Riverside’s annual tamale festival gives people a reason to party

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Patrick Tindall | Viewpoints
By Clarissa Corral

In celebration of the Inland Empire’s Hispanic heritage, Downtown Riverside was the host for the seventh annual Riverside Tamale Festival at White Park on April 13.

The Riverside Tamale Festival was filled with lots of food vendors, a beer garden, entertainment, music and of course plenty of tamales.

The Riverside Tamale Festival was created in efforts to provide a fun and family oriented learning experience in which the story of Lorenzo Trujillo and the other 10 original families from Abiquiu, New Mexico.

They traveled to the old Spanish Trail in 1842 and put down roots in this area so they could be shared and celebrated.

Upon arrival at the Tamale Festival there is loud and festive music played by a live band on the Market Street stage that can be heard from three blocks away played by The Smooth Sounds of Santana.

The mixture of wonderful aromas of fresh tamales, kettle corn, tacos and other delicious foods filled the air. Just as you would expect from a festival such as this, bright and colorful spanish decor and outerwear painted the park from front to back.

While walking from vendor to vendor, there is a variety of delicious tamales and fresh agua frescas being sold and a range of Folklorico dancers from toddlers to grown adults adorning the festival with their detailed and beautifully designed dresses.

These Folklorico dancers either had performed or would perform at some time during the festival. Some of the dancers there were from the Berumen Dance Company, Leyenda Dance Company, Ballet Folklórico de Riverside and the Ballet Folklorico Xochitl de John North High School.

All dancers performed traditional Folklorico dancing in celebration of Hispanic culture, some of which derived from a specific part of Mexico.

Other entertainment included Lucha Libre, where Lucha wrestlers fought in a theatrical manner in a wrestling ring set up on Market Street.

Wrestlers Raunchy Rigo and Richie Slade interacted with nearby audience members and displayed their muscles before fighting in a comedic and family friendly way that served for great spectics and laughter.

Located in the Kids Zone was the Chancla Toss contest. Participants got to toss a chancla through a corn hole three times for free while under a count. Participants who threw one or more chanclas through the cornhole won a prize.

Not to be forgotten, is the competitions for the best festival tamale and best homemade tamale.

Both awards are people’s choice awards, being that the VIP Tamale Experience attendees each got to taste each of the entries and vote for the tamales that were their favorites.

All those who attended the event got to enjoy the delicious food, the beautiful folklorico dancing and Spanish music.

The Riverside Tamale Festival not only serves a wonderful celebration showcasing Hispanic Heritage but also financially aid in support of the continuation and rebuilding of its cultural landmarks of its ancestors. Guests are encouraged to attend the years to come.

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