When we first heard about the NJ Taco Festival we knew we would have to attend. We are big fans of tacos so it was a quick decision to mark the calendar for September 12th at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta. We are not alone in our love of the tasty Mexican dish. Thousands descended on the festival and braved the spotty weather to indulge.
We’ve wanted to get down to Union to try The Red Cadillac for a while now but hadn’t made it yet. Luckily they were here and were the first tacos we had. We had the beef tacos and they were quite tasty.
The tacos had soft tortillas with spicy beef, lettuce, cheese and sour cream. A simple start to a feast of tacos.
Next we had some specialty tacos from Fiesta Cancun out of Rahway.
We got a chipotle chicken soft taco and tuna tartare taco on a crispy wonton. These were delicious. The chipotle could have been a spicier. In fact, I couldn’t detect much at all. But, it was a good chicken taco. The tuna tartare taco, though, was really good. Cool, fresh tuna with that seriously crunchy wonton shell was excellent and reasonably priced.
Many vendors had really good prices on Saturday. I was impressed by that. Sometimes, due to the nature of the food truck industry you pay a premium for great mobile food. There weren’t many tacos that I thought were too expensive here.
West Milford’s Ruby Rose was serving simple, yet fantastic, crunchy beef tacos. We didn’t run into many crunchy tacos at other vendors so we were happy to get to try these. The shells were forgiving and didn’t completely fall apart on the first bite but yielded lots of crispy corn texture to the soft beefy filling.
Our friends and neighbors from Bloomfield, El Matador—who serve some of the best Mexican food we have had—were also keeping people happy with their tasty pork tacos.
Lots of people were dressed in sombreros and taco shirts and were really getting into the taco spirit. This guy took it to a whole new level!
A big find for us were the outstanding veggie tacos being served up by Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary. Black beans tacos with roasted corn, cole slaw and topped with your choice of their own housemade hot sauces. These were our favorite tacos of the day.
We definitely want to learn more about this organization of people helping neglected and abused farm animals.
There were also many events going on including salsa and guacamole contests, a chihuahua costume contest, and wrestling. Third place, Lefty the Luchador, is shown above. And, Bailey, the first place winner, is a pinata below.
Groups of adults and families alike enjoyed their trip to Sussex County for tacos.
You didn’t even have to have all tacos. There were vendors for guacamole, roasted corn, chicken, BBQ and hot sauce all over.
Sure the lines were long. Some, admittedly very long. Were there enough food vendors? Probably could have used a few more. As others have mentioned some bands would have been nice.
We saw these guys wandering the festival but we never heard them play.
There definitely needed to be more bathroom facilities, too. There was a two-pronged line for about twenty port-o-potties serving the whole festival. Where there are tacos and beer, there definitely should have been more potties!
However, first year festivals are always a learning experience. The first Pork Roll Festival also did not anticipate the turnout and the second year went a lot smoother. Hopefully the organizers work the kinks out and next year’s festival is even better.
Check out all the pictures from our visit to the First Annual New Jersey Taco Festival:
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