“I Like It HOT!” Festival Recap
“I Like It HOT!” Festival, September 15 & 16, 2007
So I headed west on I-4 to 275 through Tampa toward St. Pete, jumped off on 688 and headed into the little town on Largo, FL. Not a bad trip actually, made it pretty quick. I was lucky to have left so early and miss the Sunday Buc’s game traffic heading into Raymond James Stadium. I was following a friend and good thing because I’m ok with directions but not sure I would have found the Minnreg Hall, it was tucked way back off the road and kinda snuck up on you. But when I saw the cars and the signs I was relieved. “THE LARGEST SPICY FOOD SHOW IN FLORIDA” man I was excited!
The Minnreg Hall is not very big, though they did have some exhibitors outside in a courtyard. Yeah those lucky folks faced the unmerciful Florida sun all day, it was in the high 90’s on Sunday, Raymond James showed 107 on the Field- not too fun! But everyone’s spirits were high and there were a lot of Floridians there just soaking up the sun, the fun and the Hot Food!
Inside was a different story, shoulder to shoulder up and down each aisle the vendor booths had a lots of people around them. I got to talk with so many great manufacturers, it was a hoot. I think the event overall was a success, from all the information I gathered and everyone I spoke to, the Festival broke last years attendance numbers on Saturday. The anchor vendor was Tahiti Joe’s Hot Sauces from West Palm Beach, FL. The Joe’s Crew had a big spread and a huge amount of foot traffic the entire day I was there. Joe is an amazing guy and is so passionate about was he does, his products are great and if you are a label shopper- he has some really funny and envelope pushing labels.
My next stop was at the Chile Chile Bang Bang Gourmet Sauces booth, I tried some sauce and purchased their “Blazing Bonnets” and “Habanero Blaze”. A family based company since 1999 and two time “National Award Winning” manufacturer their products were fantastic.
An excellent find was the Intensity Academy booth, “We pride ourselves on intense flavors with the unique use of vegetables! Hot has never been so good for you!” And let me tell you, they are good. The samples I tried were awesome and I purchased their “Chai Chipotle” and “Hot3 -Hot Cubed”.
Richard’s Hot Sauce Co. from St. Petersburg, FL. booth was nicely arranged and I enjoyed the sauces very much. Also purchased from them, Richard’s Hot Sauce a 2007 Fiery Food Challenge Winner.
I met Chuck Faulk from Palatka, FL. and Cracker House Sauces. “Simple and Fresh, a sweet blend of Florida Datil peppers and JalapeÃ±o peppers along with other fresh vegetables.” His sauces Flippen’ Rock.
And I can’t leave out the guys from “Your Hot Sauce” Company also from St. Petersburg. Let me tell you, these guys were having a blast and their booth was so much fun.
There was a good time had by all; I ate, drank, and got pretty merry. In my comfort zone the nice endorphin buzz from all of the sauces I tried felt right at home with the “Smilies” I got from the beers we downed, Good Times! And I acquired a nice little sauce booty to top off the day.
Your Hot Sauce Company
PO box 1691
Pinellas Park, FL. 33780-1691