Katie Lianez / Lantern reporter
Locate the drinking fountains and pack the antacids, the Fiery Foods Festival is back in Columbus this weekend.
The festival, which is a weekend-long celebration of some of the spiciest recipes around, is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at the North Market.
This is the festival’s 11th year, said Mary Martineau, the event’s co-chair and director of marketing at the North Market.
About Eighteen vendors from Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Nebraska will be sampling and selling their fares.
Columbus Brewing Company and Elevator Brewing Company are back with spicy beers made just for the event. Columbus Brewing Company will be serving up its Habanero Bodhi while Elevator Brewing Company returns with “Hot Brown” Chipotle Nut Brown Ale and the new Three Hot Frogs IPA. These and other non-spicy brews will be selling for $4 a pint.
In addition to the amateur guacamole, salsa, hot sauce and chili cook-offs, visitors can also try their hand at a number of eating contests including Heartbreaking Dawns’ “scorn bread” challenge.
“I’m pretty confident it’s going to be brutally hot,” said Johnny McLaughlin, owner of Heartbreaking Dawns, of this year’s recipe which includes a mix of chili peppers called ghost peppers and their signature Trinidad Scorpion Sauce.
Anyone brave enough can sign up the day of the event for a chance to win North Market gift cards or fiery foods prize packages.
The main event, the Chef’s Chili Challenge is scheduled to take place Saturday at 11 a.m. and will feature chefs from local restaurants including Martini Modern Italian, Bodega and Milestone 229. An Amateur Chili Cook-off Contest is set for Sunday at 12:30 p.m., and there is a $5 charge for each chili event to eat the chili.
“We encourage everyone to try at least one item that’s hot and spicy,” said John Hard, co-chair of the festival and owner of CaJohn’s Flavor & Fire at the North Market.
The Fiery Foods Festival has a variety of non-spicy options, though. Most vendors offer more mild recipes, and the North Market will be operating as normal.
Market hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday. The event is free aside from the tasting fees.
The North Market is located at 59 Spruce St.