Chips and salsa are back on the menu for one of downtown Pasco’s hottest events.
The 29th Fiery Foods Festival, put on by the Downtown Pasco Development Authority, will happen Saturday from noon to 7 p.m., following a “fiery” version of the farmers market from 8 a.m. to noon.
There are 30 vendors from local organizations lined up, including the Pasco School District and several other businesses.
This is the fifth festival put on since its return in 2012, said Luke Hallowell, executive director of the Downtown Pasco Development Authority.
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Hallowell said some vendors will also showcase special chile-infused fruits, hot sauces and other spicy foods found throughout American and Mexican cuisine. There will also be a beer garden with domestic and imported options from Garibaldi’s Restaurant.
“That’s kind of the idea — to enjoy the spicier things in life,” Hallowell said.
The salsa contest has between seven and 10 entries, but Hallowell said there could be more submissions. Judging categories include people’s choice, sponsors and celebrities.
The festival will also have a fiery foods truck faceoff and brand new celebrity pepper eating gauntlet, where local public figures and others will start out mild and see how much heat they can handle. Habañeros are currently the hottest peppers they have, but they may add something a little more extreme.
That’s kind of the idea — to enjoy the spicier things in life.
Luke Hallowell, Downtown Pasco Development Authority
“We’re trying to decide how hot is too hot,” Hallowell said.
Pasco Mayor Matt Wakins and Police Chief Bob Metzger will participate in the heated competition.
Live music and dancing are also planned, Hallowell said. Tri-Cities Fino is scheduled to play from 4-7 p.m. There will also be music from Evan Egerer at 2 p.m.
Numerica Credit Union, one of the festival’s major sponsors, will also have a cool-down lounge full of water, popsicles and squirt guns. There will also be game tables, bouncy houses and other activities for kids.
“We really want to get people out here who’ve never experienced downtown Pasco,” Hallowell said. “I think the Tri-Cities needs more multicultural festivals to celebrate.”
The salsa contest is from 2 to 5 p.m. and the fiery food truck faceoff runs throughout the festival. The celebrity pepper gauntlet starts at 4 p.m.
The festival is free, though bags of chips will cost $2 for anyone interested in salsa tasting.
Hallowell said there are more than 30 volunteers this year, but that anyone interested can still apply through the “volunteer” tab at fieryfoodsfestival.com.
“You can never have too much help,” he said.
Fiery Foods Festival entertainment
Noon-1:20: Welcome: Family Entertainment, Kids Karaoke/Tri-Cities Talent, Urban Poets and Friends
1:30-1:55: Yakima tribe
2-2:45: Evan Egerer, acoustic rock
3-3:45: Grupo Avion
4-4:45: Pepper Gauntlet with background music
5:45-6:45: Tri Cities Fino