Southern Tequila and Taco Festival returns to benefit RAM

The Farragut community is invited to enjoy tacos, South of the Border beverages and live music during the 7th Annual Southern Tequila and Taco Festival in Farragut.

This year’s event, which benefits Remote Area Medical, is slated for Friday, April 29, in the parking lot of JCPenney, 11534 Parkside Drive, starting at 5 p.m. for early admission ticket-holders, and 6 p.m. general admission. The event concludes at 9 p.m.

“I feel real good (about the event),” RAM chief development officer John Volpe said. “People seem to be really excited. We’ve had almost 600 hits on our website (as of April 7) already.”

Early admission tickets are $60 and general admission is $40 when paid in advance before 3 p.m. the day of the event. Tickets at the door will be $50 for general admission. Early admission tickets need to be paid in advance, Volpe said. Advance tickets can be paid online by visiting

For $60, attendees not only get in an hour early, they also receive six tokens to sample tequilas, cocktails or beer and four food tokens. The general admission cost includes five drink tokens and three food tickets.

Volpe, who has been an event organizer since 2015, expects about 2,500 to attend this year.

“It’s grown,” he observed. “In 2015, we had 300 people … it’s gotten to be a pretty big event.”

Last year, Volpe said RAM grossed about $100,000.

“This year’s goal is to try to get to about $150,000,” he added.

The 2022 festival currently will have about 70 taco, tequila and retail vendors. Among them, Volpe expects more than 200 tequilas, mezcals and sotols. 

“And, of course, we’ll have all the Mexican beers we can get,” he added. “Dos Equis sponsors us every year.”

Additionally, “we have got quite a few general retail vendors, such as one of its sponsors, Knox Fox Real Estate Group,” Volpe said.

This is an adult-only event, as attendees must be 21 years or older to attend, according to the website.

RAM, based locally in Rockford, is a non-profit provider of free mobile medical, dental and vision clinics, as well as some veterinary services when available, to under-served and uninsured individuals across the country and overseas as well, he said. It was started in 1985 by the late Stan Brock, previously well-known from Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom.”

“Anybody’s eligible to go to the clinics,” Volpe said.

RAM also offers free spay/neuter services for unaltered pets of RAM patients.

For more information about RAM, call 865-579-1530.

“We don’t ask for any kind of identification or anything. We just serve the people, so if they need medical, dental or vision services, they can come and get all those for free.

“A lot of people have medical insurance, but they don’t have dental or vision, so our clinics are set up so they we have anywhere from 20 to 60 dental operatories and anywhere from two to 10 lanes of vision (providers).

Volpe said RAM uses the proceeds from the festival for general  funding of its clinics around the country and beyond, Volpe said. “If people want to volunteer or donate (at or, we’d love that, too.”