A table after tamale experience. Photo by Scott Ball.
A table after the tamale experience. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

The holiday season is full of countless celebrations for families and people of all ages to enjoy, but for many, there is one particular holiday tradition that beats them all: tamales.

On Saturday, Dec. 3 from noon-6 p.m. steam will rise from metal trays and the smell of masa will fill the air as the Pearl hosts the seventh annual Tamales! Holiday Festival. In years past, the event has attracted up to 20,000 people eager to split open tamales, drink aguas frescas, and have a full-on cultural experience.

La Hacienda Product's tamales.
La Hacienda Product’s tamales. Credit: Jaime Solis / San Antonio Report

Guests will have a chance to enjoy children’s activities, live music, and performances from Mariachi Las Alteñas, Los Inocentes, Ile Bahia de San Antonio (Capoeira), and Max Baca & Los Texmaniacs.

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees will have the opportunity to sample tamales from more than 40 vendors such as Chilito’s, Marioli, Cocina Heritage, and more. Food and beverage prices will range from $1-5, and ATMs will be available on site.

For many San Antonio families, tamales symbolize more than just a meal. The assembly of a tamal – drenching shredded pork in red chile, preparing different fillings to stuff inside the masa, rolling and tucking the husks – is a tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation.

San Antonio’s citywide holiday tamalada at the Pearl will showcase a wide range of tamales: from vegan tamales to tamales wrapped in banana leaves, from traditional San Antonio styles to regional variations from Mexico, every tamal offered is sure to provide a surprising take on the classic dish.

On-site parking at the Pearl and adjacent parking will be available in East and West lots, the 281 South lot off of Avenue A, in the Emma Koehler Garage, and in the River West lots across the river.

In addition, free parking will be offered at the AT&T lot on the corner of Hildebrand Avenue and Broadway Street. After parking at the AT&T lot, guests can enjoy a complimentary day pass to ride VIA buses to the event, but tickets are limited.

Other VIA routes, such as 9, 10, 11, and 14 will also provide service to the event. For information on other routes visit VIA’s website or call (210) 362-2020.

To further combat parking woes, the Pearl is offering alternate transportation options: a free shuttle service will run from the overflow parking lot at the Metropolitan Methodist Hospital to the drop-off at Avenue A and Mueller Street from 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.

Credit: Courtesy / Pearl Brewery

For cyclists, two B-Cycle locations are available at the Pearl, and Bike World will be sponsoring a complimentary Bike Valet station at their store on 300 E. Grayson St.

For more information, visit the Pearl’s website.

Rocío Guenther

Rocío Guenther worked as a bilingual reporter and editorial assistant for the Rivard Report from June 2016 to October 2017. She is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico and holds a bachelor's in English...