Chicago Taco Fest Turns Out to Be Huge Scam

More than 1,000 people RSVP'd to the event, which promised free parking in downtown Chicago and 'high speed daredevil chihuahua racing.'
June 6, 2018, 9:07pm
Photo via Flickr user Quote Catalogue

In a world of expensive concerts and rampant foodstagrams, cheap “Taco Festival” tickets pretty much sell themselves. However, for over 1,000 Chicagoans, the promise of a food-fueled fiesta on June 9th might turn out to be a total scam—an empty piñata, if you will.

In what’s shaping up to be a major let-down for the hordes of taco-lovers that have already shelled out a reported $20–$80 for tickets, the details surrounding “Taco Fest Chicago” are unraveling faster than a poorly rolled burrito. According to the Chicago Tribune, a spokesperson for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events for Chicago confirmed that despite the 1,000-plus people who have RSVP’d to the event’s Facebook page, the department has yet to even receive an application for Taco Fest. Not a good start.

The details are dubious: Fanoomies Entertainment, the company (allegedly) organizing the event, is located in Hawaiian Gardens, California—or so they say. As reported by The Sacramento Bee, Fanoomies is "not registered as a corporation or LP/LLC with the California Secretary of State."

Probably just some fancy tax-maneuvering, right?

Wrong. The Bee also discovered that another Fanoomies-sponsored sushi festival in Sacramento, California might also be fake. In that case, Fanoomies listed the Hyatt Regency Sacramento as the event’s location, but the hotel denied that they had ever booked the event. And it gets worse. Taco Fest’s Facebook page (which has been removed) only listed “Randolph Street Chicago” as the event’s location, and not a single vendor had been announced for the supposed festival. Even more questionably, the event page claimed that “free parking is available on site," which is kind of far-fetched, considering the event in in the heart of downtown Chicago.

Before Tuesday, the tickets for Taco Fest Chicago were available on Shopify, through a company called Anastasia Group. (Not-so-shockingly, that page, too, has since been taken down.)

Fanoomies’ website doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, either. Sparse details of the event are superimposed over a large color photo of what looks like a taco-eating contest, although nowhere on the contest’s stage can a Taco Fest or Fanoomies logo be seen—let alone a single specific vendor. Additionally, the website’s dress code urges patrons to wear proper taco-festival attire, stating, “please, no shorts or sunglasses”—which is also strange, given that Taco Fest is a daytime event in the second week of June.

But even though all signs point to the contrary, I’m still holding out hope that Fanoomies pulls through. Why? Well, promise of "high speed daredevil chihuahua racing" advertised on the event’s website, of course.