More than just temperatures are heating up in Pueblo.
The hot, dry weather has led to a robust chile season, and growers are reveling in a bumper crop.
“The Pueblo chile this year is amazing,” said Sara Genova, manager for DiSanti Farms. “Thick meated, hot and full of flavor. We had ideal temperatures and water in the ditch, which is the perfect recipe for a bumper crop.”
“It looks like all the farmers who grow peppers are having a good year,” she said “And the peppers are hotter this year.”
All this can mean only one thing: It’s time for Pueblo’s annual chile festival.
In a normal year, the festival would draw tens of thousands of people with a variety of chile-honoring activities.
While 2020 is far from a normal year, the show will still go on — in a modified way. You won’t see most of the usual activities, like the Jalapeno Eating Contest, the Chihuahua Parade and the Fijole Spitting Contest this year. But you will enjoy the familiar, savory aroma of roasting chilies — at the Chile & Frijoles Throwback Fest on Sept. 26 and 27, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“The throwback version pays homage to our humble roots when the festival was but one block long and neither the staff, vendors, nor farmers ever dreamed there would be s second festival, let alone 26,” according to a news release from the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce.
Here’s how the festival will be set up:
• The location will be different and smaller this year. Farmers markets will be in two downtown areas: Senior Resource Development Agency parking lot, 230 N. Union Ave., and at 217 S. Grand Ave., in front of the Vail Hotel.
• No more than 175 people will be allowed in the designated festival area at a time.
• Temperature checks and masks will be required to enter the markets.
• Separate entry and exit gates will be used.
• Hand-sanitizing stations will be available.
• Customers preferring curbside pickup can preorder online from their favorite participating farm stand. A list of participating farmers will be at festival.pueblochamber.org.
The usual $5 gate admission is not required this year. Instead, the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce will have an online portal where you can donate your gate admission and receive a coupon for $2 off any beverage during the event.
One festival tradition that hasn’t been canceled this year will make many home and professional cooks happy. The Chili & Salsa Showdown food competition is still on and will be held at the Pueblo Convention Center. Entry forms and more information will be available at the same link above.
So, go ahead, plan a day of feeling the heat at Pueblo’s “throwback” chile fest.
You can get your winter supply of green pods, pick up some great products, and enter your best chili and salsa recipe for a chance to win the showdown. And while you’re in Pueblo, visit one of the many restaurants that have Pueblo Sloppers on the menu — the Steel City’s signature dish. It’s an open-faced burger smothered in fiery-hot roasted green chiles, and a sizzling way to bid summer farewell.
contact the writer: 636-0271.