National Indian Taco XII will be held Oct. 1

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

The first Saturday in October — which this year falls on Oct. 1 — has been designated as the date for the 2016 National Indian Taco Championship.

With the unmistakable aroma of freshly-prepared Indian tacos, cooking competitions, various vendors and traders, music, American Indian dancing and all sorts of entertainment, the NITC has become one of downtown Pawhuska’s premiere events.

Organizers of the 12th-annual NITC are hoping that new vendors and additional competitions will increase attendance at the downtown festival, which this year will last from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Patricia Counts, the event chairwoman with the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce, said applications are currently being accepted for Indian taco contestants and non-food vendors.

For contestants, there is a $50 application fee, plus an additional $15 for electricity, she said. Spots for nonfood vendors go for $30 without electricity and $50 with electricity, officials said.

Last year’s Indian Taco Championship earned statewide recognition by garnering two awards — The Red Dirt Report’s Best Food Festival and 2016 Merit Award for Outstanding Event given by the Oklahoma Conference on Tourism RedBud Award.

Contestants will sell their Indian tacos to the public as part of a separate competition: the People’s Choice Award. By purchasing a $5 taster’s kit, event-goers receive the opportunity to judge the entries. NITC judging starts at 10 a.m. and winners are announced between 3-4 p.m.

Prizes include $1,500 for first; $1,000 for second and $500 for third place. Plus the contestant judged as the People’s Choice wins $1,000.

Vendors are offering snow cones, baked goods, Native American beadwork, art work, jewelry and much more, organizers said. In addition, a Native American Dance Competition is sure to be a crowd pleaser for all ages.

“It will be a great time for children and adults, so we hope to see a huge crowd this year,” Counts added.

For more information about the event, or for contestant and sponsorship inquiries, contact the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce at 918-287-1208 or via email at