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Another Cool Austin Festival : The Austin Hot Sauce Festival

Jun 19, 2008
With almost two decades under its belt, the Austin Hot Sauce Festival is a time-honored tradition featuring some of the most defining characteristics of life in Austin: hot sauce, hot weather, live music, great food and a fantastic way to give back to the community.

A major fundraiser for the Capital Area Food Bank, the festival boasts free admission, with a donation of three healthy, non-perishable food items or a cash donation to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. Always held in late summer, the weather is guaranteed to rival the sauces in hotness, but this popular event consistently draws more than 15,000 spectators to Waterloo Park in downtown Austin - this amounts to a sizeable donation to one of the most community-centric and necessary non-profits in town.

The heart of the festival is the hot sauce competition. The contest, with separate judging for individuals, restaurants, and commercial bottlers, is divided into three categories: red, green, and specialty variety. The festival attracts as many as 350 entries, who each provide a quart of their entered hot sauce that makes over 100 gallons of hot sauce being consumed annually at the festival itself, let alone all the jars available for purchase. Combined with over 650 lbs of tortilla chips, the sauces are available to be sampled by all participants. The sauces are judged, however, by respected area chefs, and as this festival's reputation has grown, so has the competition, which is as fierce as the heat.

In addition to sampling the finest hot sauce in the area, spectators can partake of food from many local restaurants, many of whom have entered, and won, the hot sauce competition. The food provided often highlights or incorporates the salsas, and although weighted towards Austin's renowned Tex-Mex, interior Mexican and BBQ, other ethnicities are often represented. Restaurants that have participated in the past include Curra's, Dona Emilia's, Matt's El Rancho, Ruby's BBQ, Santa Rita and Suun Garden Shaved Ice.

What would an Austin festival be without live music? Again focusing on our local talent, the festival boasts quite a cross-section of musical genres, with kid-friendly bands, country, jazz, conjunto, and many others. Bands who have played at past hot sauce festivals include, Loose Cannons, the South Austin Jug Band, Los Jazz Vatos and the Gourds.

Getting to try the cream of the salsa crop, eat the best food Austin has to offer, dance to the grooviest bands in town and make a contribution to a worthy cause is one of the highlights of an Austin summer. The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival is an institution, and one that will face its next two decades in the same spicy fashion.
About the Author
Escapeso Real Estate helps individuals looking for Austin real estate . His site features a powerful map based search of the Austin MLS along with information on mortgage interest rates.
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