Top Taco's return added some spicy heat to a cool autumn evening when welcoming an excited and crowd hungry for tacos and tequila, but most especially an in-person festival. The resulting fiesta did not disappoint.
With gates opening at LaFreniere Park in Metairie on Thursday October 28 at 6 p.m. for VIPs and 7 p.m. for general admission, the Mexican-themed celebration was a fitting kickoff to the Halloween weekend, which culminates with Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), so many skeletal "deceased family members" could be found on both sides of the tables, either eating or serving.
The expansive section of the park encompassing the festival allowed elbow room for eaters to balance their innovative dual plate-and-cup holders, provided by The Riverwalk, while social distancing. A couple small stages were strategically placed around the grounds—one in the El Tesoro VIP Lounge—so differing genres did not impact each other, along with the large main stage playing to the masses. A Pacifico Airstream catered to weary festival-goers needing to sit down.
In the center, the WWE-style Lucha Libre wrestling ring kept people entertained by the competitors' slapstick moves. A cluster of tents also in the middle included Fidelity Bank Live Fan Voting and selfie-cam, info desk, souvenirs, and a two-storey "I LOVE TACOS" light sign, which often had a line for people taking instagram-worthy pics.
Over 50 restaurants and purveyors, including reigning Ultimate Taco Champ Johnny Sanchez, were spread among the 37 tents, many with long, but surprisingly fast-moving lines. As it got later, the lengthening lines of foodies gravitating to tastier taco and tequila contestants was an early indicator of probable winners.
2021 Top Taco Winners
Best Creative Taco/Judges Pick - Palm & Pine
Beyond being a successful celebration of popular cuisine in the New Orleans area, Top Taco proceeds also benefited the PLEASE Foundation, which provides mentoring, leadership training, and scholarships to at-risk students with the ultimate goal of having each student be accepted into college to achieve their greatest potential. Salud to that!