Luv Doc Recommends: 2011 'Austin Chronicle' Hot Sauce Festival
Waterloo Park, Sunday, August 28, 2011
The 2011 Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival is this Sunday at Waterloo Park. That's all you really need to know. Even still, you might have some questions. You might, for instance, wonder why the Hot Sauce Festival logo features a dude on a dirt bike. Touché. Nailed us on that one. Dirt bikes are wicked cool and whatnot, but they don't really have much to do with hot sauce. Correct. So, why is there a dirt bike in the logo? Here's why: Because it isn't a Doberman in a Quaker bonnet or a clown with a vacuum cleaner. It's not difficult to imagine that after 21 years of Hot Sauce Festival logos, we've completely exhausted meaningful hot sauce iconography. We've had the chips and hot sauce bowls; the cowboy/-girl riding the jalapeño; the hot-sauce-eating bat/armadillo; the sweating, hot-sauce-eating Satan; the happy tomato; and even a logo that included a cherub with flames shooting out of its mouth and ass. Like Keith Richards, we've pretty much done it all. Next year expect a logo that features Slim Pickens riding a jalapeño into an apocalyptic bowl of hot sauce. Just sayin'. Nonetheless, if you're counting on this year's logo for information about what to expect at the festival, that's probably a mistake. Yes there will be flames and peppers, but dirt bikes are strictly verboten on festival grounds, even if they are wicked cool. There are, however, some things you can expect, so you should be prepared. Expect it to be hot. Not only will the temperature be in the 100-plus range, there be will thousands of hot, sweaty people who will be radiating a considerable amount of heat themselves – an amazing amount of biomass considering the temperature. Plus, they will all be eating hot sauce and swearing – with watery eyes and flushed faces – that they love it. They really do too … so much that they bring along their children, even babies in strollers (who truly wouldn't want to miss it), as well as dogs (ideally festooned with a jaunty bandana fastened about the neck to ward off the chill) and all manner of other attention-grabbing fauna: sugar gliders, hamsters, snakes, parrots, falcons, really anything that might entice a curious member of the opposite sex to strike up a conversation. Really, if you haven't bought a spider monkey in an attempt to reel in some strange at an outdoor festival, you probably don't even care about getting laid at all. Something else you should expect at the Hot Sauce Festival: dirty feet. If that's something that bothers you, keep your chin up. Shoes are hot. Dirty feet in flip-flops are not. It's that simple. You may have the priciest pedicure in town, but after you've shuffled around Waterloo Park in late August for a few hours, your feet are going to look like you spent the day hippie-spin-dancing at a Leftover Salmon concert. That's bad, yes, but it could be worse: You could be wearing Vibram FiveFingers. That kind of ugly you can't wash off. There's plenty of pretty stuff, too. Some people actually look better when they're hot and sweaty. Just think of the Hot Sauce Festival as one big, hot oil-wrestling match with snacks included – only the hot oil is perspiration. Well, either it's that or the tiny sample drop of habanero oil on the end of a toothpick that ruins your taste buds for the rest of the day. Really, the only way to fight the heat is with ass-coal bear. No, that's not a typo. It's a phonetic representation of the way Texans pronounce the phrase "ice-cold beer." You could also drink ass-coal warter, but that wouldn't make it a festival, would it? Water isn't very festive, but bands are, and the Hot Sauce Festival has a lineup that will surely dirty up your dancing feet: Schmillion, Moonlight Social, Foot Patrol, La Guerrilla, and the Bright Light Social Hour. Best of all, the Hot Sauce Festival doesn't put a dent in your wallet; it frees up space in your pantry. All it takes to get in is a donation of three nonperishable food items to the Capital Area Food Bank. That's all you really need to know.