Four Fiery Chili Festivals

The fall’s hottest events.

By Lynn Coulter

Weekend of Fire. Photo: Courtesy Of Jungle Jim's International Market

Weekend of Fire. Photo: Courtesy Of Jungle Jim’s International Market

Hatch Valley Chile Festival
Hatch Valley is proudly known as the “Chile Capital of the World,” so it’s fitting that the town stops to celebrate its bountiful crop this year Sept. 3 – 4. Try your luck at a chili toss, cheer for the crowning of the Chile Queen, let the kids enjoy carnival rides and smell the mouth-watering scent of green chilies roasting over open flames. For more info, call the Hatch Valley Chamber of Commerce at (575) 267-5050. The festival takes place at the Hatch Airport, located 1 mile west of the town of Hatch.

Chile Pepper Food Festival
How many jalapenos can you handle? This year’s Chile Pepper Food Festival features a jalapeno-eating competition and a homemade salsa contest. Enjoy live music and an excursion into the pepper fields, where you can see the plants growing and buy fresh picked peppers, hot jellies and spicy Chile powders. The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 9 – 10, 2011. William Delong Park, 233 Bowers Rd., Bowers, PA 19511.

Houston Hot Sauce Festival
The Annual Houston Hot Sauce Festival ignites this year on Sept. 17, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sept. 18, from noon to 5 p.m. Festival highlights include a Ghost Pepper Salsa Eating Competition and the scary sounding Execution Station. Admission includes free samples of spicy foods that are flavored to taste garlicky, sweet, smoky, peppery, smooth or fruity. Stafford Centre, 10505 Cash Rd., Houston, TX 77477. (281) 558-3518.

Weekend of Fire
Hot sauce lovers, this one’s for you. The “Weekend of Fire” features more than 1,400 different kinds of hot sauces, along with blazing mustards, marinades, jerky and other “extremely spicy grub.” Billed as the “largest fiery foods show in the Midwest,” the festival takes place Oct. 1 – 2, 2011, at the Oscar Event Center, Jungle Jim’s International Market, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, OH 45014. (513) 674-6000. Check the website for hours.

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