Welcome to the 28th Annual Hot Sauce Festival

The heat is on


Photo by John Anderson

Welcome to the 28th Annual Hot Sauce Festival

While initially it might just seem insane, there's something incredibly special about thousands of people gathering together to sweat through their shirts and scorch their taste buds all in the name of helping neighbors in need. For the 28th year, The Austin Chronicle's Hot Sauce Festival offers attendees a chance to help Central Texas Food Bank in their mission to end food insecurity, and have a helluva lot of fun while they're at it.

Hundreds of contest entries from individuals, restaurants, and commercial bottlers in a variety of categories – red, green, specialty variety, pepper sauce – mean there is a match made in salsa heaven for everyone. (The tasting tent has tortilla chips for miles!) More than 40 preliminary judges taste every single hot sauce to whittle the entries down to the very best of the best, and a group of local food scene celebrities uses their culinary expertise to select the winners from each category. In fact, hugely popular favorites like Torchy's Tacos and Yellowbird Sauce made names for themselves at our not-so-little-anymore festival.

Our Hot Sauce Chron team – especially Special Events Manager Dan Hardick, Marketing Director Sarah Wolf, Marketing Manager Karena Rogers, Digital Coordinator Tamar Price, Creative Director Jason Stout, Production Manager (and the fantastic annual logo designer) Zeke Barbaro, and all of our staff members who volunteer on the big day – deserves a huge round of applause. And we certainly couldn't put on the fest without the help of so many volunteers. (We love you!)

So, yes, it's going to be very hot. And yes, you need sunscreen and maybe even some Tums. But every single person who braves the heat to enjoy the cold beers, great bands, and, of course, the salsa, can walk away knowing that their $5 entrance fee or canned food donations truly make a difference in people's lives.

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