Indio International Tamale Festival is a Foodies Haven

Patrons reap the benefits of family recipes handed down from generation to generation



The Indio International Tamale Festival attracts big crowds and offers a variety of tamale tastes.

carroadtrip.com

His parents are now in their 80s and retired from running the Indio restaurant.

But when the Indio International Tamale Festival rolls around, Prudencio Flores Jr. watches his dad, Prudencio Sr., and mom, Estella, return to the kitchen to help prepare more than 8,000 tamales for the two-day festival, running this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2.

See related story: WAR Headlines Indio Tamale Festival Entertainment.

The Flores, who opened Rincon Norteño in 1964, were there at the beginnings of the tamale festival in 1992 when Dave Hernandez, a member of the Downtown Indio Merchants Association, created the concept. Over the years, the festival has grown from just a few vendors to more than 60, attended by more than 100,000 people over the two days and is ranked among the top 10 "All-American Food Festivals" nationally by the Food Network.

"It was nothing like it is now," said Prudencio Jr. , the youngest of the five Flores children now involved with the restaurant. "What it boils down to is generations and generations of families bringing out their old family recipes and making their tamales."

Prudencio Jr. said the tamales sold by Rincon Norteño reflect his parents' recipe that sells out every year. The largest load was 10,000 tamales in 2006.

"We're fortunate to have a good customer base who have known us for years," said Prudencio Jr.

Jim Curtis, who has served Indio as special events manager for the tamale festival the last nine years, agreed the event is all about the food.

"We have different types of tamales from all over the area," Curtis said, noting there is a tamale eating contest and a Best Tamale contest. Jakalope Ranch has captured the Best Tamale trophy for the past two years.

Perhaps the most famous tamale maker is Grandma Lupe. Now 80, she only makes her infamous tamales for the festival and sells upwards of 20,000, according to Curtis. Wait lines are often 2 to 2.5 hours long.

But if you're interested in other types of food, there is barbecue, tacos, burritos, hot dogs and roasted corn to name a few.

"It's great entertainment and great tamales," Curtis said.

Add your comment:
Desert Guide

Related Articles

Lasers Light Up Fantasy Springs Bowling Center

Turn off the lights at Fantasy Springs Bowling Center at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, and one of America’s oldest recreational sports literally illuminates a whole new persona - laser bowling.

The Purple Room Audience May Recognize Shelagh Ratner's Voice First

Once she appears Sept. 20 at The Purple Room Restaurant & Stage in Palm Springs, it’s likely audience members will have an “aha!” moment upon hearing Shelagh Ratner’s voice.

Charles Busch Brings His Own Show to Copa Palm Springs

Charles Busch, who has portrayed female characters for most of his theater career, will personify Old Hollywood in his solo desert show debut.

Max Adler Delves into Gay Character Again With 'Saugatuck Cures'

Max Adler, known for his breakout role on 'Glee', has a busy fall in store between three films and two TV shows, but locally he can be seen in 'Saugatuck Cures' during Cinema Diverse Palm Springs.

10 Reasons to Attend Modernism Week Fall Preview

Here are 10 reasons to attend Modernism Week's Fall Preview in Palm Springs over the Columbus Day holiday weekend, Oct. 10-13.

Promotions + Contests

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the second annual Palm Desert International Dance Festival performances.