Talking about town | Longtime promoter bringing Taco Fest to Lawrence this weekend; Former Bottleneck Owner Says He’s Restarting Event, Gig Business | News, Sports, Jobs

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Tacos from Lawrence’s Taqueria La Pasadita. The local taco restaurant is one of about 15 taco vendors set to take part in Saturday’s Taco Fest in North Lawrence.

Lawrence is a full-time taco fest, right?

With all the new Lawrence taco restaurants that have opened in recent years, that might seem like it. (I even learned to drive and eat a taco without getting my head stuck in the steering wheel).

And maybe even national harmony.

The tacos really resonate with people, Mosiman said. “That might be the #1 positive thing for everyone in America. Young, old, rich, poor, everyone loves tacos.

Mosiman expects hundreds of people to descend on North Lawrence on Saturday for Lawrence Taco Fest 2022. The event — in part a fundraiser for the Lawrence Humane Society — runs from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. instead. 1235, which is the event space on North Third Street just north of the Kansas Turnpike Bridge.

The event is expected to have about 15 taco stands from restaurants in Lawrence, Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita. Also on the program, a tequila tasting tour, a salsa competition, a jalapeño tasting event, music, games and several other activities.

But, of course, the main attraction will be the tacos. Mosiman said he expects each vendor to have at least two varieties of tacos, meaning there will be at least 30 styles of tacos available at the event.

“Eat one or eat 100,” Mosiman said.

To be clear, the event is not an all-you-can-eat buffet. People buy a ticket to enter the event — $10 in advance or $15 at the door — to get in, then buy their tacos and drinks at each vendor station.

“Being able to taste so many tacos in one place will be really great,” Mosiman said. “That’s the concept behind it all.”

The festival is a new idea for Lawrence, but it has spread to several other communities in the area. Mosiman has partnered with the organizer of taco festivals in Wichita and Kansas City. Mosiman said he jumped at the chance to bring Lawrence a festival because it’s clear Lawrence loves tacos. Several new taco restaurants have opened in Lawrence over the past two years, and Mosiman frequents them frequently — in the name of research, of course.

“We started doing them in the middle of summer, and they’re all fantastic,” he said.

Mosiman said the event invited taco vendors he wanted to attend, and invitations were limited to “boutique taquerias” that were hand-selected by festival organizers.

This means a mix of new and old in terms of Lawrence establishments. Lawrence’s restaurants that will be participating include La Tropicana, which is one of the oldest restaurants in town, La Estrella, which has been in the taco business for years but recently moved to a much bigger location and expanded its menu, and Taqueria La Pasadita, which is in 19th and Massachusetts and is one of the newer taquerias in town. Lawrence-based food truck JB’s Tacos is also expected to participate, which normally offers a wide menu ranging from traditional beef and pork offerings to Korean-style tacos and even a vegetarian zucchini and potato option.

As for out-of-town offerings, there’s Tacos Pina, a Wichita pop-up taco stand that won first prize at the Kansas City Taco Festival; La Jefa, a Kansas City taco truck that seems to have plenty of birria-style tacos — the magic taco that’s both soft and crispy; and many others.

A portion of the money raised from ticket sales will be donated to the Lawrence Humane Society, Mosiman said. The event also serves as a food donation event for Lawrence-based Just Food Food Bank. People who bring at least four non-perishable items will receive a coupon for a free taco.

picture by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

Venue 1235 has a large, fenced-in lawn that the property plans to use to host a variety of events, from outdoor weddings to farmers markets.

Most of the event will take place outdoors, in the grassy area next to the Venue 1235 building. But the event will also feature a VIP experience inside the building which will include, among other things, the exhibition of tequila tasting.

Mosiman said he plans for Lawrence Taco Fest to become an annual event. He is also using the event as a way to get back into the Lawrence events business with his longtime company Pipeline Productions.

For years, Mosiman and Pipeline have been two of the biggest names in Lawrence’s music and events scene. He previously owned The Bottleneck and The Granada – two prominent downtown music venues – and was the founder of Wakarusa Fest, which for a few years was a big music event in Clinton Lake.

Mosiman told me he was “reviving” Pipeline Productions after a long period of inactivity.

“We’re coming back,” he said. “We are in our fourth decade of doing this. We are excited to start bringing amazing events back to the area.

Mosiman said Pipeline would definitely do a lot with music, but also host a broader set of events, like Taco Fest and others that aren’t music-focused. Mosiman also told me he was exploring options to own his own venue again.

“There are going to be a lot of new things coming very soon,” he said. “We will return to venues, concerts and events. We will do a wide range of events. We like to bring people together. We like to put smiles on people’s faces.

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