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7 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 9 — 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.

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 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 will be able to find all the info here once it’s published.

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.

Click here to buy tickets.

Did we miss any spicy food events, expos, or festivals? Shoot us an email at hello@spicyexchange.com, we’ll be updating this list throughout the year as new dates and festivals are announced.

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