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Royal Oak Taco Fest promises more food, music in new location

Nov 08, 2023Nov 08, 2023

The upcoming Royal Oak Taco Fest will have a larger lineup of music, food trucks and activities.

That's according to Jon Witz, producer of the street festival that began in Royal Oak last year and attracted more than 60,000 people.

Even though it will be in a new location centered around the Centennial Commons downtown park with a larger footprint, Witz said this year's festival is planned to have fewer people each day.

"We’ll have quality and more choices for attendees without having a higher quantity of people," he said. "Last year's festival was a first-year event and we are going to make tweaks and I think we’ve made a lot of improvements this year."

An extra day was added, and the five-day festival will run from June 30 through July 4.

There will be four stages for over 100 musical and entertainment acts.

"The breadth of music throughout the event is a massive upgrade from last year," Witz said. "With an additional stage and an additional day for the festival we’ll have almost double the number of bands and a very enhanced family area."

More than 50 taquerias, taco trucks and other eateries will give attendees a selection of over 500 menu items.

"There will be a ton of tacos and tequila," Witz said.

Tacos featured will include chicken, fish, steak, pork and vegetarian varieties, along with classic American fare such as barbecue, seafood, Italian shaved ice, and deep-fried candy bars, along with Maine lobster, crab legs, roasted corn.

Among the food trucks wheeling into town are Torta Express from Detroit's Mexicantown, Que Pasa Taqueria from Sterling Heights with quesadillas, tortas and tacos. Whisky Taco Foxtrot of Clawson, and one of the original taco trucks in the region, Los Dos Amigos Taco Truck, which has been on the road for nearly a quarter of a century.

Altos Plata, Espolon and Hornitos tequilas will be offered at every bar setup at the festival, and the Tequila! Tequila! Cantina will have nine premium tequilas for adults to sample. The Margarita Fro-Zone will offer frozen or on-the-rocks margaritas in strawberry, raspberry, mango and other flavors.

Musical acts in an array of different genres from rock and R&B to jazz, alternative, country and other styles are scheduled to perform throughout the event.

Mariachi Jalisco, a Detroit mariachi band, will stroll throughout the festival area playing trumpets, guitars and violins.

Other strolling performers include a fire eater, a stilt walking cowgirl doing lassoing, and a man who juggles swords and saws.

Attendees can also take part in axe throwing at the HUB Stadium's Mobile Axe Throwing Trailer with experts.

This year's Taco Fest will have a larger Kids Zone at Centennial Commons with arts and crafts, face painting, bounce houses, and interactive entertainment such as the Randyl Lee Magic Show and Nat Spinz.

The Michigan Science Center will offer stories of how modern devices from the light bulb to the microwave oven were invented and about the scientists and inventors who developed them.

Other highlights of the four-day event include Lucha Libre Wrestling bouts and entertainment, and daily taco-eating and hot sauce competitions.

Even dogs and cats can get in on the action with owners who are at least 18 years old in the daily Yappy Hour Pet Costume Competition on the Kids Stage in Centennial Commons.

Awards will be given for best taco-themed pet competitions. Owners who dress up with their pets get extra points toward the final scores.

Admission to the Royal Oak Taco Fest is limited to reduce overcrowding and long lines, organizers said.

Tickets are $8 in advance and $12 at the festival gates. For advance tickets, festival hours and other information visit

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