The Austin Chronicle

The 31st Annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival - FAQs

presented by Capital Metro, with special thanks to Big Swig & Hard Swig

September 10, 2021, Food


Is parking available on-site?

On-site parking, 150 spots, will be available at the Far Out Lounge, located at 8504 S. Congress Ave. If possible, please take public transportation, carpool, park remotely, arrange a ride, rideshare, or ride your bike! You can consult the city's trail directory at

We recommend getting to the fest with the 801 bus or 10 bus provided by Capital Metro, running every 15 minutes and dropping off close to the fest. If you do choose to park in the neighborhoods adjacent to the festival, please respect residents' driveways and parking signs.

What COVID precautions are you taking?

It is very important to The Austin Chronicle that the Hot Sauce Festival take the proper precautions to keep everyone in attendance safe. We will be limiting the number in attendance to reduce crowding. All tastings, vendors, and live music performances will be outdoors. All guests will be required to practice social distancing and respect other guests.

All guests will be required to wear a mask when not eating, drinking, or social distancing outdoors. All attendees will be asked to answer a health questionnaire (inquiring about symptoms and previous contact with infected persons).

Additionally, all vendors, Chronicle staff, and bar staff will be wearing masks and practicing social distancing when possible.

Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance and throughout the festival space. Soap and hot water are available in the bathrooms for frequent hand-washing.

Masks/face shields will be worn by all staff. Staff will also regularly wash hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and warm water.

We also strongly encourage guests to follow Travis County's Stage 5 COVID guidelines.

Fully vaccinated individuals should:

• Consider avoiding large gatherings if you are high-risk with underlying conditions.

• Encourage unvaccinated friends and family to get vaccinated.

Partially or unvaccinated individuals should:

• Get fully vaccinated.

• Stay home and avoid gatherings.

Your health and safety are our top priority, and we are doing everything we can to keep you safe during your visit. By attending this event, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.

Not attending but still want to help end hunger in Central Texas? Please consider making a direct donation to the Central Texas Food Bank.

How much does it cost to get in?

Advance tickets cost $10, with $5 of each ticket going to the Central Texas Food Bank. Tickets can be purchased at Tickets at the door will be $15.

Can I bring water, snacks, and my cooler?

Bottled water available for purchase. No coolers and no outside food or drinks are allowed.

Are dogs allowed?

We love dogs! But unfortunately dogs are not allowed on the festival grounds.

Are children allowed?

Yes, this is a family-friendly event, but please note that it is super hot out and plan accordingly. We recommend that unvaccinated children as well as children under 12 stay home.

What’s the bathroom situation?

ADA accessible bathroom and portable toilets available outside.

Do you take credit cards?

Some vendors will accept credit cards, and we accept credit cards at the door and the Chronicle merch booth as well.

When will the winners be announced?

September 12 around 8pm at the festival, and then live on our website after that. Feel free to post about your win and use #HotSauceFest.

How does the contest work?

At the heart of The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival is the contest itself. The blind-tasting competition for restaurants and commercial bottlers is conducted by food writers, restaurant industry professionals, and hot sauce obsessives. They take hot sauce seriously, and so do most of the people who enter.

The contest has two classes of competition: restaurant and commercial bottler. This gives us a good chance to recognize salsas made fresh daily in restaurants, those made for grocery store shelves, and independent bottlers. The categories in each class are red, green, pepper, and special variety, and are designed to leave enough room for a wide variety of styles. In the past, sauces have included fruit salsas, dried-pepper salsas, and even a purple sauce.

Commercial hot sauces are available to the public for tasting and for voting the "People's Choice" on the grounds at the Far Out Lounge. Voting will take place on tablets by the merch booth. One vote per person for each hot sauce bottler category (red, green, specialty, and pepper).

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