Los Banos police had downtown packed with taco fans on Tuesday for what was both National Night Out and the Taco Truck Throwdown.
Four of Los Banos’ five permitted taco trucks parked outside Los Banos Police Department and City Hall, selling $1 tacos to lines that stretched down the block.
The taco truck theme was unique to the event that usually takes place in a park. By most accounts on Tuesday, the tacos brought out more people than a typical National Night Out.
“I love it. That’s the main reason why we came back,” 34-year-old Larry Phillips said.
The Los Banos resident said he’d been to one other National Night Out with his children, 4-year-old Zooey and 7-year-old Dexter, but the tacos were the right addition. He said “way more” people were out than the last time he went to National Night Out.
Dexter was into it too. “I like it,” he said with his mouth full of a carne asada taco.
The goals of National Night Out include building neighborhood spirit and unity in support of anti-crime programs, heightening awareness of crime and drug prevention, and strengthening police and community partnerships, according to the program’s founders.
A similar annual Taco Truck Throwdown in Fresno has become a popular event at Chukchansi Park, drawing dozens of trucks and thousands of people.
Police Chief Gary Brizzee said he’d wanted to bring taco trucks to the event for some time.
“This is a fantastic event for the police department to get together with the community, and vice versa,” he said. “Just to show everyone that we’re normal people like everyone else. We like to have a good time.”
Tacos el Grullense took home the trophy for favorite truck of the night, according to Cmdr. Jason Hedden. The other three trucks competing were Taco Face, Tacos y Mariscos el Plebe and Tacos y Mariscos las Brasas.