denise Neil

Missed Taco Fest? The zoo is having another Mexican food festival

District Taqueria is one of the local restaurants set to participate in Sunday’s Chimps & Salsa event at the Sedgwick County Zoo.
District Taqueria is one of the local restaurants set to participate in Sunday’s Chimps & Salsa event at the Sedgwick County Zoo. The Wichita Eagle

If there’s one thing we learned from the Wichita Taco Fest, it’s that Wichita loves a good Mexican food event.

And that wasn’t lost on the organizers of this weekend’s Chimps & Salsa Mexican Food Fest at the Sedgwick County Zoo. They watched with interest as last month’s downtown taco festival was overwhelmed with long lines and food shortages.

Scheduled for noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the zoo, 5555 W. Zoo Blvd., Chimps & Salsa is a first-year event hosted by the local radio stations owned by Scripps, which were looking for a new event to organize.

“We brainstormed a bunch of different ideas and kind of liked the idea of a Mexican food festival,” said Todd Johnson, who is the general sales manager for the collection of stations, which includes KFDI 101.3-FM, The Fox 104.5-FM, Radio Lobo106.5-FM and T-95 95.1-FM.

Organizers gathered 10 local food vendors, including some you’ve heard of (Los Compadres, Uno Mas, District Taqueria, El Patio, La Isla) and some you may not have (Tacos Mary, Taqueria Mi Lindo Michoacan, Tacos Porfias). The goal, Johnson said, was to invite businesses that could prepare authentic Mexican food.

The food vendors will be set up in the zoo selling Mexican meals throughout the event, which also will include live music from three bands: Conjunto Inivicto, Alerta Zero and Los Compas Del 7.

Visitors also will be able to visit the animals and attend zookeeper chats featuring personalities from the radio stations.

Johnson said the organizers will have lots of shady seating for people while they eat, and visitors will be asked to vote for which vendor made the best food.

Admission to the festival is free with regular zoo admission, which is $15.95 for adults, $11.95 for seniors and ages 3 to 11 and free for ages 2 and under.

(FILE VIDEO -- JUNE 24, 2017) The first ever Wichita Taco Fest was greeted by lines of hundreds of hungry Wichitans waiting to get into the event where several local and regional vendors were selling their tacos.

Denise Neil: 316-268-6327, @deniseneil

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