The City of Atascadero recently announced the expansion of the 5th Annual Tamale Festival to be held over two days in the Downtown, Jan. 17 and 18.

The City prepares each year for the annual Tamale Festival with countywide outreach to numerous local restaurants, caterers and non-profit organizations. Each year the City also attends the famous International Tamale Festival held in Indio, Calif., to gain new ideas to grow to promote what has quickly become one of Atascadero’s signature events.

“We also work to include the variety of vendors from tamale festivals around the state to bring back to our festival,” said City Deputy Manager Terry Banish. “The success of this event has been evident in the growing attendance each year, which has prompted us to grow to two days.”

The expansion will include a grand opening party to kick off on Friday evening, Jan. 17, from 5 to 10 p.m. at Historic City Hall and the Sunken Gardens. Enjoy music from two major bands, Brass Mash and the Dork band. As part of this additional day, organizers are adding a firework show.


“January is a good month to introduce a firework show to our City and weather permitting; it will be a wonderful show to enjoy over Historic City Hall,” Banish said. Arrangements are also being made to include a handful of tamale vendors along with a variety of inflatable obstacle courses and bounce houses for all ages!

The fun will continue on Saturday, Jan. 18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the actual Tamale Festival. Expect over 30 tamale vendors from across California offering a variety of tamales for purchase from gourmet to traditional to sweet tamales. Entertainment on Saturday will include Emcee, Francisco Ramirez along with Medina Light Show Designs, plus a wide variety of music from the Mariachi bands to major dance bands like Los Gatos Locos band and the Steppin’ Out band, plus soloist Manuel Enrique and the Famous Dancing Horses. The festival will also include the folkloric dancers, bounce houses, Zorb Balls and an obstacle course plus face painting, balloon animals and plenty of fun for all ages.

Close to 80 vendors will be on display offering everything from merchandise and crafts to adult beverages to a wide variety of food vendors beyond tamales to appease everyone’s palate and appetite.

The contests will return on Saturday too with the popular “Best Tamale Contest” where all of the tamale vendors can showcase their work in creating the “best” tamale. The “Tamale Eating Contest” and the Chihuahua Costume Contest will also return.

The event is free to attend and enjoy the entertainment, but don’t forget to bring your wallet to purchase food, activities and merchandise.