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Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Spicy Side of Life


Taco Wars is headed downtown to rumble

Conflict seems to be a common theme recently, and the Prize Foundation is capitalizing on it with a battle of its own. It’s called Taco Wars, and it’s headed for downtown Shreveport on April 30 from noon to 8 p.m. in front of the historic Municipal Auditorium.

Prize Foundation Executive Director Gregory Kallenberg took time off from event preparations to tell 318 Forum readers more about this intragalactic struggle.

318 Forum: Whose bright idea was this?

Gregory Kallenberg: In 2018, I was asked by Kelly Wells and the Tourist Bureau to help book food trucks for a Latino soccer tournament. Anyone who knows me or knows how we do things at the Prize Foundation knows that we don’t do anything the normal way. I looked at this as an opportunity to showcase two of my favorite things: Latino culture and tacos. With that in mind, I crafted a taco and salsa festival and competition that was built to put a spotlight on Latino culture. The first year at LSUS, we built the inaugural Taco Wars for 500 people, and, in the pouring rain, 2,000 people showed up. The moment I was confronted by the fire marshal, I knew we had something special.

318: Why tacos?

GK: Aside from tacos being one of the most amazingly delicious things on the planet, it’s also one of the foods that bring all of us together. Beyond that, what people might not understand is that Shreveport/Bossier has one of the best taco scenes in the nation. I’ve actually been told that we have one of the highest taco per capita rates in the country. All that said, Taco Wars was built to celebrate all of this.

318: Is this the inaugural event?

GK: This is the third Taco Wars, but it’s the first time we’ve hosted Taco Wars downtown and extended our hours from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. We are super-excited to show off Shreveport’s downtown and eat tacos, drink margaritas and dance to Tropical Panama in the shadow of the legendary Municipal on the infamous Elvis Presley Boulevard.

318: The news release says it’s free, but there are also advance tickets for sale and VIP passes?

GK: Admission to the event is free (no charge at the gate). There will be a DJ, two live musical acts as well as a kids’ area. Additionally, all taquerias will be giving out free tastings of chips and salsas. Every festival goer can taste all they want and then use the voting token they receive at the gate to vote for and help crown our best salsa winner.

All other food and beverages will be sold using a ticket system (1 ticket = $1). People can buy tickets ahead of time in bundles of 10 to save time standing in ticket lines.

We also have a VIP experience for Taco Wars, which includes: (ticket = $150)

• VIP Taco Tickets and Taco Xpress Line Access

• VIP Bar featuring complimentary Modelo beers, Pulpoloco Sangria, White Claw and Coca Cola products

• “VIP Momentos Especials,” including guided Maestro Dobel tequila tasting. Trust us; you don’t want to miss these!

• Plus access to tented seating in the Taco Wars VIP Tent and reserved seating by the Taco Wars stage.

318: What do attendees need to know about parking, facilities, etc.? Will Municipal be open for tours during the event?

GK: There is lots of downtown parking, including the lots behind First United Methodist, along Austen Place between Texas and Milam, and street parking. We ask that people be respectful of private lots.

The Municipal will not be open for tours during the event, but the building will be open so attendees can access restrooms.

318: Will there also be fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches in honor of Elvis?

GK: Ha! I love it! Maybe a fried peanut butter and banana taco? Come down and find out if someone does one.

318 What else should people interested in Taco Wars need to know?

Casa de Tequila will feature house and top-shelf margaritas in addition to Maestro Dobel tequila tastings.

Kallenberg said the forces gathering for the epic battle include:

El Novillo Carniceria, La Potranca, Mi Mercadito, Mi Meza Latin Cuisine, Ramirez Mexican Restaurant, Taqueria El Eden, Taqueria La Reyna del Sur, Taqueria Mi Palmar, Taqueria San Miguel and Uneeda Taco.

For more information, check out the event website at https://prizefest.com/tacowars/.


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