Gina Evans, of Ke’Niya’s Kitchen, stirs up some cilantro rice at Royal Oak Taco Fest July 3.

Gina Evans, of Ke’Niya’s Kitchen, stirs up some cilantro rice at Royal Oak Taco Fest July 3.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

Through weather delays, Taco Fest still sees good attendance in Royal Oak

By: Mike Koury | Royal Oak Review | Published July 10, 2023

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ROYAL OAK — Amid issues with weather, the second annual Royal Oak Taco Fest was held at the beginning of the month.

The Royal Oak Taco Fest was held June 30 to July 4 with more than 50 food trucks and establishments parked in the downtown to serve thousands in attendance.

According to Event Producer Jon Witz, the festival was attended by 40,000 people over the course of five days, though that number was less than what was projected because of rainouts.

“The great news is that when the weather was good, people came out in a solid fashion and a lot of the improvements that we made with a bigger footprint and more food trucks and the family area especially, which was new and expanded, all were received very well,” he said. “We were happy that we fought through the weather and most of the restaurants came out well and the event came out well.”

A couple of the days during Taco Fest suffered rain delays, which took away from the event’s projected attendance of 60,000.

Witz said the rainfall had a significant effect, but the good news was that when they had a closure — like they did on July 1 for close to an hour — because they were in Royal Oak, that meant there were businesses nearby for people to visit and wait out the rain.

“As soon as the weather broke and the lightning threat was gone, people came flying back out. Many of them went into a Royal Oak business or could get to their car easily and come back,” he said. “So we did see the event recover from the weather issues that we had, which tells us that the event is well received and well attended.”

One of the many food trucks in attendance was Nepantla, run by Rocky Coronado. The Detroit-based food truck had the honor of winning best entree at the event.

Known for its vegan and vegetarian Mexican dishes, this was Nepantla’s first time at a festival like this. Though Taco Fest had more rain than they would have liked, Coronado said the experience was good and the event went well.

“It was my very first time at one and we had a lot of prep work, but we prepped and we kept prepping and we kept pumping out all the tacos that we could,” Coronado said a few days after the festival. “I think it went really smooth. I’ve gotten message after message saying what great service, how everything tasted. I’ve gotten about three or four messages a day since we’ve started, at least.”