By Courtney Beck
It is September and the smell of roasting chile is in the air. This past weekend, over 30,000 tourists throughout the country decended upon Hatch, New Mexico for the towns annual Hatch Chile Festival.
The town of 1,601 residents, was taken over by chile enthusiasts. Nestled in the middle of nowhere, with a dry climate and vast land space, green and red chile farmers have found the perfect place for growing their spicy crops.
The year-round goal for these farmers are not only mass producing their chile, but also bringing in revenue from the thousands of customers that come to the festival for the freshest product possible. At the festival, visitors got a front row seat to how chile is roasted, peeled, dried, and made into chile ristras. Chile farmers were not the only venders at the festival.
For the kids and kids at heart, there was a traveling carnival with all the games and cotton candy one could imagine. With the chile farmers, there were also booths of locals displaying their trades, clothes, toys, and even homemade foods.
Local women hosted chile ristra shows, and taught the public how to string and hang their ristras. All over the town visitors were carrying mass quantities of chile and larger than life chile ristras to take home and share with others.
Not only do the festival goers get their long awaited chile fix, but the town’s economy undoubheltdly would be able to profit as well.
Small local businesses get the much need business and profit boost they need to keep going, and the town of Hatch also benefits from taxed goods that help to keep their infrastructure up to date.
Public services such as the police and fire department, benefit from the local taxes by gaining more equipment and providing more job opportunities.
Events such as the Hatch Chile Festival, are providing not only local economy boosts, but also new experiences for people of all ages to enjoy.