Who makes the best tamales

Indio International Tamale Festival

If you've never removed the corn leaves from tamales to reveal the delicious, hot masa inside, rejoice because something great is waiting for you. The Indio International Tamale Festival is held every December in Indio in Coachella Valles, 50 kilometers from Palm Springs. The festival is the largest of its kind in the world, and it's the perfect opportunity to taste authentic, homemade tamales made from recipes from all over Central and South America.

More than 300 vendors serve delicious tamales, along with other food and drink options - but the tamales are without a doubt the reason why hungry visitors storm the free event every year. The IITF has a competition for the best recipe, a food contest, a parade, rides and a farmers' market. Over 300,000 tamales are consumed at the festival each year. There is live music, rock, funk and R&B, folklore dancers, Latino and mariachi bands on a total of five stages, and there is also a car show with roaring hotrods and lowriders. There is a map of the festival site on the festival website. Visitors can even learn how tamales and tortillas are made at the demonstration booth. For the little ones there is a piƱata area and an interactive art zone in the Kids Zone, sponsored by S.C.R.A.P. (Student Creative Recycling Art Program).

It's no wonder that the event, which has been in existence since 1992, is on the Food Network's top 10 list of American food festivals.

Note: Entry is free, and parking is free at the Larson Justice Center. Only assistance dogs are allowed.