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Utah Tacofest returns for first time since COVID-19 pandemic, serves up good food for a great cause

Posted at 6:08 PM, Aug 06, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Tacofest is back this year for a two-day event at the Utah State Fairpark.

Beginning Saturday, there was live music, car shows, giveaways and plenty of tacos.

"There's 37 taco vendors right now and in total," said Marcelo Bayon, a co-organizer for the event.

Bayon said they held the first Tacofest back in 2017 and it has continued to grow ever since. He says taco makers from across the state made their way to the Utah State Fairpark this weekend.

"I want to say like 40 percent are actually from Utah County, then around 40 percent here in Salt Lake County and then we have some from up north," said Bayon.

Bayon told FOX 13 News on Sunday that this is the first event that has been held since before the COVID-19 pandemic. He says he expects anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 people to attend the event over the course of two days.

Like in years past, Bayon says this event is put on for a good cause. Portions of the proceeds from general admission ticket sales from the Utah Tacofest with be donated to a deserving charity.

This year, the after-school program at Kennedy Jr. High School was selected as a chosen charity for the event.

Frank Bedolla has been a coordinator with the program for five years.

"I've actually served... per year, about over 300 kids," he said. "I usually average about 30 to 35 kids per day at a junior high."

He says the program runs Monday through Friday, for two and a half hours each day.

"It is an after-school program to actually help kids increase their grades and do some enrichment classes," said Bedolla.

Bedolla said the funds received from the event couldn't come at a better time, with school getting ready to start later this month.

"The gap for me every year is about $2,500 to $5,000. That will help me make sure these kids get the incentives that they need," said Bedolla. "For example, they get a 2.0 GPA, we go on a field trip, and I want to make sure these kids get rewarded and recognized that they're doing hard work."

The Fathers and Families Coalition of Utah was also selected as a charity for the event.

"We hope that we can bring a bunch of awareness to the charities that we're helping this year," said Bayon.

The 2023 Utah Tacofest wraps up at 8 p.m. Sunday night.