Hatch Chile Festival canceled for first time in 49-year history amid COVID concerns
LAS CRUCES – The coronavirus pandemic has claimed yet another beloved New Mexico annual event — the 2020 Hatch Chile Festival.
Organizers say it’s the first time the beloved event has been canceled in its 49-year history. The fiesta is held annually over Labor Day weekend in Hatch, the chile capital of the world.
Tina Cabrales, president of the Hatch Chile Festival, said factors aside from the state’s mass gathering ban led to the cancellation of the event.
“There’s several reasons not just due to COVID-19. The chile festival depends on sponsorships and a lot of businesses have been closed since the first part of the year. We just don’t feel comfortable going out and asking people for donations to support the chile festival, that’s number one,” Cabrales said. “With the COVID situation and the social distancing, that’s really going to be impossible because we do host about 20,000 to 30,000 people. It would be impossible to keep every area clean and disinfected, that’s reason number two.”
Cabrales said even though it’s disappointing, with over 13,000 cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico as of July 6, it’s the right decision to cancel for the health and safety of the community.
“Most of the festivals and events throughout New Mexico have also been canceled. There’s no state fairs, no duck races, it’s just to keep people safe,” Cabrales said. “We have people that come from all over the world to this. In order to keep our community safe, it’s a good idea for right now. It’s not that we’re doing this forever, it’s just not the time.”
Cabrales said if everything goes well, the festival will be back bigger and better than ever for its 50th year.
“We’ve talked about it, we still have plans for our 50th year. We have big plans,” Cabrales said.
Source: Las Cruces Sun News
Also to note, With all the Hatch Chile Roasting cancellations this year, finding peppers is going to be harder than ever! Our Hatch Chile Locator will not focus on where roasting are happening in 2020, rather which grocery stores are carrying chiles that you could roast at home!