NEW ORLEANS – Top Taco presented by Modelo Beer returns for year 5 on Thursday, Oct. 27, kicking off the Halloween weekend celebration.
This year’s all-inclusive taco and tequila throw-down takes place at Lafreniere Park in Metairie, LA. The one-night-only event will continue to benefit the PLEASE Foundation, a non-profit that provides mentorship, leadership training, and scholarships to at-risk teens in the area. Event producer Shane Finkelstein is using the shift in dates from Spring to Fall to continue to grow his newly launched and very successful FOOD FIGHT event in May.
“Our fans, sponsors, and restaurant partners loved Lafreniere Park and the move to October. The park’s proximity to the city, ample parking and beautiful grounds makes it the ideal location for our event,” said Finkelstein.
Amongst all the difficulties of producing an event in 2021, Top Taco’s move to Jefferson Parish enabled event organizers to raise over $30,000 for the PLEASE Foundation while putting on the type of event that Top Taco fans have come to expect. Finkelstein credits the continued support of Top Taco’s sponsors and participating restaurants for the ability to host the event in 2021. The hugely popular event debuted on the New Orleans festival scene in 2017. Since then, the event has raised more than $100,000.00 for local non-profit organizations.
“Top Taco is back at Lafreniere Park, but this year we are moving to the waterfront area and islands surrounding the spacious pond,” said Finkelstein. “Every year, we aim to exceed expectations and this move will allow us to take advantage of the infrastructure in place so that we can bring back our popular entertainment elements.”
This year’s event will include three stages of live music, lucha libre, the popular mezcal tent, and the Casamigos Costume Contest, plus new and exciting art and entertainment.
The big addition to this year’s event will be a BBQ demonstration and taco competition on the islands in the VIP area curated by World BBQ Champion James Cruse and emceed by popular Mississippi restaurateur Brad Orrison of The Shed. Eight of the best barbecue joints in the city will battle it out for bragging rights and NOLA Boards awards.
“The VIP BBQ competition is huge at Top Taco Denver,” said Finkelstein, “so why not bring it to New Orleans and show off the amazing BBQ joints we have in the city?”
On the main lawn, Top Taco fans and celebrity judges choose the winners for Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Creative Tequila Cocktail, Top Traditional Margarita– and new this year- Top Vegetarian Taco.
Already confirmed restaurants include previous winners Johnny Sanchez, Velvet Cactus, The Joint, Los Jefes, Palm&Pine, Southern’s, Habaneros, and Felipe’s. Returning spirits include Don Julio, Milagro, Hornitos, Herradura, Patron, Ghost Tequila, Avion, Corralejo, Who Dat Spirits, Wetlands Sake, and Casamigos.
BBQ Competitors include Desi Vegas Smokehouse, City Pork, Smoked, Gonzo’s Smokehouse & BBQ, NOLA Cochon King, and Frey Meat Company.
Fest-goers will also enjoy creative pop-up bar areas and DJ lounges, tequila tastings, live Latin music by Otra and Muevelo, and eye-popping visual elements.
Tickets for Top Taco 2022 will go on sale Tuesday, July 12, with early-bird discounts starting at $50. Regular ticketing options include $135.00 VIP, $105.00 Early Entry/First Tasting, and $85.00 General Admission. Once inside the festival, all food, drinks, and entertainment are included. Visit www.toptaconola.com for more information.
Lafreniere Park is located at 3000 Downs Boulevard in Metairie, L.A., ten minutes from downtown New Orleans, just off the I-10 exit at Veterans Blvd.