Call them the Fyre Fests of the foodie world. Earlier this month, a British cheese festival ran into issues after it ran out of cheese. Now, over the weekend, a taco festival held in Portland, Oregon, reportedly turned to chaos after patrons complained that they couldn't get any tacos. As a result, police were called in to help manage the unhappy crowd and the second day of the two-day event had to be canceled.
Portland Taco Fest was billed as "Portland's LARGEST celebration of the beloved TACO!" according to the event's website. Organizers promised "a full weekend of fun and food," with "several thousand" taco lovers having a chance to enjoy food from "a carefully crafted group of the best TACO creators in the whole city." The event also boasted "a giant Tequila expo and tasting area, great live music, Lucha Libre Wrestling, High Speed Daredevil Chihuahua Racing, (Yea, I said Chihuahua racing) Live game shows [...] and much, much more!" To be honest, they had us at "taco fest," but sure, it all sounds like fun.
Reporting from the aftermath, Portland's KATU News described a much different scene: Hundreds of people demanding refunds, some saying they waited 90 minutes without getting any tacos whatsoever. "We got in line and we weren't going anywhere," one attendee told the news station, "and then someone told us that the taco truck ran out of food."
As a result of Saturday's chaos, organizers canceled Sunday's event and posted a long apology online, saying that "some key issues ... made the event fall short" and that they "take full responsibility for everything." Technical problems apparently played a role, with the fest saying that a lack of power cut into prep time. But oddly enough, a major issue was that apparently many of the taco vendors were not serving Mexican cuisine. "There were maybe 3 or 4 taco trucks," one festival-goer stated on Facebook, "the rest of the trucks were bbq, Asian, Greek or desserts."
The organizers admitted that this was true: "Our signage on vendors maybe wasn't as clear as it should have been," they wrote. "ALL VENDORS OFFERED A TACO OPTION so ironically there were plenty of tacos when the lines were heading to only a few trucks. No food vendor was booked for the taco fest unless they were serving tacos." It does seem a bit odd to hold a "taco fest" with only a few traditional taco vendors. May we suggest billing next year's event as the "Portland Experimental Taco Fest" instead?
This story originally appeared on Foodandwine.com.