You’ll Never Forget Your Time at Hatch Chile Festival 2023

[UPDATED July 14, 2023] Dan and I so enjoyed the sights and smells of roasting chile in the streets of Hatch, New Mexico,  for the annual Hatch Chile Festival. We won’t forget all our fun times packed into one Labor Day weekend. Read on for the reasons you shouldn’t miss the 2023 Hatch Chile Festival happening soon. 

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Hatch, New Mexico—the Chile Capital of the World

handprinted sign reading "Hatch, NM - the Chile Capital Welcome" red letters on yellow background

I can’t recommend enough the fun and laughter at the annual Hatch Chile Festival in the Village of Hatch, NM—the Chile Capital of the World. It’s a chance for you to dig into the unique culture of this special region.

Doña Ana County, where Hatch is located, is a huge agricultural area. The festival time provides opportunities for hard-working farmers and their families to come out and celebrate the harvest. It’s exciting to catch their energy!

Here's how to make memories at Hatch Chile Festival

woman and man stand in front of restaurant with cartoon character statues on roof, line out the door, checkerboard facade
UNSTOPPABLE Stacey and husband Dan in front of the world famous Sparky's BBQ

Festivities get underway on Saturday, September 2, 2023, with the Hatch Chile parade.  The charming hometown parade gets the show on the road around 9 am Saturday. We loved the parade with the horses, fire engines and dozens of floats decorated in surprising Hatch chile motifs. 

RELATED: How to Roast Green Chiles

Hatch Chile Festival Parade

8 cowboys in straw hats ride their well-trimmed horses along street in Hatch Chile Festival parade
New Mexican cowboys in Hatch Chile Festival Parade

Throughout the day, you can laugh at the competitive shenanigans of the contestants at the Chile Eating Contests. If a contestant reaches for that pint of milk, they lose.

The kids in the ice cream eating contest are precious. And the watermelon munchers were very competitive, too. Of course, everywhere vendors roasted green chiles and the aroma filled the air.

Hatch chile-eating contest

man stands in front of black roaster with a string of red chiles hanging to his right
Roasters and ristras (strings of red or green chiles) were everywhere

Live music and performances throughout the weekend

Four young women in brightly colored skirts pirouette on the street under the pecan orchard
Ballet Folklorio performs at Hatch Chile Festival 2022 | UNSTOPPABLE Stacey photo

Then eat fair food while watching traditional dancers or listening to live music under the shade of a pecan orchard. How cool is that? It’s all a heck of a lot of fun that lasts through Sunday of Labor Day weekend. (Schedule below.)

Of course, I had to buy a ristra (a string of red or green chiles) to dry at home. Dan opted for the 50-lb gunnysack full of ‘medium hot’ Hatch green chiles and 10 lbs of onions. He also couldn’t resist the sombrero.

RELATED: New Mexico Hatch Chiles Recipes
man in wide sombrero reaches for gunnysack of Hatch green chiles iin the back of his truck- pallets of 50-lb sacks can be seen behind him
Dan Wittig grabs gunnysack of Hatch green chiles for his neighbors back home, note pallets of sacks of green chiles behind him

Other plans for Labor Day?

If you can’t make it to New Mexico for the festivities, then order your Hatch Green chiles online at Melissa’s Produce. Melissa gets her chiles directly from the growers around Hatch.

Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Electric Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker, Bronze
Melissa's Hatch Chile Salsa, Hot, 3 jars (12 oz each)
Melissa's Hatch Chile Powder, Hot (2 Ct., 3.2oz)

About the 2023 Hatch Chile Festival

The Hatch Chile Festival takes place over Labor Day weekend on September 2 and 3, 2023, in Hatch, New Mexico.

What to bring to the Hatch Chile Festival?

It rained during the 2021 festival, so bring a rain jacket just in case, a sunhat, water and sunscreen. Be prepared to do a lot of walking around all the restaurants, events, music and chile, food and craft vendors. Shuttle service is provided, too.

How much does the Hatch Chile Festival cost?

Watch for signage directing you to park at Hatch High School as you drive into the event. Organizers ask for a $10 contribution as a parking fee to support the festival. There is no additional fee beyond the parking contribution.

2023 Hatch Chile Festival Schedule

Village Market


Chile, Ice Cream, Watermelon eating contests

Live Music, Food and Brewery


Chile, Ice Cream, Watermelon eating contests

Live Music, Food and Brewery

Entertainment-Pecan Orchard-Vendor Area


Opening Ceremonies

Chile Queen Auction

Traditional music and dance performances

Live music

Hatch Chile Hat Competition



Live music

young girl with bulging cheeks looks back at parent for encouragement as she holds ice cream cup
close up of Hatch green chiles in a burlap sack
5 hhuge strings of red chiles hang from wooden ramada at Hatch Chile festival
Handmade ristras sold by local vendors at hatch Chile Festival 2021
Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Electric Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker, Bronze
Melissa's Hatch Chile Salsa, Hot, 3 jars (12 oz each)
Melissa's Hatch Chile Powder, Hot (2 Ct., 3.2oz)

Where to stay for Hatch Chile Festival
author sticks her head through hole in sign painted with huge green chile that reads: Sparky's Hatch NM

Wondering where to stay at Hatch Chile festival? We stayed in Truth or Consequences, which is just up the interstate from Hatch. There are plenty of rooms there or in Las Cruces.

Did you like my story? Then please leave a comment below. If I left something out, please let me know in a comment. I really appreciate your feedback.

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Hi, I’m Stacey

UNSTOPPABLE Stacey Travel is a travel blog focused on immersive travel that highlights food, wine and the spirituality of place. I also occasionally write about life as a Camino de Santiago pilgrim. I hope you enjoy what I post here. Feel free to leave comments! Read more…


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As is common in the travel industry, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey was provided with accommodations, meals, and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review,  the author believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

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