The very first Yakima Taco Fest, held in 2018, was such a success it immediately outgrew its original location on Historic Front Street in Downtown Yakima. Four years and two locations later, the 2023 festival welcomed nearly 4,000 people. It’s a delicious day filled with tacos, both traditional and fusion, as well as an array of other foods and drinks. It’s also a day to dance to the rhythms of Latin music and enjoy traditional performances, art displays, and artisan goods in the mercado. Most importantly, it’s a day to bring the valley’s diverse community together and give recognition to local, small businesses and agricultural workers. Hosted by the Central Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (CWHCC), Yakima Taco Fest has become one of the community’s favorite festivals of the year.
Yanira Cisneros, CWHCC Chair
What inspired the creation of Yakima Taco Fest?
The festival was inspired by the desire to celebrate the local community, showcase diverse culinary traditions, and recognize the contributions of local businesses and the importance of agriculture workers. As a nonprofit organization Yakima Taco Fest is our fundraiser for the year which allows our chamber to serve our membership and community. We wanted to bring together the community through food and music while appreciating our region’s cultural diversity. The vision has not changed, but the goals have, we will continue to listen to the community, our vendors and of course our wonderful volunteers and make the necessary changes to continue to have a successful Yakima Taco Fest (YTF).
Taco Fest is clearly more than a food festival. As an event that brings so many different people together, what do you think it means for the community?
Thank you for asking this question because it is one of the successes the Board of Directors is most proud of for YTF! It serves as a significant community event that plays a crucial role in bringing people together from all backgrounds and demographics. The festival allows for cultural celebrations of our community in Central Washington. By attracting a large and varied audience, the festival fosters a sense of unity and connection among our attendees. These shared experiences, such as enjoying food, music, and entertainment together, can help build stronger bonds within the community. The festival also contributes to the local economy by providing exposure and support to small businesses, YTF serves as a platform for local vendors, artisans, and businesses to showcase their products. I believe that Yakima Taco Fest contributes to a positive community spirit as it’s an event that the community looks forward to each year.
With such rich traditions behind the foods, music and other parts of the festival, what do you hope people take away with them?
My hope is that people take away the beauty of our region, and how fortunate we are to have a diverse population. The strong sense of community, belonging and unity is evident if you attend Yakima Taco Fest.
How does the festival help support CWHCC’s mission?
Yakima Taco Fest is our fundraising event. The proceeds from the event allow our chamber to focus on increasing access to economic opportunities for business owners, entrepreneurs, and individuals by connecting and providing them with resources, representation, and opportunities to build community.