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Hot Sauce Festival bringing the heat back to Austin for in-person event

Eric Webb
Austin 360
Blake Tatsuta, sporting a homemade crown of serrano and jalapeño peppers picked from his pepper plants, carefully wipes sweat from his brow while tasting hot sauces during the 28th annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival at Fiesta Gardens in 2018.

The spice is back. The annual Hot Sauce Festival will return for an in-person event this year, according to event organizer the Austin Chronicle.

The 31st edition will set up shop from 3 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 12 at the Far Out Lounge and Stage, a move from the fest's usual home at Fiesta Gardens. The event is for all ages. 

"A celebration of all things hot and spicy, this year’s Hot Sauce Festival features hot sauce samples from 15 commercial bottlers, specialty sauces and peppers, cookbooks, and other foodie fare," according to a news release.

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The festival's website clarifies this year's contest: "Unfortunately, for safety reasons we will not be able to host an individual competition this year. All hot sauce entries must be made in a restaurant or commercial kitchen. No walk-up entries are allowed."

Expect live music from Ley Line, Geto Gala, Indoor Creature and Van Mary.

The festival, which started in 1990, also serves as a fundraiser for the Central Texas Food Bank. Last year, the Hot Sauce Festival took a pause from in-person activity and sold at-home hot sauce kits to raise money for the food bank.

Tickets to the Hot Sauce Festival, $10, are now on sale. Half of each ticket sale benefits the food bank. Go to austinchronicle.com/hotsauce for more information.