Organizers for Top Taco, the annual taco and tequila-centric festival, will reschedule the event a month later than originally planned due to Hurricane Ida. The event will now take place at Lafreniere Park on Oct. 28.
Previously, the fourth annual event was scheduled to take place on Sept. 23.
Organizers say the rescheduled event will now feature the theme “Back from the Dead” and include a Day of the Dead costume contest in addition to the other scheduled festivities.
“Hurricane Ida was obviously a tough blow for us and the entire community,” festival producer Shane Finkelstein said. “But the show must go on, and the majority of our restaurants and sponsors are in support of rescheduling to the Day of the Dead weekend.”
Prior to Hurricane Ida, Top Taco announced plans to move forward with a new proof of vaccination or negative COVID test requirement for festival-goers attending the event.
In a Facebook post announcing the change, organizers said this was a voluntary move to “set a good example so that other festivals can feel comfortable moving forward with their own events in 2022.” The post continues, “Covid isn’t going away so let’s show everyone that we can put on an amazing and safe event.”
In addition to the new vaccine requirement, festival organizers laid out other event safety precautions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finkelstein credits the continued support of Top Taco’s sponsors and participating restaurants for the ability to host the event in 2021.
“Top Taco is back in a new, spacious location that allows us to put on the type of festival people expect from us,” Finkelstein said. “Top Taco would have been difficult to put on if our fans had given up on us; more than 1,500 ticket holders had faith and held on to their tickets instead of requesting a refund last year.”
At the festival, local restaurants and mixologists compete for top honors in four categories: Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Creative Tequila Cocktail and Top Traditional Margarita. Fest-goers will also enjoy creative pop-up bar areas and DJ lounges, tequila tastings, live Latin music by Otra and Muevelo and eye-popping visual elements.
The event will also include a VIP lounge area with gourmet tacos and tequila tacos from Dickie Brennan & Co. restaurants.
Organizers confirm nearly two dozen restaurants are set to participate in this year’s festival, spanning newcomers to returning champions.
Some returning champions include 2019 winners Johnny Sanchez, Tacos & Beer, Barracuda, Los Jefes and Velvet Cactus.
Newcomers to this year’s event include El Cucuy, Hotel Fontenot’s Peacock Lounge, Way of the Taco, Palm & Pine, Pedro’s Taco & Tequila Bar, Mama’s Cantina, and Seither’s Seafood. Metairie favorites like Zócalo, Tacos del Cartel, Mawi Tortillas and El Paso Mexican Grill will also compete for the awards. Other returning competitors include Justine, Casa Borrega, Flamingo A Go-Go, Espiritu, and Felipe’s Taqueria.
Top Taco 2021 will offer only 300 tickets at each of the following levels at the same price as last year: $75 general admission tickets, $95 early entry/first tasting tickets and $125 VIP tickets. Once inside the festival, all food and drinks are included.
Organizers say ticket holders with 2020 tickets will be issued new tickets for 2021.
Last year, Top Taco was postponed just one week before the festival in March 2020 due to COVID-19. The popular taco and tequila throw-down debuted on the New Orleans festival scene in 2017 and has previously been held at Woldenberg Riverfront Park. Since then, the event has raised more than $50,000 for local non-profit organizations, organizers say.
The one-night-only event will benefit the PLEASE Foundation, a non-profit that provides education opportunities to at-risk teens.
For more information, visit the Top Taco website.
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