Over six years, the Taco Truck Throwdown has positioned tacos – real tacos not the hard-shelled monstrosity some pass off as such – at the top of Fresno’s food culture (you can ask this Fresno ex-pat. Or Alton Brown).
It’s done this, in part, by being one of the most talked about and anticipated events in town. Even early on, detractors bemoaned the massive crowds and long lines.
For its seventh year, the Throwdown is pushing to make the taco thing regional, with a two-day event that includes taco trucks and baseball, obviously, but also live music and an eating contest (a legit one, sanctioned by the group that does the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest).
“It’s something we wanted to do for awhile now,” says Mike Osegueda, one of the event’s organizers.
“We can’t pack that all in a Thursday night,” he says.
So: For the first time, the Throwdown gives up its traditional Thursday night slot. It moves to a Friday and Saturday, July 28-29. Night one will run like previous Throwdowns, with the taco trucks (more than 30 of them) set up and running during the Fresno Grizzlies (er, Fresno Tacos) game against the New Orleans Baby Cakes (dessert?).
There’s no game on night two, but the trucks will return and Major League Eating will be on hand with some of its competitors (maybe Joey Chestnut? He did just set the taco-eating record). Ticket information and a full schedule of events should be released in June, Osegueda says.
Taking the Throwdown into a weekend and giving it that “festival” vibe allows organizers to expand both the event and the audience. Getting someone to take the train in from Oakland on a random Thursday night is a hard sell, Osegueda says, even if it did happen last year.
“It’s about accommodating different sorts of people,” he says.