Tamales and atole, a traditional Mexican dish

Green salsa tamale and strawberry atole

Celebrate the rich tastes, smells and variations of tamales from the Southwest and Mexico at Casino Del Sol’s Tucson Tamal & Heritage Festival, back for its 16th year after last year’s hiatus. Held on the first Saturday of December at AVA Amphitheater, the festival marks the beginning of our holiday season. More than 10,000 attendees are expected!

Guests will enjoy live local entertainment including Tejano acts, Folklórico groups, Aztec dancer, Mariachis and Pascua Yaqui Tribe cultural dancers. In addition to all sorts of tamales, Indian fry bread, tacos, burritos, kettle corn, churros and aguas frescas will be available. Shop for unique gifts from artisan vendors selling jewelry, beadwork, blankets, artwork, paintings and woodwork. Farmers market vendors also will be there with jams, hats, soaps, shirts, chiles and more.

The high point of the event will be the tamale contest, determined by more than 50 judges in four categories: traditional, red, green corn, gourmet and sweet.

Prizes will reward the best, with the top prize of $750 going to the best overall tamal winner.

The event provides participants the opportunity to raise funds for their organizations, households and communities as vendors.

TucsonLifestyle.com is a media partner.