This past weekend PPLA was amongst the thousands in attendance at the 4th annual LA Taco Festival. Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights set the stage for this day as a busy intersection transformed into an arrangement of various different booths, stages and concessions.
Amidst the extensive lines of famished spectators were a range of sponsors from massive companies such as Ford and Direct TV down to smaller educational institutions and companies like Uber. Scattered between the food and the sponsors were various different local vendors selling a variety of Latino goods including blankets, candles, artwork, and jewelry with the predominant theme being the Virgin Mary.
This delicious festival was presented by Jovenes Inc., which is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping homeless youth and at-risk families become productive and integrated members of the community. With three different living facilities ranging from an emergency shelter to long term residency, these provide housing for approximately 120 youth annually. In addition to shelter, they provide many supportive services such as employment and job readiness counseling. They also teach life skills such as financial literacy, housing readiness, creation of savings accounts and leadership development to enable success in the future. All the proceeds go to supporting housing solutions for homeless youth.
With multiple levels of admission, fest goers had the choice to pay $4 per taco, $20 for the all you can eat tickets, or $45 for combined access to the food and entrance to the VIP lounge. Enclosed by covered chain link fences, the VIP lounge was one of the only places to enjoy the comfort of shade during the 90+ degree weather. VIP ticket holders flocked to the cover of umbrellas to enjoy the tequila tasting, beer garden and private DJ.
With the sounds and smells of mariachi bands and carne asada, this food fest brought the highest attendance of any previous year with 5,000+ attendees. Despite the blazing heat the festival was a great success.
For more information on this NPO including how to make a donation visit www.jovenesinc.org
Photo Credit, Shaina Denny