Arts & Entertainment

Fiery Foods Festival heats things up in Pasco

Zesty foods, entertainers, craft vendors, dancing, kids games, local vintages, fresh-picked produce, salsa contests and colorful flowers and peppers will all be found in downtown Pasco at the 25th annual Fiery Foods Festival on Sept. 12-13.

Admission to the festival is free. At 8 a.m. Sept. 12, local food growers will set up produce stands along Lewis Street at Fourth Avenue.

"We expect a wide variety of produce, everything from chili peppers to peaches, sweet corn to melons," said Gloria Garcia, one of the festival organizers.

"Many of the produce vendors will stay all day, both days," she said.

The specialty food booths, food vendors, arts and crafts booths and children's area will all open at 10 a.m. Sept. 12 and at noon Sept. 13. There will be something to watch and enjoy nearly all day Saturday and Sunday on the community stage, which will feature local musicians, dancers, singers and other entertainers. Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

On Sept. 12 there will be a Sweet and Savory Salsa Contest with contestants cooking outdoors. Judging begins about 11 a.m. followed by public tasting at noon. Scrip will be sold for 50 cents each to exchange for salsa samples. Chips will be supplied.

A Chili Eating Contest will be held at 4 p.m. Sept. 12 on the community stage. Contestants will have five minutes to eat as many fresh jalapeo peppers as possible. You must be 18 years or older to participate.

Sept. 13 will feature the Battle of the Salsas contest which is open to commercial businesses and restaurants. Contestants will be chopping and mixing their salsas outside with judging to take place about 11 a.m. and public tasting of their creations beginning at noon. Scrip will be sold to exchange for salsa samples and chips will be supplied.

There are still openings to participate in all three contests. To register for either the salsa contest or the chili eating contest, call the Pasco Downtown Development Association office at 545-0738 or Gloria Garcia at 539-3835. There is no charge to enter the contests.

For those over 21, there's a beer garden open both days featuring domestic, microbrews and Mexican beers, Mid-Columbia wines, margaritas and flavored tequilas. There is a one-time $5 cover charge per day, per person, plus you'll need to purchase your beverages. Hours are noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The beer garden will feature musical entertainment in the evening. There will be seating outside the beer garden for families and those under 21 who want to listen.

The Sept. 12 musical lineup for the beer garden is: Mudshark from 5 to 7 p.m.; Nasty Jack from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.; and Colorblind from 9 to 11 p.m. On Sept. 13 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., there will be music from several Pacific Northwest Hispanic bands.

The festival is a project of the Pasco Downtown Development Association. For more detailed information on the Fiery Food Festival, go to or call 545-0738.

*Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513;