Tacosgiving celebrates community with arcade games and street tacos

A local item vendor at Tacosgiving that sold a wide assortment of stickers, flags, cards, magnets, quilts and more. This was one of many vendors that sold physical goods ranging from art to clothing. (Maurice Mozee/DD)

The annual Tacosgiving festival, hosted by Cobra Arcade Bar and Snoh Ice Shavery, returned to celebrate tacos and arcade games on Wednesday.

Families and friends of all ages gathered for a night filled with funky music, gaming, local food and art.

Co-owner of Snoh Ice Shavery Tony Ce said Snoh’s collaboration with Cobra Arcade Bar has been going on for three years.

“My role in the city is cultural development,” Ce said, referring to helping in the development of events for the community like Tacosgiving.

He was heavily involved with the invitation of local vendors for Tacosgiving. One such vendor was the owner of trail mix maker J’s Trail Mex Jennifer Picos, who sells chamoy covered trail mix and gummies.

Picos said her business gets public exposure from events like this one.

“We get potential customers that are like, ‘Oh, we’ve never heard of you,’ or, ‘We’ve never heard of such a thing like this before. We were just walking by,’” she said.

Picos said the cultural diversity of the city is shown through these events as well. She said the vendors don’t all sell the same types of food and wares.

“It’s not just regular street tacos like carne asada and stuff,” she said. “It’s all different. It’s not just one style of taco. There’s a variety for everyone.”

Amid the numerous vendors one could find all kinds of items ranging from food like tacos, traditional Filipino food, pupusas, champurradas and street corn all the way to handmade quilts, stickers, paintings, trinkets and clothing.

Near the outdoor arcade area, adults and children alike could be seen playing classics such as Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Street Fighter II, OutRun, Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs. Capcom and Killer Instinct. Even modern titles, such as the critically-acclaimed Cuphead, were up and running in classic arcade cabinet form. These completely free-to-play games were a constant source of activity at the festival, with no cabinet left alone for too long before being snatched up by someone else.

Near the arcade machines, the DJ crew Phoenix Funkeros was out playing their brand of funk music amid waves of neon green lights. Their music is inspired largely by vinyl culture. A member of the group, James Hiralez, said his group was invited to play for the event after getting connected with Cobra Arcade Bar co-founder Ariel Bracamonte.

“We pretty much do events like this and people usually end up hiring us,” Hiralez said.

He said events like this help bring exposure to their music and open up even more opportunities.

The patio directly outside Cobra Arcade Bar and inside was restricted to those 21 and up for those wanting alcoholic beverages.

This year marks the last year Snoh Ice Shavery will be involved with Tacosgiving because the downtown Phoenix location is shutting down.

The shutdown is partially due to owner Ce is embarking on a relatively new business venture, LocalBuzz, which aims to bring awareness to local community events via an interface similar to most social media.

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