Festival to feature more than 50 different kinds of tacos

Fifty West Brewing Company will unveil Especial, a new Mexican Lager.

Locals will have an opportunity to try 50 different kinds of tacos from area eateries when The Real Taco Fest returns to Cincinnati’s riverfront this month.

“We just started the festival last year, so this is our second annual event with the same format and the idea of being taco focused,” said Ben Howard, producer of The Real Taco Fest.

He said there’s clearly a ton of amazing taco options in Cincinnati and there is also a demand from taco fans who are looking for an event like this to sample tacos on the river. Last year’s event was sold out.

“This year, we’ve got 17 vendors, and there is going to be over 50 different tacos at the festival. There will be so many different taco options there that you can really just go wild and try as many different things as you want,” Howard said.

The Real Taco Fest will be at Smale Riverfront Park on May 13. The first 250 people through the gate at each session will receive a small sample bag of “Covington Gold Dust” by Farmer Nate’s Hot Sauce.

Vendors will include Mazunte, Texas Joe, MashRoots, La Torta Loca, Nomad, Condado Tacos, El Barril Mexican Sports Bar, El Taco Veloz, OLLA, Mi Cozumel, J’s Fish Tacos and more.

There will be chicken, steak, pork and fish tacos available. More than half of the vendors will offer vegetarian options and many will have gluten free items. A complete list of vendors and an event map is available on the festival’s website at www.realtacofest.com.

“There are all these small businesses that are represented from all the neighborhoods, from all over the tri-state, as far up as Mason and as far down as Florence, and with The Real Taco Fest you can get all of these different options in one central location. We are trying to demonstrate to the public that this is a smorgasbord of all the options,” Howard said.

He said, “We are very proud of the variety, and we’re excited to offer the opportunity for somebody to find a new favorite taco at the event. That’s really the goal.”

Presenting sponsor, Fifty West Brewing Company, will unveil Especial, a new Mexican Lager, during the event. Attendees will get an exclusive, premiere taste of the new brew two weeks before it is available in stores or on tap at other locations across the city.

Guests will also have the opportunity to vote and one taco vendor will be selected as the best-at-fest “Golden Taco Award,” sponsored by Canvus Premium Cocktails, a new product from Boone County Distilling.

In addition, there will be frozen margaritas, hand-shaken margaritas, and four flavors of Canvus Premium Cocktails available for purchase.

Entertainment throughout the day will include a live DJ and a variety of lawn games. The event is family-friendly with access to the park’s playground and other attractions. OLLA will also have frozen treat booth serving paletas.

A portion of the proceeds from The Real Taco Fest 2023 will benefit The Ion Center for Violence Prevention,. The non-profit’s mission is to support survivors of all identities who have experienced power-based personal violence (sexual and/or intimate partner violence) by offering 24/7, free and confidential responsive services as well as survivor-centered advocacy programs.

How to go

What: The Real Taco Fest

When: Two sessions: Noon-4 p.m. and 5:30-9:30 p.m. May 13

Where: Smale Riverfront Park, 166 W Mehring Way, downtown Cincinnati

Cost: $10 admission in advance, children ages 10 and younger are free. Taco and drink tickets are $4 each. Tickets sold at door if not sold out in advance.

More info: www.realtacofest.com

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