We decided to wander over to the Indio Tamale Festival this morning. The event is being held about 10 blocks from where we’re staying, but we decided to take the truck over as we figured we’d be walking most of the rest of the day, and we were right. We found a parking spot quite close to the path for the parade and wandered up the street to the area where a parade was in full swing.
Over the course of an hour or so we witnessed several marching bands from various schools in the area.
Some came with their own cheerleaders, and some cheer groups came on their own without a band, but brought their own canned music and football teams with them.
Yes, that’s right, this school’s team is called the Arabs. They even have a kind of Bedouin Sheik as a mascot.
The parade started out with the elementary school bands, and they were actually pretty good, but once the Middle and High School Bands came by we were treated to some very good, and very professional performances. We were really impressed with the great uniforms and costumes the schools outfitted their cheerleaders and band members with. This group was called The Rajah’s. Kind of strange names for mostly Hispanic student populations.
As anyone who’s seen a US College football game half-time show can attest, Marching Bands are a BIG deal in the States. I never gave it too much thought, but I figured that the Universities would have to train their students as they arrived at school, but today I learned that these kids are well prepared by the time they make it to college, and hit the ground running. I also learned that when a marching band, complete with several drum sets, walks by, it’s very loud! On several occasions the various bands set off the car alarms in vehicles parked on the side of the road and in a nearby alley.
They also had a group of Low-Riders come by, and were supposed to have a Car Show set up somewhere, but we never found it. My Oldsmobile could never do this.
After the parade we wandered over to the main area for the festival. They had 4 stages set up with a variety of entertainment, ranging from Kiddie Dance Ensemble,s to Sinatra style music, to 70’s cover bands, to full on Rock and Roll bands.
One of the bands we watched for a while was a group of 9 to 11 year olds called Y2BD (Yet To Be Determined). I wasn’t expecting much from Pre-Pre Teens, but they were actually really good. The singer had a hard time keeping up with Led Zeppelin lyrics, but he did OK on most of his stuff.
We wandered the area for a couple of hours and walked past more than 100 food and beverage tents. There were Tamale steamers absolutely everywhere, and it became obvious that some were much more popular than others. On one corner there was a stand called Grandma’s Authentic Tamales and the line up to get a Tamale there was about 200 feet long. Easily 10 to 20 times longer than any other vendor. We were far too hungry by the time we came to this stand to wait, but managed to sample a couple of others. Sylvia had never had a Tamale before other than sampling some of mine whenever I order one. She was quite surprised how good our choices were, but as I said, not all Tamales are created equal. The first stand we tried had very good Masa (a starchy corn based dough) but not much for fillings. The second stand had much more generous and tasty fillings, but the Masa was greasier. The Masa is made by mixing corn Hominy with spices and Oil (the traditional method is to use Lard – I didn’t let Sylvia know this until after she ate it), stuffing it with a filling, wrapping it in a Corn Husk and then steaming it.
To top off our lunch Sylvia decided she’d like to try another dish that she’d never tasted. Several of the vendors were selling Funnel Cakes. I don’t think these are available in Canada, though we don’t attend many fairs and carnivals where they are usually available. I do admit to helping her eat this Bad Boy, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It might not surprise you to know that we’re having Salad for supper though.
The weather has cooled off a bit, but nothing like at home. We were more than comfortable in jeans and a light jacket at the festival, maybe even too warm when I was in the sun. The trend looks good though, and gets even warmer next week.
Tomorrow’s plans include seeing a show from Australia called the Ten Tenors. It should be good!