11 hot sauce festivals you won’t want to miss in 2023
If you love hot sauce, it’s time to start planning ahead! 2023 will be the year of the hot sauce festival, with a range of events around the world ready to tantalize your taste buds and show off the best of what the hot sauce world has to offer.
From hot sauce-making competitions to food stands to brand features, there’s something for everyone who loves hot sauce. Here are 12 hot sauce festivals to explore in 2023. Each unique event offers something different, from small-scale events featuring local hot sauce producers to larger-scale events with more national and international recognition.
January 21 — Hops N’ Sauce Festival — Humble, Texas
Texas knows a thing or two about spicy food! The Hops N’ Sauce festival is the first of the year, landing at the end of January and taking place just outside of Houston. It highlights both spicy food and beer, hence the name.
You can expect vendors like Bravado Spice Co, Hardcore Hot Sauce, Hot Sauce Holsters, and tons of other sauce, salsa, and spice brands. This festival will have food trucks, free samples, and even a pepper-eating contest.
This is an annual event, so if you’re reading this after January 21, 2023, don’t worry! You’ll have your chance to attend next year.
Click here to learn more about the Hops N’ Sauce festival.
February 25 — Heatwave Hot Sauce Expo — London, Ontario, Canada
The Heatwave Hot Sauce Expo is sure to be an action-packed event with vendors, contests, and even a Guinness world record attempt. There will be hundreds of hot sauces available to sample, and spicy foods like wings, and pepper and wing-eating competitions.
This festival includes The Eternal Flames, which are awarded to hot sauces in five different categories: mild, medium, hot, extreme, and most unique. The hot sauces are scored by a panel of judges, including chefs, experts, and hot sauce lovers.
General admission costs only $12.25, so you’ll definitely want to add this one to your calendar.
Click here to learn more about Heatwave Hot Sauce Expo.
March 17 — Herb and Chilli Festival — Wandin North, Victoria, Australia
The Herb and Chilli Festival is one of the biggest spicy food events in all of Australia, entering its 11th year. It will feature vendors, cooking demonstrations, live music, wrestling, contests, and more.
There will be four different competitions, including chili eating, hot wing eating, tequila and hot peppers, and a food eating race, each repeating four times over the course of the two-day weekend event.
Click here to learn more about the Herb and Chilli Festival and to buy tickets.
April 1-2 — Pinellas Pepper Fest — Pinellas Park, Florida
The Pinellas Pepper Fest is a celebration of all things spicy. It features live entertainment, vendors, food, and plenty of contests. This festival has been running for 15 years, so it’s sure to be refined and professionally-managed.
There will be a hot sauce competition, a jalapeño-eating contest, and a Lolli Lick-A-Thon featuring the spiciest lollypop in the world.
Click here to lean more about the Pinellas Pepper Fest.
April 22-23 – Phillipine Chili Festival — Makati, Philippines
The Philippine Chili Festival celebrates all things spicy food. Enjoy peppers from around the world, spicy food products, chili eating contests, games, raffles, and more at this 2-day festival. Learn more on their Facebook page.
May 20-21 — Berlin Chili Fest — Berlin, Germany
Held at a brewery, the Berlin Chili Fest is a dog-friendly event featuring a spicy market, beer garden, and hot sauce tasting.
June 17 — Spice Fest — Des Moines, Iowa
Spice Fest is a new spicy food event held in Des Moines, Iowa at a brewery. It features vendors selling spicy foods and offering samples, as well as hot sauce contests. Awards will be given for the hottest sauce, and attendees will vote to nominate a “people’s choice” hot sauce award.
Click here to learn more about Spice Fest.
July 13 — Old Boney Mountain “Hot Summer Night” — Thousand Oaks, California
Every year, Old Boney Mountain hosts an international hot sauce competition, culminating in an exciting people’s choice award and event. The event includes live music, food, drinks, and a silent auction. Best of all, this festival is a fundraiser aimed at helping underprivileged youth and the widows and orphans of lost firefighters. Click here to learn more about the hot sauce competition and events this summer.
July 22 — IL Hot Sauce Expo — Joliet, Illinois
The IL Hot Sauce Expo is one of the biggest hot sauce destination events of the year. 2023 will be its 4th year of operation.
It hosts a number of vendors, including El Yucateco, Big Red’s Hot Sauce, and Fueo Box in previous years. It also has notable sponsors like Yelp, Peppers.com, and Heatonist.
The full details for 2023 have yet to be announced, but you can find all the info here once it’s published.
I have already gotten my tickets for this event, so let me know if I’ll see you there!
July 29 — New England Hot Sauce Fest — Hampton, New Hampshire
The New England Hot Sauce Fest is another highly anticipated festival in the spicy food world. You should buy tickets in advance because they may sell out early.
This festival has an impressive lineup of name-brand vendors, including Angry Goat Pepper Co, Butterfly Bakery of Vermont, Alchemy Peppers, and many more.
Enjoy beer, bouncy houses, live music, and, best of all, lots of spicy food at this family-friendly event. There will also be hot pepper and hot wing eating contests.
July 29-30 — Oxnard Salsa Festival — Oxnard, California
This double entendre festival features salsa dancing as well as salsa (the sauce you dip your chips in!) Enjoy salsa tasting, international foods, a salsa recipe contest, and more at this summer event. Learn more here.
August 5-6 — Great Dorset Chili Festival — Dorset, United Kingdom
The Great Dorset Chili Festival is a family-friendly pepper festival that includes tons of food, a chili cook-off, chili plant competitions, and more. See the event website here.
August 13-14 — PDX Hot Sauce Expo — Portland, Oregon
August 18-19 — North Hudson Pepper Festival — North Hudson, Wisconsin
The North Hudson Pepper Festival is an Italian heritage festival more than a spicy food-specific festival. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t spicy fun to be had! We recommend going on August 19th, when they will have a hot pepper eating contest.
I might also attend this one since it’s only a 4-hour drive from me.
September 1-3 — Hatch Chile Festival — Hatch, New Mexico
The Hatch Chile festival is perfect for those who love spicy food, colorful festivities, and small-town charm. It takes place in the small village of Hatch, New Mexico, and celebrates the annual chile harvest from the Hatch Valley fields.
With over 30,000 visitors every year, the festival boasts a wide range of activities for the whole family, including chile-eating contests, live music, a carnival, food and craft vendors, and more. Be sure to arrive early, bring sun protection and spending cash, and get ready to enjoy a fun-filled event!
Did I miss any spicy food events, expos, or festivals? Drop it in the comments below. I’ll be updating this list throughout the year as new dates and festivals are announced.
If you are a hot sauce or spicy food event host and looking for blogger/influencer coverage of your event, please reach out via email at email@example.com. I still have limited travel availability in 2023!
we attened a Pepper Festival at the Sanda Resort in Albuquerque, NM a few years ago and was wondering if they plan on having another sometime soon?
It looks like we might have just missed it — there was a “Fiery Foods show” at the Sandia Resort just a month ago: https://www.fieryfoodsshow.com/
I’ll keep that one on my radar for 2024!