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Tamale Festival coming to Turlock
Nearly two dozen food vendors will be on hand at the California Tamale Festival, being held Oct. 15 at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds (Photo contributed).

Tamale lovers from around the region are expected to descend on the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds Oct. 15 for the inaugural California Tamale Festival.

Of course, there will be tamales — pork, beef, chicken, fruit-filled, steamed, fried, most wrapped in corn husks, some wrapped in banana leaves — but there will be much more, according to festival organizer Armando Dulao.

“We’re going to have nearly two dozen food vendors and more than 100 vendors in total at the event,” said Dulao. “Tamales are a tradition around the holidays, and their popularity crosses all cultures around the world.”

According to, it’s believed that tamales were first made by the Aztecs about 10,000 years ago, meaning they’re one of the oldest foods still enjoyed today.

“We’ll have traditional tamales,” said Dulao. “We’ll possibly see some filled with sweet corn and possibly strawberries. Jalapeño and cheese tamales are also very popular, but I don’t know for certain what each vendor is going to bring.”

But the festival will feature more than just tamales. There will also be a home and garden show, as well as a car show featuring monster trucks, low-riders, vintage vehicles, motorcycles, and imported cars.

For the kids, there will be a Halloween costume competition, face-painting, and pony rides, not to mention a special appearance by Spider-Man.

Also, there will be live music — ZZ Top tribute band ZZ Tush; Tim McGraw tribute band Vegas McGraw; Los Jefes del Valle; Banda Escuela de Rancho; and Patricia Alejandres — as well as a six radio stations on site. Aztec and folklorico dancers also will perform.

Move-in time for the vehicles participating in the car show is 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Entry is $30 per vehicle and one passenger. For all other passengers, it’s $15, and free for passengers 7 and under.

The tamale festival gets underway at noon and lasts until 7 p.m. Entry fee is free for kids 7 and under; $15 for those 8-17 years old; and $25 for those 18-64. For those 65 and older, as well as anybody with a military ID, entry is $15.

“We’re barely touching the surface,” said Dulao. “We have a lot to offer the community, as far as education, art, music. My goal is to have all the different families and different cultures meet and greet and have fun and be nice to each other. That’s the whole thing, it’s about having fun.

“And next year, we’re looking to make it a two-day event.”

For more information about the event, visit