By Moses Leos III
It’s been roughly six years since Sonny Falcon, Kyle’s own “Fajita King,” last judged a fajita cook-off.
His judging drought will come to an end later this month. That’s when Falcon will come out of retirement to judge at the Buda Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) inaugural Fajita Fiesta in City Park.
“It’s been a while since they’ve had any type of cook-off like that,” Falcon said. “I hope to see that people enjoy the day … and see what kind of atmosphere [the BACC]are going to create.”
Fajita Fiesta, which is a combo festival and competitive cook-off, is the brainchild of BACC Managing Director J.R. Gonzales. The idea came to life when the chamber talked about holding a fundraiser.
They settled on a fajita cook-off after Kyle discontinued its festival.
Until 2013, the Kyle Lions Club held the Kyle Fajita Fest in Gregg Clarke Park. However, when the Lions Club disbanded last year, no one stepped up to take it over. Kyle Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Julie Snyder said members of the Kyle Lions Club approached Buda about taking it over.
“No one seemed willing to pick it up, so we picked it up,” Gonzales said. “It’s a great concept, let’s not let it fall by the wayside.”
Gonzales said the event, which is free to the public, is expected to bring in approximately 7,000 to 8,000 people. Currently, the chamber expects to spend $25,000 putting on the event.
For Gonzales, the benefits the event brings to Buda defrays the costs. The addition of concerts that will go until 10 p.m. will allow visitors to stay in town.
“We are hoping to bring in cookers and participants from outside of the area to stay in our hotels,” he said. “We are also wanting to highlight Buda.”
It got the attention of the city, which allocated $2,000 in Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) funds for Fajita Fiesta.
HOT Funds, generated by Buda’s seven percent HOT rate for hotel and motel rooms over $2, can only be used for promotional purposes only.
Lysa Gonzalez, Director of Tourism in Buda, said it’s hard to tell how Fajita Fiesta will fare, as it’s an inaugural event.
Gonzalez said the city has worked closely with the chamber and it’s committee.
“This sounds like a creative and unique event,” Gonzalez said. “We can grow on this if it’s done right. It has the potential to grow.”
However, setting up has its challenges. The BACC is working to find sponsors, along with marketing and advertising the event.
But the Fajita Fest committee, comprised of seven members from the BACC, accepted those challenges head-on. Chamber President and Fajita Fest committee member Lisa Lefco-Gray said excitement is high for this first-ever event.
“With any new events, there are growing pains and bumps along the way to figure out your rhythm,” Lefco-Gray said. “Everyone on the committee is focusing on making [the event]as successful as possible.”
But making sure the event maintains it’s homegrown roots was important for Gonzales, who gave chamber members and local businesses first crack at signing up as vendors.
Equally important was making it as family friendly as possible. That includes the addition of free admission, kids’ rides and entertainment.
“We want parents to bring themselves [and their kids]out there and enjoy themselves,” Gonzales said. “We want them to learn some stuff, listen to music and not worry about spending too much money.”