Indio’s 26th annual International Tamale Festival kicked off Saturday. The weekend long event is expected to bring in more than 125,000 people into down town Indio.
This year there are more than 75 tamale booths and hundreds of different tamale recipes.
Irma Garcia and her family own Martha’s Tamales. Making tamales has become a family tradition for the Garcias.
“My mom always says it’s a labor of love. You got to mix the masa, then make the salsa and cook the meat,” Garcia said.
Some people at the festival tried tamales for the first time Saturday.
“We really enjoyed it. We might be brave and try a dessert one,” Shirley Ewonchuk joked.
Judges, like Joe Cillo, got their fill during the Best Tamale Contest.
“My favorite was the sweet one, with the raspberry and the apple,” Cillo said.
The festival wrapped up with a tree lighting ceremony.