Last December, I was lucky to attend the First Annual Tamale Festival in Somerton AZ. It was a fantastic experience for someone who loves tamales. Let's face it, most restaurant tamales aren't very good. Most of us also don't have relatives who home make tamales. And even if grandma or auntie make a couple batches every holiday, we usually only get to try one or two different kinds each year.
At the festival last year, there were over 20 different home vendors selling their wares. Some folks had two or three different kinds. You could buy individual tamales, combo plates, and tamales by the dozen or half dozen. The proceeds help fund scholarships to ASU for first generation college attendees.
Anyway, I just learned that Somerton will be hosting another tamale fest this year, on Saturday, December 13. Here's a link to their website:
The website also includes a link to a blogpost that I did about last year's festival.
I have also posted a notice about the festival at mmm-yoso, along with some musings about the complex symbolism of this traditional dish:
Anyway, if you love tamales, a trip down to SW AZ (Somerton is a few miles south of Yuma) on December 13 will be well worth the trouble. The festival will go on from 11 am to 10 pm, but for best selection, I wouldn't arrive right at the end.