TAMALES AND BEYOND: Your first step upon arriving in the Coachella Valley in December is to, well, enjoy the Coachella Valley in December. It's a beautiful month, with perfect temps and chilly nights, meaning one thing: time to love on some serious tamales. All sorts are made at the fest, and there's a contest, too. And beyond the trays piled high with husk-laden heaven? Folklorico music, a car show, a tamale-eating contest, and a carnival. Yep, it is hard to stray from tamale consumption once it begins, but this old-school fest -- it's been around for two decades plus two years -- fills up the weekend with family-cute to-dos. Pack some cash for tamale purchasing, but not for admission, though: It's free.