Indian taco title decided Saturday

Nathan Thompson |
Joni Nash

Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director Joni Nash said if you love fry bread and Indian tacos, then you’ll love the annual National Indian Taco Championship. The festivities kick off Saturday morning along Kihekah Avenue in downtown Pawhuska.

Nash said everyone should come hungry and be prepared to taste the best traditional tacos around, while enjoying other events throughout the festival. The National Indian Taco Championship is presented by the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce, with sponsorships from Osage Nation Foundation, the Osage Nation, BlueSky Bank, Visit the Osage, Osage Casino, Vyve Broadband, Little Rain Song Loft, The Bank of Pawhuska, Enbridge, Sister’s Attic, Lorec Ranch Home Furnishings and Little Cupcake Boutique.

Nash provided some additional details about this year’s National Indian Taco Championship.

1 What can visitors expect during the National Indian Taco Championship?

This is such a great event, and this is at least our 14th year of the championship. Not only will we have Indian tacos for people to experience, but the whole of downtown will be filled with craft booths and other vendors showing what they have. We will have Native American dance demonstrations and an inter-tribal powwow going on throughout the day. There will also be plenty of things for kids to do too — like inflatables for them to play on and children’s games. We hope everyone brings the whole family to enjoy a beautiful day in downtown Pawhuska.

As an added bonus, local shops will be open for business during the Taco Championship and will provide a unique shopping experience to all festival-goers. Stick around to see if your favorite Indian taco is awarded a cash prize for best recipe at this year’s competition. Make your way to Pawhuska, feast on delicious tacos and enjoy everything this fun food festival has to offer.

2 What are the times for this year’s festival?

We will start up at 10 a.m. Saturday and then go through 4 p.m. when we hand out the awards for best recipe and the People’s Choice Award. With that said, we encourage everyone to get out here early because last year, we had so many people visiting, the competitors started running out of Indian tacos to sell.

3 How many people are you expecting?

Well, last year was our biggest year ever, with over 4,000 people coming downtown for the championship. We were named the outstanding event by Oklahoma Tourism and also won the Redbud Award. So, with those awards and the opening of the Mercantile, we expect even more people to be out and about on Saturday.

4 How does the judging work for the best Indian taco?

There are a couple of ways that we do it. We will have two rounds of judging and there is also the People’s Choice Award, which is a great way for visitors to participate and try out as many Indian tacos as they want. For the People’s Choice Award, the public can purchase a badge from us and then go around to the over 20 Indian taco vendors at the festival. They will only pay $2 at each booth to get a good sized sample of the Indian taco. After they try as many as they want, they come back and vote on their favorite.

5 What awards do the contestants get?

After everything is wrapped up at about 4 p.m., the winner of the People’s Choice Award will receive a $1,000 cash prize. For the judging, the grand champion will receive $2,000, second place receives $1,500 and third place will receive $1,000.