While international influencers may descend to the desert for Coachella each April, the 31st annual Indio International Tamale Festival allows locals to flourish. For the past 30 years, Californians near and far have made a winter trip to the desert for a cultural festival obsessed with masa.
Over 300 booths sprawl across the Miles Avenue Park, serving festival-goers with tamales with origins from Sinaloa to Salvador. Their fillings include a wide range: authentic shredded pork, chicken, beef, vegan, vegetarian and modern twists like birria tamales. Unlike many food festivals, home chefs open up booths alongside restaurateurs. This program, “Artesano Tamaleria,” was piloted last year and finally puts the argument of whose mothers make the best tamales to the test.
Last year the Palm Desert festival moved to its current location, in Miles Avenue Park, and added a holiday-themed night market called Mercadito de Noche. Live music is also a big draw, especially as its curator, Rene Contreras, who books the Coachella Sonora stage. This year will feature 20 musical acts including K-Paz De La Sierra, Son Rompe Pera, Tropa Magica, Estevie, Doggyland and Yungatita among others. The grounds also have carnival rides, luchadors, car shows, mariachi and more to pay homage to Latino culture.
It will feature more than 20 musical acts including K-Paz De La Sierra, Son Rompe Pera, Tropa Magica, Estevie, Doggyland and Yungatita among others.
The two-day festival is free to the public so everyone can revel in one of the oldest Latin food traditions.
- Over 100,000 people attend Indio Tamale Fest each year.
- The California festival, including its performances, are free to all.
- Got some spare time? Check out our guide to Palm Springs.
What is the closest airport to Indio International Tamale Festival?
Palm Springs International Airport is 20 miles from the festival grounds, which is in Coachella Valley.
It’s my first time attending the festival. What can I expect?
For starters, the festival recently got some love from the Food Network, when it ranked the Indio International Tamale Festival in the top 10 “All-American Food Festivals.” In terms of what to expect on the event day, besides tons of tamales, the organizers promise family-friendly activities like carnival rides, kid’s petting zoo, contests, live music, other live entertainment and more.
Where does the festival take place?
In Miles Avenue Park on Miles Avenue in Indio, California.
What’s the exact address of the park?
82540 Miles Ave, Indio, CA 92201 USA
How far is it from San Diego to Indio?
What kind of bag can I bring to the Indio International Tamale Festival?
There is no bag policy, but the bags will be searched.
Who are the performers at Indio International Tamale Festival?
The performers and vendors for this year have yet to be released. Applications are still open for performers and vendors.