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Chile Harvest Festival celebrates
(La Voz file photo)

By Emma Lynch

Summer must go out with a little kick and a little bang. That is why the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council and the City of Lakewoodĺs Heritage, Culture, & Arts Division are hosting the Chile Harvest Art Festival for the 3rd year in a row. Located at the Lakewood Heritage Center, this yearĺs event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 27 and Sunday, Aug. 28 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. La Voz is a proud sponsor.

Much like the chile family, the event has a little bit of everything. Be prepared for Aztec and Flamenco dancers, music and entertainment, museum tours, art demonstrations, salsa lessons and activities for children. More than 40 artists from photographers to santeros will present their work. The celebration honors Spanish Colonial traditional, folk, indigenous and contemporary art, perfectly timed with the harvest of the chile pepper.

Perhaps one of the most colorful festivals in Colorado from the spinning dresses of the dancers to the hanging ristras of dried chiles, to the artwork, oneĺs aesthetic sense will be enlightened upon arriving and oneĺs smell of churning chiles and taste of pure richness will soon follow.

The chile harvest isnĺt just about the food it reaps, but about the tradition it brings. From August through September, Southwesterners know it is that time of year again, the time to roast the chiles. Roasting them allows the skins to be removed with more ease. Much like the 4th of July or Thanksgiving, chile roasting season can be linked to honoring or worshipping the harvest of the chile. You wonĺt find turkeys or firework stations, but rather seasonal chile roasting stations across the southwest.

From roadside tables to supermarkets and local grown farmers markets, you will catch a whiff of chile in the air from miles away. The familiar scene of the large black cages that house the chiles will spin in your mind and the pop of the fire that heats them will sound in your ears. Families purchase just a few or multiple pound bags to lug home and begin cooking. This special late summer treat is always worth the wait.

Want to roast your own on the grill? No problem, grab a propane tank and turn them as they begin to blister. Make sure when handling chiles to keep them away from your eyes. Use gloves to ensure safety.

Once your chiles are roasted, peal them, eat them or save them for later. Stick the pods in the freezer to have readily available for any summer dish.

Think about all the foods you eat that include chile. There is the chile in its natural form, there is the liquid or salsa form, there is the chile stuffed with cheese and deep fried made into a chile relleno. Then there is the chile made into a soup, there is pork green chile you ladle on nachos, the strips that you lay on your burger or alongside your eggs. You get the point. New Mexicans may say they want their chile served up like Christmas, both red and green. Coloradans may argue which restaurant really does the dish up the best. As a chile lover, it isnĺt bad to have to put them to the test and try them all.

When you think of how much chile we eat ask yourself, could you live without it?

Hmmm. Didnĺt think so. See you at the Chile Harvest Art Festival for some mouth watering food, comradery and tradition. For details visit





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