At each of several one-day festivals held throughout the country, thousands of revelers unite in an epic clash of pulp, beer, and live music. Armed with a cache of 300,000 tomatoes, participants don protective bathing suits and goggles and hurl the fruit at one another during a two-hour battle. Throughout the afternoon, live music and costume contests offer an entertaining respite from the front lines, as bartenders dispense drafts of beer to attendees older than 21, refueling soldiers' morale before they resign to writing goodbye letters to their produce vendors back home. All tomatoes used during the event are past ripe and already fated for disposal, making the battle an efficient means of tossing them before their cursed transformation into singing Muppets.
It's a charity race with a back story like none other: bloodthirsty demons have been working in your community's offices, living in its homes, attending its schools. And now they're on the hunt and people are running for their lives. Citizens might be booking it across a field, seemingly far from the chaos, when shapes emerge on the horizon dressed head-to-toe in vampires' telltale black clothes. If you're a citizen, be prepared to run. If you're a vampire—lock in your target.
That's just part of what you might experience on the Vampire 5K, a twilight fun run where participants can register as "citizens" or "vampires" and take off from two separate starting lines. Both camps eventually converge in a chase that finds vamps trying to convert their mortal counterparts to the dark side. Citizens, dressed in white, sport two garlic flags; if the flags are taken before runners cross their finish line, they switch to a black tee and chase citizens. After the race, a moonlit party finds both camps sipping bloody marys during a dance party and award presentation. The race benefits the Mission to Hear Foundation, which provides hearing aids to underprivileged children, adults, and whatever they're calling the age group that comes in between these days.
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With a menu comprised only of two sections—'before tacos' and 'tacos'—T/aco's chef Matt Collier understands the power of the white-glove approach. In a recent interview, he divulged to Thrillist that each tortilla, like everything else on the restaurant's menu, is handmade. Harnessing a diverse culinary palette of fresh herbs and ingredients to craft bold flavors, Chef Matt and his team top their braised pork belly, Ahi tuna, and veggie tacos with such gourmet fixings as poblano crema, queso cotija, and chayote-squash salsa. To add a touch of diversity to their taco-heavy menu, they whip up fresh ceviches and guacamole with housemade chips. T/aco's bartenders have also honed an all-important craft. They mix smoky and fruity margaritas with 25 reposado, anejo, and blanco tequilas—one for each year an American must live before she can eat tacos in the US House of Representatives.
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