New Mexico’s famous Hatch Chile Festival 2023

Welcome to the Hatch Chile Festival 2023! If you love spicy food, colorful festivities, and small-town charm, this festival is perfect for you.

The Hatch Chile Festival is one of the most famous festivals in New Mexico and attracts over 30,000 visitors every year.

This article will give you an overview of what to expect at the festival, including the history, dates, activities, and essential information to help you plan your visit. From chili-eating contests to mariachi music and carnival rides, there’s something for everyone at the Hatch Chile Festival.

Interested in visiting more spicy food festivals and events? Check out our full list of events happening in 2023.

What is the Hatch Chile Festival?

The Hatch Chile Festival is an annual event in the small village of Hatch, New Mexico, located about 40 miles north of Las Cruces. Founded in the early 1970s to celebrate the yearly chile harvest from the Hatch Valley fields, the festival has been a beloved tradition for over 50 years. With over 30,000 visitors every year, it is one of the most popular events in the region. The festival kicks off with a parade on the first day, usually around 10am. Then, it continues with a carnival, chile roasting, food and craft vendors, entertainment, and contests such as chile and watermelon eating. It’s a fun-filled event for the whole family to enjoy.

Watermelon eating contest at the Hatch Chile festival.

Hatch Chile Festival 2023 dates

If you’re planning a trip to the Hatch Chile Festival in 2023, you may wonder when it will occur. Festival organizers have confirmed that the Hatch Chile Festival is on for 2023 and will take place on September 1-3, over Labor Day Weekend.

Activities at the Hatch Chile Festival

If you’re headed to the Hatch Chile Festival, you’re in for a treat! The festival boasts a wide range of activities that are sure to keep everyone entertained. Here’s a breakdown of the various activities you can enjoy at the festival.

Competitions and contests:

  • Chile-eating contest: If you’re a fan of spicy food, you might want to give the chile-eating competition a shot.
  • Best chile recipe contest: Show off your cooking skills and submit your best Hatch Chile recipe for a chance to win.
  • Hatch chile hat competition: Get creative with your headwear and show off your love of chiles in the Hatch chile hat competition.
  • Little Miss Chile Queen contest: This event will surely be a crowd-pleaser, with stunning contestants vying for the title of Little Miss Chile Queen.

Music and entertainment:

  • Mariachi and Ballet Folklorico dancing: Experience the rich cultural heritage of New Mexico with traditional music and dance performances.
  • Live music: The festival features live music from local and regional artists.
  • Parade: The parade is a festival highlight, with vaqueros, music, and dancers.
  • Carnival with rides: Take a break from all the chile-related activities and enjoy the carnival rides.

Sports tournaments:

  • High school sports tournaments: If you’re a sports fan, you won’t want to miss the high school sports tournaments taking place during the festival.


  • Lots of vendors with food, wares, crafts, and peppers: With dozens of vendors offering a wide range of products and services, you’re sure to find something you’ll love.
  • Lots of roasted green chiles: The festival is the perfect opportunity to indulge in the delicious flavor of freshly roasted Hatch chiles. You can snack on them at the festival or take home a 30-40 pound burlap bag to enjoy later.
hatch chiles being removed from a roaster
Hatch chiles being removed from a roaster

What you need to know before you attend

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you prepare for the event.

Parking and arrival

Parking is available at Hatch High School and Grajenda, located at 1007 NM-26, Hatch, NM 87937. It costs $10 to park. You should arrive early on Saturday to avoid traffic due to the parade.

What to bring

The festival usually takes place in hot weather, so it is essential to bring sun protection, such as hats and sunscreen. You can also bring snacks and water to stay hydrated. Strollers are allowed, so you can bring your young children. Don’t forget spending cash to pay for parking, food, and wares.

With this information, you should be prepared to attend the Hatch Chile Festival comfortably and enjoyably. Remember to pack your sun protection, bring some snacks, and be ready to have an amazing time at the festival!

Photos courtesy of the Hatch Valley Chamber.

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  1. We come from California Just confirming the NM Chili festival is still on for September 1st, 2nd and 3rd at the Hatch Valley High School?

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