OK, back safely from the long weekend & had a great time. Logged another 800 miles on the truck & camper, so a good trip with plenty to see. The festival takes a small rural town of about 1,000 people & turns the fair grounds into a visitor's destination of about 30,000 people over the weekend. Better to go early & get out before the traffic, parking & roads are completely locked down & gridlocked.
Here's the 2016 Chili Festival queen. A candidate is chosen from the local high school each year to preside over the festivities.
Our first meal was at Sparkys restaurant on Friday afternoon. It was their 1/2# chili cheese burger with fries for me. It's the best burger I have ever eaten, so if you go to Hatch, get in line & try it, unbelievably good food & very rerasonable! About $8.00 for the burger & fries, a steal of a deal considering the portion size & quality.
Blurry burger picture, but you get the idea. We couldn't find a meal that wasn't excellent & fairly priced.
Woman giving a demonstration on making the chili ristras
Face painting for the children
A few ristras in one booth, beautiful colors
A local cowgirl
Rides at the carnival
We went home via the Mimbres river valley & stopped at the hot springs by the Gila Cliff Dwellings again, lots of rain this year & there were wild flowers blooming along the road everywhere we went.
We stayed in the Arrey RV Park for the Chili Festival (20 miles north of Hatch), not a great place, sub-standard bath & shower, full hookups & cheap at $14 a night, but not recommended. Try something different...
In the Gila Hot springs area, the RV park just above the hot springs & across the road is very good at $20 a night. Nice, clean & there's both hot & cold water at each site, thanks to the geo-thermal area, never had that before at a camp site! New Mexico is a great place to travel.