Pueblo Chile Festival

The third weekend of September is a very happy time for us! Specifically because Pueblo, Colorado, hosts its annual Chile Festival. The people of Pueblo thoroughly embrace this wonderful tradition, but surprisingly, it remains very much a secret to most of Colorado. Luckily for us, we have family in Pueblo (John and Amy) who introduced us to the Chile Festival three years ago, and we have been going back for more every year since.

To experience the Chile Festival is to experience the smell of fresh chiles being roasted over flames by the tons, with the heat of the roasters radiating and the sun beating down, ashes of chile skins twirling all around us, and the distant sounds of ranchera music floating through the air.

But the best part of all is to experience THE TASTE of the chile festival. Upon arriving, we head straight for the “Pueblo Hottie” chile wrap:  an entire Pueblo Hot chile sprinkled with cheese, folded into a tortilla, and heated over the grill. We burn our mouths but care very little about that, as the chile and seeds mix so deliciously with the cheese and tortilla. But that was just an appetizer in my book. So we move on to Bingo Burger.

Do not be deceived by the light-hearted name. The owners Richard and Mary take their food very seriously, and aren’t we glad they do! We order a round of Bingo Burgers which are made from local, grass-fed beef, mixed with roasted green chiles and then grilled. Cheddar on top. This year, we tried something new- the chocolate chile milkshake. It was . . . a REVELATION (ref: Ratatouille).  There is only one way to really understand, and that is to go to Bingo Burger and order one yourself. Riquísimo

We usually head back up the street to Hopscotch Bakery, owned by the same proprietors of said shake and burger establishment, but this year we were just out of time. Next year, I’ll plan ahead because I missed the chile shortbread cookies which I love. There’s just nothing better than the burn of chiles mixed with sweetness, and they make their shortbread cookies perfectly. Light, flakey, and oh so buttery.

All this is just a very small picture of what Pueblo and its Chile Festival have to offer. I have yet to try the sausage sandwich with chiles, among other temptations. I love street food. I do. I just wish it was more available in this small part of the world. So, with my salivary glands already working in anticipation of next year, I will wait again, very impatiently for September 2011.

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8 Responses to Pueblo Chile Festival

  1. Rita says:

    Ok, now I envy you! Having been to the festival before and then reading your impressions and experiences of it all this year, makes me so sad that I was not able to attend the 2010 celebration. My mouth is watering! The photos took my breath away! So colorful and exciting!
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Stephanie Kunstle says:

    Yes, I hope I never miss a year. So glad you enjoyed it, virtually.

  3. Tío says:

    Revelation indeed!!!

  4. I have been employed with the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce for 11 years now, so that means I have worked and been to the Chili Festival for 11 out of the 16 years we have had this event. I have to say each year seems to surpass the last one and this year has been our best fest yet in my eyes.

    Best regards, Ava

  5. Rod Slyhoff says:

    Thank you for your story on the 16th Annual chile Festival! We felt that it was the biggest and best ever and already planning next year’s event which will be September 23, 24, 25, 2011. (The Festival is the third weekend after Labor Day) Thanks again and I look forward to seeing you at the next festival.

  6. Zella Richardson says:

    This is not an article to be read when you are hungry. Thank you for coming to Pueblo and enjoying the Chili Fest. The Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado has been a vendor for 5 years. It is wonderful to get there in the early morning and smell the chili roasting mixed with the smell of cinnamon almonds. I look forward to it every year. Our great Chamber does an incredible job of pulling it all together!!

  7. Stephanie Kunstle says:

    Rod, Ava, and Zella- thanks for all you do to put on such a fantastic and delicious festival…my only complaint is that there is just never enough time to eat it ALL! See you next year!

  8. Pingback: Mama Rita’s Tortillas & the Pueblo Chile Festival | The Triangle Plate

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