Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Somerton Tamale Festival, 12/19/2015

We always enjoy checking out the local festivals and, therefore, went to Somerton (west of Yuma) for the Tamale Festival on Saturday. The event is held on Main Street, so we just drove to Somerton and started looking for a place to park. There are lots that charge a nominal fee ($3), but we found a parking spot at the post office (that was already closed for the day) at no cost. 

The event kicked off at 11 am; we arrived around 1 pm. It is sponsored by the Arizona State University El Diablito Alumni Chapter and this is their 9th festival. The festival recognizes the collective hard work of the community along with its commitment to higher education. The event features music, cultural dances, and, of course, fabulous tamales. The event benefits the El Diablito Sun Devil Fund Scholarship

There were 43 tamale vendors as well as booths sponsored by community non-profit organizations and school clubs. Some carnival rides were also available for kids. Attendance at the festival is around 30,000. 

There are two stages (El Diablito Stage East and Sun Devil Stage West). Performances occur on both starting at 11:00 am with the Main Performance at the El Diablito Stage at 9:45 pm (featuring Noel Torres this year). This is the El Diabilito Stage with a country band, Downtown, performing.

We saw the Tamale Eating Contest at the East stage at 1:30 pm. Pretty crazy, right? (We did see one guy puke and drop out.) Apparently last year's winner won the title again this year.

At 2 pm we saw performers from a dance school, Jazz of Yuma, perform to a song by Trans-Siberian Orchestra (love their work!) 

To pay for tamales, tickets were required and could be purchased ($2/each) at one of several ticket booths. 

Some of the vendors had very long lines. We opted for some beef and a sweet corn tamale. There was a huge variety of tamales among the 43 vendors (pork, beef, beans, apple/pecan, chicken, turkey, green chile/cheese, etc.) Some of the vendors also offered side dishes with the tamales (pork beans, mac salad, corn-on-the-cob, coleslaw, etc.)  

While we were checking out the tamale vendors we came across lovely Miss Yuma who graciously posed for a photo opp.

It was great to see the community spirit exhibited to support educational opportunities for the kids in the area. Everyone was very friendly and it was a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon for us. 

As we were leaving town, we saw this lovely Catholic church. It is so characteristic of what can be seen in these small SW towns.

Information about the tamale festival and future ones can be found at the website below. It is held every year near Christmas.


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