Don Walser's Pure Texas Band, Los Pinkys, and A-Town Wags are on the schedule. So the music is going to be great, the hot sauce hot, and the liquids readily available, including free water. Admission is free, though we request everyone bring two canned or boxed food items to donate to the Capital Area Food Bank.
If you want to enter a hot sauce, it's not too late. Just fill out the entry form elsewhere in the Chronicle and show up at the park between 10:30-11:30am on Sunday. This year's judges -- Bruce Auden (Biga, San Antonio), Jeff Blank (Hudson's on the Bend), David Garrido (Jeffrey's), Jay McCarthy (formerly Cascabel, San Antonio), Miguel Ravago (formerly Fonda San Miguel and Bertram's), and Grady Spears (Reata, Alpine and Fort Worth) -- are some of the finest chefs in the country. The fact that they are Texan just means they know their hot sauce well. This is an impressive lineup of culinary legends.
The head judge is Austin Hot Sauce Festival founder Robb Walsh. The day after the Festival, Robb begins a move that will take him from Austin to Fort Worth, where he assumes duties as editor-in-chief of Chile Pepper magazine. When Robb first pitched us on doing this event (see his introduction to the Hot Sauce section), we expected a few dozen hot sauces and a couple of hundred attendees. Thousands of people showed up to taste and dozens to enter. Last year, over 10,000 people attended. There's something uniquely Austin about hot sauce and hot weather, about music and food, about friends and beverage, that this Festival epitomizes.
As I walked down the hall, I heard Kate Messer on the phone discussing titles, "Style Queen, Style Bitch?" She looked at me. "Keep going," I said. The first result of the great romance column search is a new fashion/shopping/social observation column by Stephen Moser. Stephen, Margaret Moser's brother, has recently moved to Austin. Along with 30 or so others, Stephen sent in samples for two different columns, one on fashion and shopping and a more traditional romance column. We fell in love with Stephen's column (we, in this case, includes Messer and myself). Lest anyone suspect nepotism at work, imagine how much Margaret will enjoy sharing diva-ship with her brother, roommate, and now co-writer. She didn't intervene. It should be pointed out that we first encountered and became enamored of Stephen's work when then-Book editor Margaret Moser got him to write reviews.
As of now, the column still hasn't been named. It will be weekly, in the Personals section; it starts this week, and it will be edited by Messer. It will include fashion, shopping, and whatever else crosses Stephen's mind. I'm sure he'd be happy to entertain correspondence from readers. So check it out, and let Stephen know.
This does not mean our search for a romance column is over. We are still seriously intrigued by the idea of such a column and are reading through the manuscripts we've received. Margaret has even found one for which she has very strong feelings.