The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival

Sunday, September 10, 2023, 3-9pm
The Far Out Lounge & Stage
8504 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78745

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  • Is parking available on-site?
    Limited on-site parking will be available at the Far Out Lounge and Stage for $20. Off-site parking has moved to Qualitek Auto Body located at 8530 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78745 directly south of The Far Out Lounge & Stage venue. Parking at 220 Ralph Ablanedo Dr. is CLOSED. Attendees are discouraged from parking in the neighborhoods adjacent to the festival. Please respect all parking signs to avoid being towed. If possible please take public transportation, car pool, arrange a ride, rideshare, or ride your bike! Rideshare pick-ups and drop-offs should be directed to the northeast corner parking lot of the venue located at Ralph Ablanedo Dr. and S. Congress Ave. CapMetro offers routes with drop-offs within walking distance to the venue through the 801 N. Lamar/S. Congress and 10 S. 1st/Red River transits.
  • How much does it cost to get in?
    Prior to the event the cost is $10, with $5 of each ticket going to the Central Texas Food Bank. Tickets at the door will be $15. Free for ages 6 years and under.
  • Can I bring water, snacks, and my cooler?
    Bottled water will be available for purchase and self-serve water jug stations will be placed throughout the venue. 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 so plan accordingly.
  • What’s the bathroom situation?
    ADA accessible bathroom available indoors 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 at the merch booth as well.
  • When will the winners be posted?
    September 10, around 8pm, at austinchronicle.com/hotsauce. 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 commercial bottlers, restaurants, and individually submitted hot sauces is conducted by a panel of notable personalities which may include top chefs, restaurant owners, food writers, and other hot sauce experts.

    The contest is separated into three classes of competition: commercial bottlers, restaurants, and individuals. This gives us the opportunity to recognize salsas made fresh daily in restaurants, those made for store shelves, and the ones made by independent sauciers. Categories of hot sauce include red, green, special variety, and pepper (the hottest category) 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!

    For Restaurants and Individuals: Participants who have competed in previous years have been invited to return to a modified version of our Hot Sauce Festival and competition. While we have reduced the size of the festival, our mission to support the Central Texas Food Bank and local Texans in need remains our biggest goal and is the heart of our cause for hosting this event every year. Voting is by a panel of judges chosen by our food editor, Melanie Haupt, and takes place in advance. Winners will be announced during the festival.

    Commercial Hot Sauces: are available to the public for tasting and voting in the “People’s Choice” on the day of the festival. People’s Choice voting will take place on tablets by the Austin Chronicle merch booth from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. 1 vote per person for each Hot Sauce bottler category (red, green, special variety, & pepper).