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For a fun-loving city used to big festivals attended by thousands of people, it’s been a long, tough, and quiet year after all major live events were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Finally, there’s a festival returning to Long Beach this month, but it’s not one of the big multi-tiered music events that can claim to be the first back.

No, that honor goes to the humble taco.

The first Long Beach Taco Festival is the first festival in town since the pandemic lockdown began in March 2020.

The one-day event will take place in the Long Beach Scottish Rite parking lot on Sunday, May 23rd, from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

“I’m so excited that we’ll be listening to live music, eating and being outside, and it’s going to be a good time,” said Elizabeth Martinez, general manager of Long Beach Home + Living, which, along with The Long Beach Convention Center, does Scottish Rite and Roxannes Cocktail Lounge organize the festival.

“I just hope everyone is comfortable, welcome, and excited about something like this,” she said.

“And who doesn’t love tacos?” She added.

About 750 people are expected at the festival, including nearly a dozen taco vendors, trucks, and restaurants setting up stalls to sell their tacos.

So far, food trucks like Mini Birrieria and Bryan’s Birria have been on the list of foods that will serve their versions of the Mexican meat stew. Other trucks like Savage Tacos serve jerk chicken and wonton tacos, while the pop-up Junkies LBC Vegan Tacos serve plant-based options.

Brick-and-mortar restaurants like La Chancla in Long Beach and El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos in Westside will also be bringing some of their tacos to the festival. More providers and restaurants will be added in the next few days.

And do you remember live music at festivals?

Well, that’s back too with a range of lively cumbia, salsa, and other Latin music pulled from a handful of acts including Spaghetti Cumbia from Boyle Heights calling themselves little cumbia, little cowboy. and Los Surlys, which is more of a groovy type of cumbia band.

But yes, there is still a pandemic. So don’t expect to grab a taco and jump into a cumbia dance pit without worrying about the world because there are safety rules.

“People need to get out there and have fun, but of course we follow safety protocols and guidelines. It’s just the new way of doing things to make sure people feel safe. But when we bring festivals back, we return to a certain.” Back to normal, “he told Robert Molina, owner of Roxannes Cocktail Lounge.

There will be temperature controls on the door, masks will be needed inside and once people get their tacos and drinks they will have to go to a separate seating area where they can relax and listen to live music.

“But festivals are back and the tacos did it,” said Molina.

When you go

When: noon-6 p.m. May 23

Where: Scottish Rite, 855 Elm Ave.

Cost: $ 20 (includes a taco), $ 40 (includes taco and beer), $ 60 (includes taco, beer, popsicle, and VIP bar access)

Information: lbhomeliving.com