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SW Washington Tamale Festival Returns to Washougal Saturday


Tamale Festival lovers — this is for you! The Southwest Washington Tamale Festival is returning to downtown Washougal on Saturday, June 29, 2019 from 1 to 9 p.m.  Presented by the Southwest Washington League of United Latin American Citizens (SW WA LULAC Council 47013), the family-friendly event will celebrate the richness of Latin culture and is free and open to the public. It will be held in Reflection Plaza located at Main St & Pendleton Way, Washougal.

The history of the tamale is as old as the Aztec and Mayan cultures and played a significant role as a food staple that traveled well.  Becoming a traditional food for celebrations in more modern times, they are now an important part of Central and North American indigenous culture.

“We are very excited to host the second annual SW WA Tamale Festival in partnership with the City of Washougal,” said Hector Hinojosa, SW WA LULAC Council president and festival organizer.  “It will be wonderful to share our heritage with the community through delicious foods, a beer garden, exciting music and dance entertainment, tamale cooking and eating contests, a children’s activity area, information booths from local businesses and organizations and handmade crafts for sale.”

Last year’s festival was overwhelmed by large attendance and suffered long lines to purchase tamales.  “This year we will have many more food vendors so lines will be shorter and there will be plenty of tamales for everyone,” Hinojosa assured.  “In addition, pre-orders for frozen tamales to take home with you will be available for pick up at the festival.”  Orders must be placed online at www.swwatamalefest.com.  There is a June 10 deadline for tamale pre-orders and all must be picked up during regular festival hours.
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Tamales Festival
Tamale Festival
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“There is an amazing line up of musical and dancing entertainment for the festival,” said Monica Rech, festival entertainment coordinator.  “One of a Kind Drumline starts everything off with a dynamic performance at 1:00pm. Son de Cuba Quartette will perform at 3 pm and then again at 3:50 pm. Gerardo Calderon will be playing traditional Mexican/South American/Peruvian folk music starting at 6:30 pm.

Throughout the afternoon beautifully costumed and energetic dance groups will also perform.  “We have several Middle Eastern dance groups performing six to eight-minute routines each,” said Rech. “They will feature traditional dances from Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Persia. There will be dances from Vancouver Ballet Folklorico and Flamenco/Belly Dance Fusion as well.”

Adding to the fun, the event will feature a tamale contest that is open to restaurants and homestyle cooks.  

“We are inviting contestants to show off their tamale cooking skills,” said Hinojosa. “Tamale recipes are a big source of pride among families. The tamale contest will be a lot of fun and give some bragging rights to the winners!”  Entries will be judged by a celebrity panel in three categories; Meat, No-Meat/Veggie and Sweet/Dessert.  Winners will be determined based on taste, technique, appearance and overall quality. A $100 prize will be awarded for the winning entries. For contest rules and entry form, go to the event website.  There is a $20 entry fee per category. The deadline to enter is June 10, 2019.

Are you hungry for tamales?  You may want to enter the Tamale Eating Contest sponsored by Javier Navarro, State Farm Insurance. The challenge will be to consume as many tamales as possible in two minutes.  Contest will be limited to the first 10 participants to register, 18 and over only.  Registration is $20 and can be done online on the event website. Prizes provided by Navarro are $200 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place.

For more information about the SW WA Tamale Festival go to www.swwatamalefest.com.

Proceeds, entry fees and donations collected from the event will support future scholarships and stipends for local youth programs.  Contact the festival at [email protected] for more information and follow them on Facebook.

Event sponsors include SW WA LULAC, Javier Navarro State Farm Insurance, Riverview Community Bank, Law office of Eulalia Soto, Vancouver Brewfest, Molina Healthcare, Uniweb Digital, Remax Equity Group and Cleanpot Portable.  It is also funded in part by City of Washougal Lodging Tax Funds.

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