PUEBLO — The Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival is moving forward in September with some changes that will honor its beginnings while following COVID-19 guidelines.
"It's going to be a lot different," said Pueblo Chamber of Commerce President Rod Slyhoff
Organizers announced Wednesday this year's 26th annual Pueblo Chile & Frijoles THROWBACK Fest will "pay homage to our humble roots" and follow guidance from local government as well as public health officials.
This year's festival will be two areas designated for chile roasting and farmers markets in historic downtown Pueblo on Sept. 26 and 27 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Organizers said the focus will be on promoting the Pueblo Chile, other local agriculture, farm stands and farmers markets.
For local chile farmers, the festival brings an important boost to sales. "This is our livelihood," said Joey Musso, a chile grower. "This is something we depend on every year and we're hoping that it's not too drastically effected by the coronavirus pandemic."
Traffic will be able to go through on Union Avenue as the "public is encouraged to eat & shop local while in the area." The markets will be located at the SRDA parking lot and on South Grand Avenue in front of the Vail Hotel.
We hope to inspire community participation and pride while incorporating Chile Fest themed offers and activities and encourage collaboration and engagement with all merchants, restaurants, attractions and organizations over the weekend festivities.
There will also be curbside pickup available for participating farm stands. The admission will be through an online portal asking for donations and you will receive a coupon for $2 off any drink.
The Jalapeno Eating Contest will be canceled "due to the excessive amount of spicy fluids most contestants exude during the competition" and the Chihuahua Parade will also be canceled. The Chili & Salsa Showdown will go on this year and applications will be available online. Click here to view the application and more information.
Festival organizers said there will be no more than 175 guests allowed in any designated area at one time. There will also be temperature checks and masks will be required in order to enter the farmers markets.
The festival is typically one of the biggest events every year in Pueblo. It celebrated the chile harvest with events, vendors, live music and fun food competitions, averaging 140,000 attendees over the three days.