California Festivals

Indio, Calif.

Free shuttle


Indio Tamale Festival  December 6, 7 2014

California Tamale Festivals

Parking at the Justice Center (take shuttle, free)
Highway 111 & Oasis St., Indio, CA

Saturday and Sunday
(Always the 1st weekend in December!)

Contact Information (760) 391-4175 or

5-10 p.m. Friday carnival only
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

Downtown Indio

The Festival is between Highway 111 and Indio Boulevard and fills-in the streets of Miles, Towne, Smurr & Requa.

Event Location Old Town Indio (Miles Ave., Towne St., Requa Ave. & Smurr St.) Ranked as one of the top 10 "All-American Food Festivals" in the nation by Food Network-TV. More than 125,000 tamale lovers fill the streets of Old Town Indio to sample every type of tamale one can possibly imagine. Activities include a festive holiday parade, carnival, Mexican Folkloric dancing and a variety of live entertainment for all ages.

Recipes from all over the southwest feature pumpkin with Jamaican rum tamale, bourbon pork tamale, chocolate cherry tamale, and hundreds more (Indio, CA.) Overview: The 22nd annual Indio International Tamale Festival will once again overtake Old Town Indio to kick off the holiday season in the Coachella Valley. Admission into the Festival is FREE, and family-friendly activities, arts and crafts booths, and live entertainment are geared for all ages and community interests. The Festival has been ranked as one of the top ten All-American Food Festivals in the nation by Food Network-TV. The traditional competition for best tamale recipe will be held, and there will also be a tamale eating contest. At least 125,000 people are expected to attend the two day celebration which begins with a parade on Saturday morning. Performances will be featured on four stages.


There will be at least 200 booths representing over 150 vendors offering and/or selling foods such as ethnic specialties, hot dogs, roasted corn, and desserts; clothing and accessories including the return of the Moncayo Family displaying Hawaiian shirts and dresses; arts and crafts including wood works, jewelry, music, toys, and the return of Mike Zapata, known for creating art on grains of rice. A new feature this year will be Pains All Gone, a therapeutic massage station using natural and aromatic oils. Support Our Troops Ranch will be selling patriotic goods with all proceeds benefitting wounded soldiers. Nuovaterra will be on hand with six varieties of vinaigrette produced and bottled in southern California. Corium 21 will display their popular aloe vera based skin cream.

INAUGURAL CAR SHOW – New this year!

Showcase cars will take part in the opening parade and will then be displayed along Requa Street for spectator viewing and judging. The public will vote on the best in seven categories, to include: Pre-War Restored, Post-War Restored, Street Rod (up to 1959), Muscle Car, Sport, Truck and Low-Rider. The awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, December 8th at 3:00pm on the Fiesta Stage.

ART AND WINE GARDEN – New this year!

Original art work, including painting, photography, sculpture, and textiles from at least 25 artists will be on display and for sale. Guests can enjoy wine tasting in the wine lounge, and beer from Coachella Valley Brewery will also be available.

FOOD TRUCK ALLEY – New this year! Approximately a dozen food trucks will offer a wide variety of cuisine, including California Grill Truck, Kogi Korean BBQ, Tornado Potato, Always Cookin’ BBQ, The Sweet Stop, Steamy Bun Truck, Bakery Truck, and Chunk and Chip (Ice cream with cookie outside). Mariachi music and local high school drum lines will provide entertainment for guests, and seating will be available.


Live music, dancing, singing, and other diverse performances will be held on the Fiesta, Amigo, Sunset, and Community stages. There will also be a karaoke contest.

Entertainers will include: Fito Olivares Y Su Grupo, The L.A. Rhythm Kings, Steve Justice Rat Pack, St. Mary’s Ballet Folklorico, Olive Crest Academy, Battle of the DJ’s, and many others.

IEHP Rad Rider bicycle stunt show superheroes will demonstrate fancy twists, turns and airborne flips off of a ramp (sponsored by Inland Empire Health Plan). In their shows, stunt cyclists reenact the Motor City comic book scenes in a musical skit and demonstrate safety tips to kids. The shows also feature BMX bike stunts and jumps to thrill the crowd and promote the ‘coolness’ of wearing helmets. (
It all started in 1992 with an idea by Dave Hernandez, a member of the Downtown Indio Merchants Association.

The rich heritage of the tamale, consistent community support and hard working tamale makers have created the festival's tremendous success.

Recently, the Food Network-TV ranked the Indio International Tamale Festival in the top 10 "All-American Food Festivals" in the nation!

Festival's Guinness World Records:

The World's largest Tamale-over 1 foot in diameter and 40 feet in length, Dec. 4, 1999. The World's largest tamale festival-with 120,000 in attendance, Dec. 2-3, 2000.

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