Erin Collier

Dan Bechdolt wipes his eyes after sampling “The Hottest Fuckin’ Sauce” at the Austin Hot Sauce Festival Sunday afternoon in Waterloo Park. “It lives up to its name,” he said. “No doubt about it”.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

A hot day in the triple digits didn’t stop people from enjoying a diverse range of even hotter sauces Sunday afternoon.

The Austin Chronicle hosted the 21st annual Hot Sauce Festival at Waterloo Park. A number of restaurants, commercial bottlers and individual chefs hosted their own tents offering samples of their signature hot sauces.

The Chronicle hoped to provide lively entertainment for the community near campus and gather food donations, said Erin Collier, marketing director for the Austin Chronicle. The festival raises food donations in conjunction with the Capital Area Food Bank for Central Texas families in need.

“We want to raise awareness, raise food, provide entertainment, challenge ourselves with a growing list of activities such as cooking demonstrations and live music,” Collier said. “And of course, introduce people to hot sauce. We just love seeing people have fun.”

Collier, who has been involved with the Hot Sauce Festival for 10 years, said the event organizers are happy to see so much support and energy despite the hot summer this year.

“Last year, a good 10,000 to 15,000 people came, but this year, we’re still estimating a good 10,000 to 12,000,” Collier said.

Festival goers donated about $17,000 and more than 23,500 pounds for charity this year, according to the Austin Chronicle’s website.

The festival also featured competition between sauce makers and restaurants displaying their signature hot sauces. They had an opportunity to give samples and advertise their sauces to the public. The crowd got to vote for their favorite sauces and participated in raffle contests.

UT senior and social work major Phuoc Bui said he returned after attending last year’s event.

“I really like free salsa,” Bui said.

Married couple and UT alumni, Adam and Sarah Barr, said they enjoyed seeing the differences between commercial and homemade salsas.

“We noticed the homemade are much better,” Adam Barr said.

The all-Longhorn rock band Moonlight Social played at the festival as a prize for winning the Austin Chronicle’s Sound Wars competition.

“We really like the crowd here,” said lead singer Jennica Scott. “Everyone seems like they’re really chillin’ from up on the stage, despite the heat.”

UT communication studies senior Eric Carter and natural science graduate student Gina Higby said they went to the event primarily for the music.

“We really don’t mind the heat. The music makes up for it,” Carter said.

Printed on Monday, August 29, 2011 as: Some like it hot.