Black Friday has come and gone, but people have kept the consumer spirit alive in La Habra this past Sunday, Nov. 29 at the 2nd Annual La Habra Tamale Festival.
Lines exceeding upwards of 1-2 hours of queue time were standard for acquiring any of the homemade tamales being offered this past weekend at the La Habra Community Center.
According to Karlee Marshall, event coordinator and senior recreation leader for the city of La Habra, the planning of this event started around March 2015. This year, the city’s recreation division implemented a new strategy by using social media to promote the event. Social Media promotion for the event was a hit and the first day they posted something about the tamale festival they received roughly over 78,000 views.
For the uninitiated, tamales are a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa, which is a dough usually derived from corn. This starchy paste is then taken and added to a leaf wrapper, in most cases this wrapper is a corn husk, and then steamed or boiled. Fillings of meat, cheese, vegetables, chilies, or fruit are typical for most preparations.
Opting to present herself to the public simply as “Connie”, her tamales garnered the most exorbitant lines of the entire event. People waited in a line for hours just have to wait in a separate pickup line, but for a good reason.
Connie’s tamales were slightly firm on the outside yet delicate and soft on the inside. The corn masa was not overworked and truly tasted like fresh corn. Their fillings, whether it be beef with red chili, pork with red chili, chicken with green chili, or queso con rajas, they were all tender and full of flavor.
Former dean of Fullerton College’s library John Ayala and librarian Albert Tovar were in attendance helping out the non-profit organization Rosie’s Garage. The line for Rosie’s tamales was about half the length of Connie’s. Irregardless, they sold out halfway through the event and had to restock
“Rosie’s Garage is an after school learning center that helps children with tutoring in the barrio,” Ayala said. “We do fundraising like this to help bring money to the organization.”
Beyond the food attractions at the event, a live entertainment stage hosted the Grammy Award winning Mariachi group, The Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea. For those still with the shoppers’ itch, a vendor fair was set up offering a variety of trinkets and gifts to help with the holiday gift rush.
If this year is any indication of the breadth of this event, you can expect next year’s festival to be a massive hit.
If you’re looking forward to attending next year’s festival, make sure to arrive early because you will be guaranteed lines, after lines, and simply more lines.