We Have an Issue: The Weekend Forecast Is Hot. Very, Very Hot.

The 32nd annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival is here

Cover by Zeke Barbaro

Typically, the Monday after the Chronicle's annual Hot Sauce Festival, the leftover hot sauces are dropped off at the office and we power our way through them for weeks to come. This year the script got flipped, and Chronicle staff and friends became the first tasters, not the last. Last Thursday, we spent most of the workday as preliminary judges, winnowing down 116 hot sauces in competition to about 50 for our finalist judges to chew over. I came in with a lot of bravado but had to tap out after my 76th hot sauce, when something in the commercial pepper category broke me. Dragging my numbed tongue through ice cream like a Looney Tunes character, I thought to myself, once my brain had rebooted and coherent thought was once again possible: What a remarkable way to make a living I've lucked into.

It was a fun day, and a good portent of the forever-fun festival ahead of us this weekend. Now in its 32nd year, The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival will serve up lots of sauce – nearly two dozen commercial bottlers will be handing out samples – as well as live music performances from Luna Luna, TC Superstar, Mama Duke, KindKeith, and DJ McPullish. Best yet, it's a fundraiser for Central Texas Food Bank, so you'll be blowing out your taste buds for a very good cause. It all happens this Sunday, Sept. 11, 3-9pm, at the Far Out Lounge (8504 S. Congress), and you can read much more about it here.

This festival is put together by a small group of hardworking folks at the Chronicle, including Associate Publisher Cassidy Frazier, Food Editor Melanie Haupt, Marketing & Engagement Manager Nick Corey, Event Coordinator Cassie Arredondo, Circulation & Special Events Manager Dan Hardick, PR maestro Sarah K. Wolf, Art Director Zeke Barbaro, and other staff volunteering their time at the festival and at our in-house tasting last week. A huge thanks to them, and to this year's special judges, who you can read more about here. Finally, hats off to our entire sales team; without their work securing sponsorships, there simply wouldn't be a Hot Sauce Festival.

See y'all at the Far Out on Sunday!


Big Tex, official greeter at the State Fair of Texas (Photo by Kevin Brown / State Fair of Texas)

Day Trips & Beyond: Captain Day Trips rounds up dozens of travel suggestions for your fall calendar, including a craft fair at Camp Verde near Kerrville, a historic school open house in Fredericksburg, and the fried food and festivities of the Texas State Fair in Dallas.

Bad Week in the Restaurant Business: Longtime Austin teahouse the Steeping Room and cult fave Kerlin BBQ both announced they're closing their doors. Kerlin BBQ at least will live on via its barbecue-stuffed kolaches concept, Kerlaches.

Indoor Queers Club: The Qmmunity crew gives their recs for media on queer history that y'all can enjoy inside.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) (Courtesy of Texas Tribune Festival)

Chatting With Cheney: Texas Tribune Festival announced Liz Cheney as the festival's closing night speaker, marking the congresswoman's first live and in-person sit-down interview since she got trounced in the Republican primary by a Trump-endorsed challenger.

Other Women Talking: Literary adaptation Women Talking, the much-anticipated film from Sarah Polley (Stories We Tell, Take This Waltz), will screen at this year's Austin Film Festival.

Last Week in Live Music: Photographer David Brendan Hall rounds up his favorite photos from last week's shows, including Ghost, Mastodon, Schatzi, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and Idles.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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