Festival Information

Festival Information


The Hot Sauce Contest

The contest has three levels of competition: individuals (homemade), restaurants, and commercial bottlers. This gives us a good chance to recognize homemade salsas in a class by themselves. It also gives us a chance to consider salsas made fresh daily in restaurants apart from those made for grocery store shelves. The three categories of hot sauce for each level are designed to leave enough room for a wide variety of styles. In the past, special variety sauces have included fruit salsas, dried pepper salsas, and even a purple sauce.


Home Made Salsas/Restaurant Salsas

All salsas in these categories are available for tasting by the public at the designated tasting tent in the middle of the Waterloo Park grounds (triangular dipping chips on the map).

You can still enter by bringing your salsa to the check-in area in Waterloo Park between 10:30 and 11:30am on Sunday. For this part of the contest, our judges pick the winners in each of the following categories:

Homemade red

Homemade green

Homemade special variety

Restaurant red

Restaurant green

Restaurant special variety

Winners will be announced at 5pm.


Commercial Salsas/People's Choice award

Commercial salsas are not included in the rest of the tasting. These are available at separate booths around the park (green numbers on the map). The public is invited to vote in these categories, which include:

Commercial red sauce

Commercial green sauce

Commercial hot pepper sauce

Commercial special variety sauce

Ballots for voting are available at The Austin Chronicle booth near the stage (the blue flag on the map). Pick one up, vote for your favorites, and return the ballot to the booth by 3pm. The winners will be announced at 5pm, with the winners in the Homemade and Restaurant Salsas categories.

The Top Sauce In celebration of our 10th annual competition, we will be adding a new category to the judging this year. One overall winner will be selected for Top Sauce Award in the individual category. The Austin Chronicle will arrange to bottle the Top Sauce! These bottles may be given to family and friends (not for resale). Don't worry though, we don't want your recipe, it will remain yours. Bottling will be done by Austin Kitchen Inc.


Food Vendors

Restaurants from around town will be selling jerk pork ribs, shrimp diablos, portabello fajita tacos, jambalaya, Italian ices, and much more. (red numbers on the map).

Admission: Two Nonperishable Food Items This year, The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival will be requesting that you pay a little admission fee in the form of two nonperishable food items to be donated to the Capital Area Food Bank. Collection sites will be set up at entrances to Waterloo Park.


Special Thanks

Special thanks to Robbin Kohn, Jerry Pharr, Werner Campbell, Heather Stillman, Eric Jordan, John Barkley, and Bunny Roach for helping with this event year after year. You help make it possible and fun!

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