Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita Taco Fest gets a do-over on Saturday in bigger venue and with more tacos

The second Wichita Taco Fest happens on Saturday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
The second Wichita Taco Fest happens on Saturday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The Wichita Eagle

Saturday is the day that the Wichita Taco Fest — an event that last year was too popular for its own good — will get a do-over.

The event, which allows Wichitans to sample $1 tacos from 30 different Wichita restaurants plus sip tequila and margaritas, is returning, but this year, it has a big new venue and organizers who have considered logistics down to the fine details.

"We're so with it this year, it's crazy," said Debbie Botefur, who handles marketing for organizer FestiveICT.

The event is scheduled for 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, 300 S. Sycamore. Those who buy $5 entry tickets (which increase to $10 at the door) will be invited to stroll from booth-to-booth trying tacos from restaurants such as Molino's, District Taqueria, Los Compadres, Connie's Mexico Cafe, Cholita's, Pollo Express and more. Tacos will cost $1 each, and some booths also will have chips and salsa, a serving of which will cost $2. Beer, margaritas and sangria also will be for sale, and four non-taco vendors will bring sweets, including Milkfloat.

Mamacita's Golden Taquitos will bring a vegan offering, and a few food trucks also are participating, including The Kamayan Truck, Lumpia Palooza and Neives Taco Truckfrom Winfield.

Last year's inaugural Taco Fest also happened in late June but it was staged at Union Station plaza, a venue that grew packed and impassable when the festival got started. People with pre-purchased tickets stood in long lines to enter the event, and once they were inside, they were met with more long lines for food.

But organizers realized they were on to something and set out to improve the event. This year, the vendor booths will be spaced farther apart, and people who already have tickets will be in a separate line from those purchasing at the door, Botefur said.

A $35 ticket gets attendees access to a tequila tent, which will be open from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will include 10 tequila samples.

The festival also will feature live music from the band Making Movies from Kansas City, and there will be a jalapeno eating competition.(Organizers are still looking for competitors with stomachs of steel.)

The event is family friendly, organizers said, and children 5 and younger will be admitted free. There will be face-painting and games set up to entertain younger taco eaters.

Botefur said the capacity at Lawrence-Dumont is 9,000, and the vendors will be ready for a crowd that size, she said.

Get tickets in advance at www.selectaseat.com or at local MobileComm stores.

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