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Let's talk about why Thursday is the best day to get tacos this week.

Oct. 4 is National Taco Day, and national and regional taco chains are marking this taco lovers' fiesta, also known as Taco Thursday this year, with free tacos or specials.

According to the made-up food holiday’s website, NationalTacoDay.com, last year Americans ate more than 4.5 billion tacos. The site estimates that's 490,000 miles of tacos and 775 million pounds.

Mexican restaurants and taco joints are expected to be busy Thursday. Punchh, a marketing automation platform, found “a giant revenue peak” in taco sales on National Taco Day last year.

Despite the specials, Thursday won't be the biggest day of the year for the Mexican dish, according to an analysis from small business software provider Womply.

"Not surprisingly, the best revenue day of the year for taco shops is Cinco de Mayo," said Brad Plothow, Womply’s vice president of brand and communications.

Most deals are available at participating locations and while supplies last. Some require an app or coupon. To be on the safe side, check with your closest location to confirm it's participating. 

And, don't forget, your favorite local non-chain restaurant may be participating as well. Here are some nationwide participants:

Del Taco: Buy one shredded beef taco, get one free Thursday with a coupon at www.deltaco.com.

Qdoba: Members of the Qdoba Rewards program get double or triple points depending on what tier of the program they are on. The deal is available online, mobile and in-restaurant orders, but does not apply to catering orders. Sign up at www.qdoba.com/rewards.

Taco Bell: At participating locations Thursday, the chain has a special "National Taco Day gift set." For $5, get four tacos including the Crunchy Taco, Fiery, Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos.

Cold Stone Creamery: While not a deal, only on Thursday, Cold Stone will sell Waffle Tacos.

Kelly Tyko is a consumer columnist and retail reporter for Treasure Coast Newspapers and TCPalm.com, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. Read her Bargainista tips at TCPalm.com/Bargainista, follow her on Twitter @KellyTyko and email her at kelly.tyko@tcpalm.com. Sign up for her weekly newsletter at www.tcpalm.com/newsletters.

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