“Welcome to Taco Hell.”

The Orlando Taco Festival took place in Lake Nona on February 29th and March 1st.

In what should have been a fun night, filled with live music, mixed drinks, and taco galore, ended up being a night filled with huge disappointment. This past weekend, Orlandoans were invited to attend to the Orlando Taco Festival, held at the Drive Shack in Lake Nona, FL. Attendees had the option to select one of three ticket options: general admission, premium admission, and VIP admission. Each ticket tier offered different benefits. All ticket options were sold out for both event dates days prior to launching. Much to the dismay of many event goers, people were forced to wait to enter due to the large mass of people inside the grounds.

Hundreds gather around and lined up to try tacos from select local vendors.
Hundreds gather around and lined up to try tacos from select local vendors.
While waiting, attendees could enter giveaways for certain prizes.
While waiting, attendees could enter giveaways for certain prizes.

As a selling point, those with VIP admission could enter as early as 12:00 PM Saturday and Sunday. Those who could manage to snag one of the last few general admission tickets could enter after 5:00 PM. I entered the event around 2:00 PM to a rather organized mess with confusion stemming from the masses. Parking was a nightmare and already was full by the time I arrived. Anticipating this, the event planners hired third party shuttles to pick up guests from the local town center parking garage to transport them to the event grounds. Due to that even being crowded, I opted to take the scenic route.

I was impressed with the fact that there were numerous vendors participating. Over 20 different taco venders showed up to offer their meals, ranging from brisket tacos to fresh guac, and from pulled pork nachos to vegan options. Sadly, however, by just a little before 3:00 PM –just 3 hours after starting — many vendors had already sold out of product. And as far as crowd management goes, event workers did very little to manage the chaotic lines that intertwined and merged all in one.

My experience was cut short and I left with a hunger for more–something that should not happen at a taco festival. Overall, I was disappointed as I assumed this was not the first time the event took place, yet it seemed like it. On a positive note, however, the margaritas were solid. A+ on that!