The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival should be celebrating its 30th anniversary with a sweat-filled day at Fiesta Gardens, where the annual fête for all things fiery has taken place since 2012.
But with the coronavirus, the Chronicle is taking the event online with personal tasting kits and a virtual concert, cooking demos and awards ceremony, all still benefiting the Central Texas Food Bank.
The event will feature music from Go Fever, Como Las Movies, Mike Melinoe and Nemegata, with performances sponsored by Real Ale Brewing Co.
Camila Alves McConaughey and Eldorado Cafe will host cooking demonstrations, and participants will get a behind-the-scenes look at the hot sauce judging panel.
"We knew that despite the pandemic and other hardships of 2020, the show had to go on somehow," Chronicle food editor Jessi Cape said via release. " This year's competition looked a little different – we had six local pepper-loving women hang out on Zoom to taste more than 50 commercial sauces – but it was just as fun as ever."
A big part of the festival is the audience sampling, and to recreate some of that experience at home, the Chronicle is selling Hot Sauce Tasting Kits featuring a variety of sauces from participating bottlers, hot sauce merchandise and swag from Orangetheory Fitness, Central Market, Paqui Chips, Rambler Water and Twang.
A portion of the proceeds from every kit and all Hot Sauce merch will benefit the Central Texas Food Bank. The event has raised money to pay for 975,000 meals at the food bank over the years, and this year, they are hoping to cross the 1 million mark.
You can buy tasting kits ($65, for pick up only starting on Aug. 28) and hot sauce merchandise at austinchronicle.com/store. To attend the festival, make a donation to the Central Texas Food Bank and tune into the Chronicle Facebook page at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Update: This story has been updated to correct the year the festival moved to Fiesta Gardens.