Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest kicks off today with headliners Snoop Dogg, FLAG and Bill Callahan. But last year’s non-musical star is also back, appearing twice a day on all three outdoor stages: The Taco Cannon.
We caught up with the FFF crew at Tamale House East in Austin earlier this week to get a full look at the Taco Cannon process. Below, Transmission Entertainment marketing director Sawyer Stoltz makes a taco cannon-ready.
Tamale House East has replaced Torchy’s as FFF’s taco provider this year, after a falling-out that may or may not have been a wrestling-style PR feud. For the past three weeks, leading up to the festival, the cannon fired at Tamale House on Saturdays.
“People are like, ‘What? A taco cannon? What does it do?,'” says Tamale House East co-owner Carmen Valera.
“‘It launches tacos.’
“‘Well, because you can.'”
Those in the know gathered in the Tamale House East parking lot like bridesmaids at a wedding, hoping to catch one of the 50 or so tacos with a Fun Fun Fun pass wrapped inside.
“I got my taco-catching hands ready,” one girl in a halter top promised.
Others, though, end up flummoxed by the glory of the cannon.
“One guy, he was fully prepared to jump in there, but he was so awestruck by how many tacos came out, and how quickly, that he just kind of stood there and couldn’t move,” says Valera.
“I’ve never seen anything give people so much joy as this thing,” says Fun Fun Fun Fest “Taco Master” Omar Jimenez (that’s him at left).
The tacos in the cannon are usually just bean-and-cheese, since they are both easy to make quickly and self-sealing—the better to avoid “taco shrapnel” or “tinfoil confetti.” But Valera says her crew also plans to get a few tamales in there.
Fun Fun Fun Fest also fires t-shirts (the cannon’s original purpose, after all). And, says Stoltz, “there may be Twinkies launching this year, who knows?”
Powered by carbon dioxide and car battery, the cannon doesn’t actually “fire”—it’s a suction/propulsion device. You pull one lever to start the flow of air, and then a white “trigger” to start rotating the Gatling-style cylinders, and the beans, cheese and tortilla go flying.
Below, Jimenez, going through a bit of Taco Cannon prep:
And, from last year’s festival, the Cannon at work.