Taco teams face off at Rillito Downs
Whether you fancied chile, chipotle, seafood or barbecue, there was a taco to fit the bill at Saturday’s premiere Tucson Taco Festival.
More than 20 teams made up of local and visiting eateries cooked, grilled, and fried well into the evening at Rillito Park.
Kids ran around with parents in tow, drawn to the large inflatable hamster balls, a zip line, and face-painting. Parents trailed behind, sipping margaritas and various Mexican beers.
The lines for many of the eateries stretched for at least 15 people in most cases. The wait for the “dirty taco” at Kbork had a queue of almost 50 people.
Owner Jorge Gastelun had to grill up a second batch of chorizo, sirloin, sausage, pork, bacon and bell peppers after selling out early in the afternoon.
The participants of the taco-eating contest didn’t have to stand in line, but faced a plate of 25 tacos. In the five-minute limit, even the champion, Eric Huettner, couldn’t finish his sixth taco.
The 19-year-old University of Arizona Civil Engineering student was drawn to the stage for one reason: “Free tacos,” Huettner said.
He kept his resolve and despite some hesitation in the last five minutes of the contest, Huettner avoided the lure of the puke bucket.