Perhaps Roxanna Martinez’s reputation preceded her at the seventh annual Diboll Tamale Festival on Saturday at Old Orchard Park. The perennial winner of the Tamale Cooking Contest ran out of tamales before 11 a.m.
Martinez made as many tamales as she usually does for her Mama’s Tamales booth, but the festival brought in more people this year – many of them making a beeline for her booth.
Martinez made sure, though, that she had enough tamales to enter in the contest and took all three categories – Best Pork, Best Chicken, Best Other.
However, the estimated crowd of about 3,000 seemed to have enough to eat as many festival-goers were still sampling the food booths’ offerings until the Grupo Dezatado closed the event with a Tejano concert at 5 p.m.
“I think it was a big success. I’m very happy with the turnout,” said Loretta Christmas, the director of the Lottie & Arthur Temple Civic Center, who heads up the Tamale Festival. “We had a lot of extra stuff going on this year; that, and the awesome weather kept people here and having a good time.”
Among the offerings – in addition to tamales – were a petting zoo, rock wall, a bubble machine, wrestling, a volleyball tournament and folklorico dancers.
“The petting zoo was just the coolest thing. It’s a family-run business. They had their kids with them helping. Everyone really enjoyed that,” Christmas said. “The rock wall had a line for forever, and the bubble machine was just great entertainment for the kids.”
There were lots of things to see and do, but mainly the festival is about tamales.
“I didn’t get there in time to get the tamales I wanted. I was warned to get there early,” said Rebecca Brueck, who with her husband, Mike, drove up from Baytown to attend the festival with friends in Diboll. “But, the ones we got were great. We bought a couple dozen to take, home, too.”
Photos from the Tamale Festival will be posted on the civic center’s Facebook page.