Annual Tacos Festival Celebrated in Orange Walk
Thursday, November 26th, 2015
The original and authentic Orange Walk Tacos Festival took place on Sunday, November 22nd at the Banquitas House of Culture. The fifth annual festival showcases a large variety of tacos, a dish that Orange Walk Town is known for. At the celebration, vendors competed to gain judges’ votes and impress the crowd that showed up from all corners of the country. This year the festivities also showcased an array of cultural presentations and musical performances.
A total of 15 booths spread out across the venue, offered all kinds of tacos to feast on. People had arrived early to sample such tacos made from: Chicken, pork, baked pork and chicken, beef, pibil, tacos al pastor, grilled tacos and even sausage! Grace Kennedy was on hand as well, promoting and selling their products at a promotional price.
According to organizer Dillon Jones, the taco industry in the northern district is a big business and the festival is a great way to promote it. “The Taco festival is intended to be a family fun day and at the same time, highlights how important the taco business is in Orange Walk. If you take a look at the different tacos from the vendors, you will see the creativity of the people, the different styles like the Mexican one. However, everything that we see here today is made in Orange Walk. We make the best tacos in Belize and we really appreciate the support that we get every year,” said Jones. He called on everybody to keep supporting the festival so it can be possible year after year.
It was clear to this reporter that the pibil taco booth was one of the most popular ones, as there was a long line of people waiting for their turn to place orders! Judges were also busy, tasting and making their decisions on who had the best entries. Shortly after 3PM, the winners were announced. The first category to be announced was the ‘New Entry’ (amateur) – pork/chicken. This category judged first-time participants. The prize for the best chicken tacos in this category went to Sabrina’s Taqueria, with its “Michoacan Mexican Style Tacos,” while the prize for best pork tacos went to Taqueria “Los Guapos.”
The winners in the regular categories pork/chicken were then announced. The third place in the pork category went to Margarita Tacos, while Baeza Taqueria, who makes traditional tacos, walked away with the second place. Taking the grand prize was Maria Briceño who was awarded the first place in the pork category. Next, the winners for the chicken category were called out, and once again Maria Briceño was honored for her delicious tacos with the third place. In second place was Baeza Tacos, who once again was recognized, this time in the chicken category. In the first place, for the best chicken tacos at this year’s festival went to Lance Taqueria who prepared tacos flavored with a coconut cream sauce, which seem to delight the judges and everyone who tried them. All winners received a package of products courtesy of Grace Kennedy and some even received gifts from Digicell. Meanwhile, all other participants received consolation prizes.
Immediately after the presentation of prizes, everyone enjoyed some fabulous cultural presentations. After a traditional Mestizo dance, the audience was awed by a traditional ‘Pok-ta-pok’ game. The traditional Maya ball game featured participants dressed in Aztec outfits, showcasing how the game was played by the Mayas hundreds of years ago.
When the game was over, the hungry audience enjoyed more tacos from the few booths that had not sold out. Vendors expressed their appreciation to everyone that came out to support the festival. As night approached, the crowd was entertained by Youth Connection Band, Esko, Captain Roby, and closing the evening of activities was Bernadette Gilharry, and Continental Cat.
Organizers of the event would like to thank everyone who attended the festival, as well as the participants who did a great job. Next year’s event promises to be even bigger and better as the festival continues to develop. Everyone is invited to head to Orange Walk next year to taste the best of Belize; Suga City Tacos!
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