The Whole Enchilada Fiesta in Las Cruces will be sans the Big Enchilada, but don’t despair
By Joe Olvera ©, 2012
What?! No big enchilada at this year’s Fiesta? Due to technical difficulties, such as the burners not being up to state code, Chef Roberto Estrada will be forced to forego baking the huge, 10-feet in diameter and Guinness Book of World Records delicacy, the namesake of the 31 year old Fiesta. However, that’s not a good reason for people to stay away because the next best thing is the enchilada eating contest which will draw participants towards a $1,000 grand prize.
Debbie Calderon, of the Whole Enchilada Fiesta, said the party will go on as scheduled, for September 28-30 at the Meerscheidt Center in Las Cruces,NM. Debbie Calderon, president of the board of the The Big Enchilada Fiesta, a 501-C3 organization that has held the event for 31 years, attracting party-goers from as far away as Juarez, Mexico and, of course, El Paso, Texas, said that participants will still be able to taste Chef Estrada’s delicious and fire-hot concoction. “We’re talking about safety, and if the New Mexico Public Relations Commissions doesn’t think the burners are safe, then we won’t use them this year. To bring the burners up to code would cost from $35,000 to $40,000 and we just don’t have that kind of money this year.
“Some members of the community are already holding fund-raisers so that we can buy new burners for next year,” Calderon said. “Plus the proceeds from the Fiesta itself will help us reach our goals. But, party-goers shouldn’t despair, because the Fiesta will go on with activities, entertainers, piñatas, huacha tournaments, and, of course, the eating competition.” Calderon said the eating contest, called the Fire in the Whole Enchilada Eating Contest will have participants trying to down four pounds of Chef Estrada’s amazingly hot flat enchiladas. Potential contestants may enter by e-mailing the Fiesta at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by going to the website at www.enchiladafiesta.com where entry forms and rules for the contest will be available.
Calderon said that gate fees will be $5 for adults, children 12 and under will be admitted free. “I don’t think that not having the big enchilada will affect the number of participants. I anticipate that we should get anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 people. In addition to the eating contest, we will have other events, such as the Roller Derby girls, and sanctioned boxing by Austin Trout’s new company. Entertainers will include top regional bands, plus burgeoning country music stars Bri Bagwell and Josh Grider. Another event which will not be appearing is our mascot, the hot-air balloon called Enchi. It costs $1,400 to fill the balloon with helium, and we just can’t afford it. Remember, we are a non-profit organization and we need all the financial help we can get. So, come on down to the Fiesta for a great time. We’re not that far away from El Paso, just a mere 45 miles down the road. The Fiesta will be a load of fun and games for both adults and children. Enchiladas – yummy!”