The Des Moines Taco & Margarita Festival certainly gave people who attended something to taco-bout.
Held along the Court Avenue bridge in downtown Des Moines on Saturday, attendees complained about long lines, an overly packed venue, how disorganized the event was, lack of margarita options, vendors not accepting VIP free taco tickets, and country music acts being booked to play. A few also complained of food poisoning.
Lizzie Mosby of Des Moines wrote a warning on Facebook as the event was taking place:
“DO NOT waste your time at the Des Moines Taco Festival. Unless you’re like… ‘how can I just spend money to stand in lines all day’ even if you paid for tickets. It’s not worth it,” she wrote. “We got VIP tickets, what a HORRIBLY organized event. Find a patio and enjoy your Saturday.”
There are more than 100 comments under the event’s page with many expressing similar remarks as Mosby. A similar thread on the Food Lovers – Des Moines Facebook page garnered nearly 300 comments.
“This is like Fyre Festival but on a bridge,” wrote Steven Jon Warden of Pella.
One local restaurant owner commented in a thread that they were getting commitments from vendors at the last minute.
The event was put on by AZ Food Festivals LLC, an Arizona-based company that describes itself as “a world-class event planning team.”
According to its website, more than 150,000 people have attended its North American events since 2018.
The company is owned and operated by Arizona resident Adam Dobres and, according to Arizona state records, it has only been registered as a business since March 2021.
When contacted by Iowa Starting Line via email, Dobres provided the following response:
“This is a first to hear about food poisoning. We had a couple people get heat exhaustion and paramedics handled that,” he wrote. “Lines are going to be long anywhere you go (Disneyland, Walmart, Airports, Concerts, etc). There was food and drinks from start to finish and no one ran out.”
According to a social media post by a man who identified himself as Dobres’ father, 7,200 people attended the Des Moines Taco Festival.
A similar event held near Scranton, Pennsylvania, drew similar complaints in online comments sections.
There is also a locally-sponsored event called The Taco Festival Des Moines. Several commentators noted the taco fests run by local Latinos are much better organized.
by Ty Rushing
16 Comments on "Des Moines Taco Fest Mess Leaves Attendees Frustrated"
Came to town for this. Event… never again … never ate anything… very unorganized . Couldn’t tell where lines started or ended . Lots of people in to small a space… are some where else what a waste of money…
The photo in the article was not posted to Facebook by Michael Dobres. I took the image from my condo in The Plaza and posted it. Please correct the credit of the image or remove it.
Apologies for the mistake. Updated
They made a big ordeal about asking attendees ahead of time what flavor of Margarita they would like. As it turns out, on the day of, they offered only one margarita that tasted like Tang. They also promised the VIP group 2 drink tickets.. we did receive two tickets but one Margarita used up both tickets… scandalous!
Waiting to see if they’ll issue refunds. After hearing reviews we didn’t even scan our tickets to get in.
It was my first time and definitely last time attending Taco Festival! I bought the VIP package thinking I would save some money but I regret wastmy money on unflavored rubbery food and watered down Margaritas. It’s ridiculous to pay for overpriced nasty ass food. I also bought a pineapple slushy that was supposed to be strawberry flavor but it tasted like ice water so very disgusting and disappointing. NEVER AGAIN
Apparently Adam Dobres has been traveling the country scamming people with these types of events for a couple years now. He is notorious for selling tickets, cancelling events and denying refunds.
Entrance fee was $12 and I literally should’ve just thrown it out the window on my way down 35. We stayed for 10 minutes before heading to a local Mexican restaurant. What a terrible event, waste of time, and literal scam.
Adam Dobres has a long history of producing events with lots of complaints. He closes down businesses and starts new businesses often. The business and event pages are closely monitored and comments that say negative things are hidden/deleted. Here are complaints from some of his former companies:
Here’s a question: why does he have a Facebook profile under a different name? https://www.facebook.com/adobres96
My question…WHO in DSM hired this outfit??
From what we’ve gathered – no one. It’s possible now with Facebook ads for anyone to simply get some permits for a street in a city you’re not from, run a bunch of Facebook ads promising a great event, get a bunch of tickets bought, reach out to local vendors to fill your event.
Agree with all the previous comments about being a waste of time and money! Enlightening to read that anyone can pull a permit and put on another disorganized sh** show. Doing a lot more research before attending anything in downtown Des Moines!
“Taco fests run by local groups are much better organized “ there I fixed it for you.
Have it in The spring, maybe May so it’s not so hot. Have LOCAL people organize and manage it. Have places for people to actually sit and eat. Have LOCAL musical acts with a Latino flair. The idea was terrific. It was the execution that ruined it.
Nobody in DSM may have actually hired this shady outfit, but someone handed out a permit. Seems to me that the City of DSM has a valid vested interest in not giving permits to scam events that not only close access to public streets, but could cause some people to decide they won’t trust future festivals and events held in DSM. What would be wrong with doing some background checking before making a permit decision? Looks as if Adam Dobres has left a a long and sorry trail behind him.