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          The Zest Fest is an annual event in Fort Worth that features zesty sauces and rubs, chips and dips, spicy foods and jalapeño eating contests live music and lots of people.  We decided to check it out the weekend of the 6th of September.  We paid $10 per person at the door to enter and sample hundreds of brands of spicy.  Some of the samples were real good, some were so so, and some were OMG!  I tried the liquid rain, I was glad I had a beer which I proceeded to guzzle immediately.  My eyes began to tear, it was hot, but it had no flavor.  That's one thing I can't do is flavorless heat, come on, if it's going to be hot, at least give it some flavor.  Also, beer is not the best fire extinguisher, but they weren't serving milk.  The event was held in the Amon G. Carter Jr. exhibit hall, at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth.  The Will Rogers Center is very large and made up of several large buildings, including a stadium.


          We entered the hall and immediately purchased a beer.  I got a corn dog so I could drink the beer without any problems if you know what I mean.  I'm kind of a light weight when it comes to beer on an empty stomach.  We headed for the first booth, (above center) at which we purchased a chipotle dip, some chips and a chipotle guacamole, that would do for starters.  We actually went back later for a salsa, it's a screamn' hot Wicked hot all natural salsa, OMG!  A small amount on some chips and you can't get the fire out, mmmmm good.







          One thing I didn't like about the festival was the beer.  $5 a glass for Coors Light only on tap, up from $4.50 the last event held there.  No other beer brand or type was available, I have never heard of that before.  Unlike Taste Addison, where you can purchase many kinds of beer at many different stands, beer was only sold at a few (about 4) concession stands, 2 were selling just the beer, which made it inconvenient if like Brandon, you just wanted a coke.






  Large Crowds       Some people were very strange  

          Some things we didn't like about the Zest Fest, was the amount of room between booths.  They were so close together that you had to get into line 3 or 4 booths back in order to check out a certain product.  Lines went real slow.  We thought it would have been better if they had more booths, like crafts, or items for sale which would increase the distance between booths.  Also the distance across the isles was also too small for the crowd, with lines going past booths on each side of the isle, it didn't leave room in the middle for people to move through.  We noticed a large section of the hall was roped off, (not used) which would have given more area for the amount of people.

      Bloody Mary Mixers      





  Vern's Queso   Sharing cinnamon roasted nuts   Defcon Sauces  





Chile Pepper Magazine - Sponsor of the event

      My Parting Comments      

          Overall it was an interesting few hours, but for $30 we should have wanted to spend most of the day.  It is a good idea for a festival to celebrate spicy foods and we would never miss a festival for food, especially spicy.  Things need to change for next year if they want the fest to carry on from year to year.  More booths from vendors that are not selling spicy foods, like crafts, art, specialty items like margarita mixes and blenders would have been cool.  More room, spread out the isles so they can fit more than people 3 across, of limit only one side to booths along each isle.  They need to serve more beer, especially some Mexican beers which are synonymous with spicy foods.  If they use these ideas to improve next years Zest Fest, it will be one of the festivals to attend from year to year.

  We will head for Hatch New Mexico next year (Labor Day Weekend) to attend the Chile Fest there, looks good!