Yuma, AZ – December, 2015 When we started this adventure we thought we’d take part in a lot of local festivals during our travels. The reality is that unless you plan your trip around such events you are likely to find that most occasions are usually next week, or last! Every now and then we get lucky though. When we realized we were in the Yuma area just in time for their Tamale Festival we were determined to go.
The Tamale Festival is in the town of Somerton just south of Yuma. It is a benefit for the Arizona State University Alumni Association and the proceeds are used to fund scholarships. Neither of us had much experience with tamales before and we enjoyed trying something new.
You purchase tickets for $2 a piece which you then use to buy food. Individual tamales cost 1 ticket or you could buy a combo plate which included 2 tamales and 2 sides for 3 tickets ($6). We bought $20 worth of tickets, not realizing how filling tamales are and ended up giving some tickets away on our way out. Great food, good bands, and $3 beers! We would definitely attend again.
We moved to a campground just south of Yuma to be nearer the festival. KOFA Ko-op, an Escapees park, was a short drive to Somerton and reasonably priced. We originally planned to stay 2 nights in a full hookup site for $20 per night plus electric. But when we realized we could stay a week for only $100 we decided to go that route. We loved our spacious site just across the street from the pool and the laundry. At the end of our stay the electric bill was just $25.
We enjoyed this campground and agree that it is one of the quietest we have ever visited. Honestly the only night it got slightly rowdy was Sunday night. I was ready for a good night’s sleep by 9 pm. Apparently this was the same time the weekly ice cream social let out. Everyone was either hopped up on sugar or they were serving more than ice cream over there. They exited the activities building near our site and hung out in the street for a while visiting.
We liked the Yuma area and can certainly understand the appeal for the many snowbirds that winter there. The price of food and necessities seemed particularly reasonable in this area. We got the cheapest diesel we have found all year, $1.85 per gallon. This was more than 50 cents less than any gas we found in California before or following our visit to Yuma.
Yuma has a neat old downtown area with some great flea market/antique stores. We were lucky enough to stumble upon their weekly farmers market on a Tuesday morning. I got a huge bag of fruits and vegetables for only $4. They also have great parks and trails along the Colorado River which flows by the downtown area.
The Yuma Swap Meet was another fun place we visited. It didn’t look like much when we walked up but they only charged $1 each admission and the parking was free so we thought what the heck. It turned out it was much larger than it looked and had a good variety of vendors, from clothing to tools to your standard garage sale type booths. There did seem to be an unreasonably large number of vendors selling women’s under things. Next time I need some socks I would definitely consider heading that way.
My favorite booth was selling these great metal sculptures. The sweet lady in pink was life sized.
Christmas happened to fall during our stay in Yuma. We had pretty much boycotted the event this year other than sending a package to our only granddaughter. We agreed not to buy each other anything. The last thing we needed to do was spend money that wasn’t in our budget on frivolous things we didn’t need and didn’t have space for anyway.
Our one concession was going out to eat on Christmas Eve at Lin’s Grand Buffet. I’ve been craving Chinese food for a while and no matter how many dishes I made at home I couldn’t squelch it. Lin’s turned out to be a very good choice and is among the best Chinese buffets we’ve ever been to. Merry Christmas to us!!!